College is a time for growing. It’s a time to have fun, a time to learn and a time to explore all the world has to offer. For David Calandro, a college class opened up his eyes to the importance of having a positive impact on the world. Calandro started the Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance (MCCA) in spring of 2015 as a way for college students to participate in conservation legislation threatening Missouri.
Calandro: In the spring of 2015, I was taking a Natural Resources Policy and Administration class at the University of Missouri-Columbia taught by Roger Still. I was learning about leadership and policy in the field of natural resources. Around that time, I learned of legislation that threatened conservation and nature in Missouri. My motivation for MCCA comes from my strong Christian beliefs and my hope that our world is managed and used sustainably for future generations. With help and encouragement from Roger Still, I was able to apply what I learned and create the Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance (MCCA). With an incredible amount of help from Denver Long and other students, we got MCCA up and functioning. MCCA began because of a desire to create unity between college students across the entire state of Missouri. It all began with the First Conservation Day at the Capitol.
What is Conservation Day at the Capitol and why is it important?
Calandro:Conservation Day at the Capitol will be the signature event of MCCA each year. All MCCA students are encouraged to join CFM and MCCA at the Missouri State Capitol for the event. Last year, over 25 organizations affiliated with CFM had informational booths highlighted their conservation mission. The event brought awareness to the state’s most pressing conservation issues. Students are encouraged to register to vote in advance and visit their elected officials and advocate for conservation. Conservation Day at the Capitol is the day for college students to show up as a unified body and make a visible impact in a way not seen in university students before.
What are your hopes for MCCA?
Calandro: The hope for MCCA is to get students from every university involved to work towards the common goal of educating college students on legislation, policy, and other changes so that we can act as a unified voice. Because of this, membership to MCCA is open and free to all college students. I want all Missouri college students to become knowledgeable about Missouri’s conservation history and engaged in its conservation future. From those involved in MCCA, leaders will arise that will make an impact on their campus and across the state. Many of the leaders will hopefully become involved in the Conservation Leadership Corps and become members of CFM.
How will you use MCCA do unite conservationists at colleges around the state?
Calandro: A full range of communications channels will be built to advance the program and maintain contact. These include Facebook, Twitter, Emails, press releases for local college newspapers and the MCCA website.
Why is it important to educate and inform college students about conservation in Missouri?
Calandro: College students are the current and future leaders not only in Missouri, but around the world. If students are not informed, we won’t vote. If students don’t vote and communicate with governmental leaders, our voice is silent. We cannot have silence on changes that will not only impact us, but our children as well.
“We are the future. The future of conservation depends on our actions.”
This #GivingTuesday, CFM is focusing on raising funds for conservation education. This includes fundraising for MCCA. Donors can help with costs associated with advertising, branding and website design and press relations. Help MCCA instill in college students a lasting appreciation of conservation.