December graduate Jacob Beers leaves environmental impact on UMSL campus

by | Dec 6, 2019

Beers' involvement with the Environmental Adventure Organization has taken him from Colorado to the Pacific Northwest.

Jacob Beers, who will graduate with an MA in communication in December 2019, enjoys a passion for the outdoors and is dedicated to sustainability. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Walking a mile in Jacob Beers’ shoes means trekking through snow, scrambling up boulders and crushing leaves on a forest floor. When it comes to the outdoors, Beers does it all – and loves every minute of it.

During his time at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, the graduate student traveled to Kentucky, Colorado and even South America. He will receive an MA in communication from the College of Arts and Sciences on Dec. 14, joining more than 1,400 other graduating students.

Beers may be leaving UMSL, but his efforts through the Environmental Adventure Organization have made campus a little greener.

He is well versed in UMSL’s sustainability efforts due to his extensive research on the subject. Beers was part of a team assisting Lara Zwarun, an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media, in her research on interest and awareness of sustainability on campus.

The group found that students and staff care about environmentalism on campus. In fact, the issue can influence where they choose to enroll in classes or work. The research team also found that people at UMSL are generally not aware of efforts to improve campus sustainability. Just a few of these services include recycling bins, shredding days and electronics recycling drives. Plus, periodic clothing swaps allow participants to trade garments with others and enjoy new styles without creating waste.

UMSL’s Environmental Adventure Organization supports these sustainability efforts while focusing on outdoor recreation.

“I’ve been around pretty much since the organization started – the semester after it was founded,” Beers said. “It’s a social club, really. The idea is that we build connections with other students. We had some great times on big road trips. It’s nice to get together with other students at UMSL and escape the everyday routine for a weekend and come back a little rejuvenated and ready to focus again.”

The group’s trips have taken him camping in the Pacific Northwest, climbing in Kentucky, white-water rafting in Tennessee and skiing in Colorado. After graduation, he’s planning to return to Colorado for some celebratory snowboarding.

Beers’ love for the outdoors was sparked right in Missouri.

“Growing up in Steelville, there wasn’t a whole lot to do but the outdoors,” he said. “As a kid, I loved to go hiking and camping, just being outside in general.”

He was exploring international terrain when he made a decision to pursue a different kind of adventure in the communication field.

“Over the summer, I was in South America doing some traveling, and I chose to do an internship to get some real-world experience,” he said. “I got a late start, so I was just throwing out applications for something audiovisual related, and it worked out really well.”

He landed an internship position for CN Video Production’s “SuperManager” podcast. Each episode presents a business topic through a panel discussion by three to six local business owners, managers and business leaders.

Beers assisted with planning episodes, recording, editing and promoting the podcast. Racing deadlines in tight quarters while supported by the camaraderie of colleagues assured him that he’s chosen the right field.

Still, his long-term goal takes Beers back to the outdoors.

“There’s a pretty big discrepancy in who has access to outdoor recreation because it’s something that takes money and resources,” he said. “You have to have transportation and you have to have equipment, so a lot of people don’t have access to that. I’d like to one day start a nonprofit organization that gives people access to rock climbing, snowboarding, skiing. It’s really enriching to be outside.”

The UMSL Experience

Karen Holman

Karen Holman