Composting Initiative Coming to Dorms

By Anna Mayes
Elm Staff Writer
The Student Environmental Alliance (SEA) started off the semester by providing reusable waterbottles for the incoming freshman and installing six new water fountains on campus. Now, there is a possibility that Kent Crossing, Western Shore, and the River Dorms to get compost bins. The SEA has been teaming up with the Student Government Association (SGA), and they hope to have a pilot program in place by the end of next semester.
The SEA has a sub-committee called Food Waste Reduction, which is working on expanding composting on campus through education and collaboration with Dining Services. On Fridays, Emily Castle, SEA vice president and garden intern, and her committee have been working with SGA Secretary of the Environment Katie Walker closely on this project.
“They are looking for a way to spread awareness and have students get involved instead of SEA working on the initiative by themselves,” Walker said.
One way they have been doing this is by having a table in the dining hall. Senior Erika Koontz has been working the tables quite often.
“Composting is so easy, and because of that, people are very receptive to the idea,” Koontz said. The table has been out for only a few weeks and people are already remembering how to compost.
The first step for SEA is to send out a survey and find out the best locations for collecting compost. “There are students who live in Kent Crossing who cook often and could be composting, but either think that it is too inconvenient or just don’t know how to,” said Walker.
The club wants to collect the food scraps that people are not using. Anything that isn’t meat or dairy can be composted.
“Last year we had to-go containers that were compostable, but people did not know that so they just threw them away,” Walker said. People do not often realize what can be composted, but once they do, it is easy to compost more often.
For now, there is very limited space for where the compost can go. The compost hole right now is fairly small and cannot hold all of the waste that would be collected. They will be looking for either another space on campus or off campus to put the other composted material.
“We want to be able to have bins in Kent Crossing and parts of the Western Shore at least by the end of the spring semester,” said Walker.
There is also a possibility that all kitchens on campus will have compost bins. Along with the labor needed to place bins in dorms with kitchens, there will need to be a lot of man power to collect all of the composted items.
Although it will be at least a year until the campus is fully incorporated into this initiative, there are still ways students can begin helping now. Koontz said that being able to work on the committee and reduce campus food waste is definitely rewarding. “We are making real change, and that’s what we as a club want to see,” she said.

The SEA has been promoting composting since 2005, when they teamed up with Buildings and Grounds and Dining Services to use scraps from the salad bar to create compost.

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