Compost Makes College History!

Posted on February 17th, 2021 by

Written by Kendra Held. Photo taken by Sydney Stumme-Berg

Gusties returning to campus this February were met with bright yellow compost kirbies at their residential halls and dozens of green compost bins in academic buildings, ready for use! Sustained activism, relationship building, and collective problem solving across departments made this exciting development possible. Never before has the Gustavus campus had all the tools to achieve campus-wide composting. The monumental commitments made by Dining Services, Physical Plant, and Building Services staff should be celebrated and honored by a comparable commitment by the student body to accurately sort the waste we produce each day.

With this in mind, Sustainability Interns are thinking critically about how we might be catalysts in changing our campus culture around waste. We want all students and staff to be informed and act with integrity. Tossing an empty container into a waste bin may seem like an insignificant/trivial action, but in reality, the resources we consume and the materials we dispose of directly impact our local and global community. Our waste is handled by dedicated staff in Building Services and Physical Plant, as well as staff further down the waste stream who work off-campus. When we produce more waste, we increase staff workloads and our impact on the environment, not to mention the communities who live near these disposal and incineration sites. It is imperative that we recognize the impact of our actions on our community, whether or not we see or experience the consequences directly.


Compostable Clamshells

Interns engaged peers in the Evelyn Young Dining Room on Tuesday, February 2nd by encouraging them to deposit their clamshells in the compost kirbies at residential hall waste stations. The Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation is asking students to “compress” or “squish” their clamshell containers before placing them in the compost bin to conserve space and fit more compostable items in the bins. Additionally, we invite students to reuse an empty ice cream pail to collect compost in their dorm rooms or invest in a 1-2 gallon-sized compost pail with a lid. These containers should be emptied at least once per week to avoid any unwanted scents or critters from accumulating.

In other news, Audrey Ochtrup-DeKeyreland Kendra Held led a sustainability training at a Collegiate Fellow In-Service on Sunday, February 7th. They answered excellent questions from the CF’s and played an intern-created Kahoot to reinforce proper sorting habits at this in-service. The interns are excited to continue their partnership with Residential Life in the future through annual in-services, collaborate with Sustainability Representatives on Hall Council, and organize educational events such as waste sorting and energy conservation competitions between halls.

We are looking forward to producing educational content through videos and social media, so be on the lookout for quality content by following us on our new Instagram and Facebook: @GACSustainability

Compost kirbies outside each Residential Hall


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