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A Pilot Project in Composting

Posted: 02/19/2011

Thanks to the 13 students and several Facilities staff members who spent the better part of a recent Saturday building it, Skidmore College now has a compost bin.

To be located near the Northwoods Village Apartments and made operative March 1, this new addition to the College’s infrastructure – proposed by an Environmental Action Club subcommittee on composting -- will enable the nearly 400 students who live in those residences to begin composting their food scraps, turning what is otherwise considered a waste product into nutrient-rich soil for use in campus landscaping or the student garden.

Fulfilling Environmental Studies internships, three students -- Talia Arnow ‘13, Sarah Arndt ‘14, and Margot Reisner ’14 – will research the feasibility of expanding this small-scale pilot program into a campus-wide effort. The interns will measure the volume of discarded food that goes into composting, observe the rate of decomposition of the materials once they are in the bin, and measure the temperature of the compost piles to ensure that they successfully break down over time.  Joined by other members of the Environmental Action Club, they all participated in building the bin February 12 in the Transportation Garage, a task that took about six hours.

“This is a great example of how academics can be supportive of not only research, but also experiential learning,” says Riley Neugebauer, campus sustainability coordinator. “The students are able to build something with their own hands and learn about the process of decision-making at Skidmore.”

Photos taken by Nicholas Liu-Sontag'11