‘Compost Happens’ helps environment at SSU
Students hope to expand program campus-wide
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By Sarah Dowling  March 22, 2012 10:01 am

Sonoma State University has recently adopted a composting program to further sustainability efforts on campus.

The program, entitled “Compost Happens,” has started this semester in the Zinfandel Dining Hall where employees and cafeteria customers have been taught what can and cannot be composted and have been encouraged to participate in the program.

Bins for the recycled waste have been placed in the kitchen for use. Whereas previously, food scraps would have been tossed in trash cans, this food will now be utilized for the environment.

According to a press release, “all pre- and post-consumer compostable items will be sorted at the dining hall, then transported by North Bay Recycling to the Carneros Ranch in Petaluma.”

“This has already drastically reduced the waste our campus produces,” Associated Students Sustainability Senator Stephanie Parreira said in an e-mail interview. “Most unused materials in Zinfandel are now either recycled or composted, and there is significantly less trash, which I am very proud of.”

Parreira works with AS to increase awareness of environmental problems and proposes solutions to the student officers on how to solve said problems.

She plays a role in teaching others in AS about environmental issues and has helped sustainability initiatives thrive at SSU.
Parreira said although SSU prides itself on being a green campus, there is much more the campus could be doing to help the environment.

Compost Happens came about when Diedre Tubb, the eco-projects coordinator at Join Us Making Progress (JUMP), started discussing composting with other student leaders and peers.

“This led me to have conversations with dining services director Lisa Andresen on how to further this program,” Tubb said. “The potential and interest were already there, I just stepped up with ideas on how to educate the students dining at Zinfandel.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site, clean paper, coffee grounds and filters, cotton rags, egg shells, fruits and vegetables, grass clippings and sawdust are all things that are compostable.

A similar pilot program is being put into motion in the residential community at SSU, where along with trash and recycling reciprocals, compost bins will be available for students living in the Sauvignon community. The hope is if the program becomes successful in Sauvingon this year, it can be expanded to the entire residential community on campus.

Similarly, Tubb said Compost Happens is expected to run a year, and upon its intended success will be expanded to take place in all dining venues on campus.

To learn more about green projects both on campus and in the community, Tubb invites everyone to attend Earth Week starting April 16.

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