In recent months, Residential Living has joined forces
with the Green Advocates to implement a campus-wide composting program
throughout the residence halls.
“The Green Advocates and this campus are trying to move
in a more sustainable direction, and the first step is limiting our waste,”
said Chelsey Ehlers, who is both a regular composter and the Green Advocate of
By maintaining this position in her hall government, it
is Ehlers’ responsibility to implicate green initiatives within her residence
hall and make the residents aware of them.
“This program basically provides residents with the
information and materials they need to start composting,” explained Ehlers.
Cindy VonGnechten, Residential Living Facility Designer
and supervisor of the Green Advocates, shared a similar outlook.
“The initial goal of this program is to educate the
students on various environmental efforts that they can do that impact not just
themselves and what they’re doing, but that can also help campus as well,”
Though not officially put into action until this
previous October, according to VonGnechten, the composting initiative was
originally prompted much earlier per student request.
“It is something that students have been interested in
and asking for for maybe the past five years or so,” VonGnechten said. “As the
interest grew among residents, we began to realize that we needed to do
something a little bit bigger.”
Currently, participating residents separately collect
their organic food waste in their rooms and deposit it in a centralized
composting bin located in their residence hall. The collected compost is taken
by Residential Living-Building Services to the University of Wisconsin –
Stevens Point Waste Education Center. There, it is composted by Waste Education
Center staff and students into a nutrient-rich soil which is used across campus
by Buildings and Grounds.
“The part of this program that I think is so amazing is
that the compost that they are helping make is compost that’s used all across
campus,” VonGnechten said. “It’s a nice collaborative effort between
Residential Living, the Waste Education Center, and Buildings and Grounds.”
Ehlers agrees, advocating that this is one of the main
draws of the program.
“I like the fact that I know it’s actually being
re-used on campus, as opposed to sitting and rotting in a landfill somewhere”
Ehlers said. “It’s not that hard, and it’s nice knowing that you are making a
VonGnechten went on to elaborate that this sense of
accomplishment should be an incentive for all students living within the
residence halls to get involved with this program.
“Students should realize that there are all kinds of
environmental things that you can do to enhance not only your immediate
environment, but also your environment on a more global scale,” VonGnechten
explained. “It also makes them feel good about themselves through the whole
cycle of participating and realizing that you are doing good in all aspects of
Warren Nordgren, a waste education major, is a strong
advocate of composting on campus, as it reduces the amount of waste in
“If your waste goes to a landfill, it sits with all
types of waste. Since a lot of those wastes aren’t going to be organic, it’ll
take longer for those that are organic to break down,” said Nordgren. “By
composting, we make room for other types of non-organic waste.”
Apart from less landfill mass, composting also brings
with it a number of other benefits, including healthier plants and gardens,
richer, more balanced soil, and even an improved diet.
For more information on the UWSP Residence Halls’
Composting Program and other green initiatives taking place on campus, students
can contact their residence hall’s Green Advocate or Hall Director or get in
touch with Residential Living- Building Services.