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Saint Mary’s to host educational composting events

| Tuesday, February 5, 2019

It’s thyme for Saint Mary’s to go green.

The Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) and the Saint Mary’s Composting Crew are joining forces to bring the College into 2019 with a smaller carbon footprint by hosting Get the Dirt on Dirt events.

There is more to composting than throwing some apple cores and banana peels onto a pile of dirt, and these events are intended to teach those who attend how to properly compost. 

Though these events are intended to be one-time occurrences, director of the OCSE Rebekah DeLine said she hopes the community will continue supporting the pre-existing composting initiatives.

“The Composting Education events ‘Get the Dirt on Dirt’ are brand new — and just really one time events we thought would be nice for the campus community since composting can seem pretty intimidating if you haven’t done it before,” she said in an email. “However, the day-to-day composting of food and waste of campus has been happening on Saint Mary’s College’s campus since at least the 2016-2017 school year and possibly before. As part of this daily composting, student leaders and student volunteers take compostable food waste from the dining hall to a large compost pile just north and west of the soccer fields. This compost pile is producing rich soil that we hope will be used at the site of the sustainable farm. Previously many of these composting efforts had been started by clubs but were difficult to maintain day-in and day out. So, in the 2017-2018 school year, the composting program officially came under auspices of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement because we had the structure to support the program.”

Attending the event automatically puts students’ names in a raffle to win one of two countertop composting pails. In addition to the changes the College has made with the ban on plastic straws, they’re also reviving the Composting Crew to get the second semester started.

“Saint Mary’s has had several sustainability efforts that predate my time at the College,” DeLine said.

Emma Ault | The Observer

Saint Mary’s College is working towards decreasing its carbon footprint by encouraging composting throughout the campus, including the first floor bathroom in the Student Center.

The OCSE is bringing in Jane Sablich, the Environment Education Coordinator for the St. Joseph County Soil and Water Conservation District to talk about composting on Feb. 5 in the Saint Mary’s Student Center at 12:30 p.m. There is an additional seminar being held on Feb. 7 at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Center. This session is open to all interested.

The College placed composting bins in the Noble Family Dining Hall near the tray receptacle, but have received little attention. DeLine said having these extra seminars and opportunities to visit services provided in our community will be beneficial to the community. This seminar is set to enlighten Belles on how to impact the future of the environment, and DeLine said she is working on creating events to emphasize the importance of caring for the environment.

“We are hoping to schedule a visit to the St. Joseph County Landfill … this spring,” she said.

DeLine said there are ways other than composting to lessen one’s affects on the environment.

I recommend that individuals start by calculating their own carbon footprint first — and be honest about how they live day in and day out and their personal impact on the environment,” DeLine said. “Then look for some small ways to adjust daily routines — things like carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go so that you don’t use bottled water — so that incrementally, overtime they are doing things that reduce their negative impact on the world.”

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