The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UISG pushes for compost


By Elianna Novitch

[email protected]

The University of Iowa Student Government passed a resolution voicing its support for the establishment and development of a central campus compost facility as endorsed by UI President Bruce Harreld.

Last week, UISG sustainability liaison Shelby Cain presented a program proposal to Harreld for a compost facility on campus. With his approval and in collaboration with the President’s Operations Team, UISG plans to establish a central composting facility on campus.
According to SSR31, many individual students, student organizations, fraternity-sorority chapters, and departments are attempting to play a part in the UI’s 2020 goals for sustainability by diverting 60 percent of waste, 30 percent of which is compost. Currently, however, there is no easy way for campus to compost.

“Students want composting on campus — people repeatedly keep reaching out whether it is about composting at Residence Halls, other buildings, FSL houses, cultural centers, or just composting at events,” said Sen. Akash Bhalerao in an email statement to The Daily Iowan. “The pilot [compost] programs have worked so well that they went over capacity.”

According to the resolution, interns from the Sustainability Office had a composting pilot program that ended because it grew too fast for them to manage on their part-time schedules. From January 2015 to March 2016, the amount collected increased from 367 pounds to 1,804 pounds, a growth of 392 percent.

The IMU Catering and Event Services used to pay for all the compost from the offices and student groups across campus to be serviced, but it is no longer able to handle the capacity of what is being diverted. Officials there had to ask people to stop bringing their compost to the IMU because the compost program was working too well.

Because of the lack of composting services available at the UI, the recycling coordinator has had to ask people to stop trying to compost, according to the resolution.

“More than anything we cannot reach our 2020 Sustainability Goal of waste diversion without having composting on campus,” Bhalerao said in an email statement to The Daily Iowan. “Having a central composting facility on campus will enable us to support composting around the campus and will also help the university make money in the long run.”

Cain hopes that the compost facility will help the UI meet its sustainability goals and encourage students to think big when it comes to sustainability changes.

“I think it is very powerful that here at Iowa students really do care about sustainability and are trying to make a conscious effort wherever they can,” Cain said.

UISG recognized that people on campus want to compost but for that to be possible, there needs to be a facility available to meet the demand.

“There is a huge demand for this facility, thanks to the work of sustainability groups on campus, and if we want students to continue composting practices, then those practices must be easily accessible,” said Sen. Noel Mills. “This facility will have not only huge tangible benefits but also serve as a symbol of the university’s commitment to preparing sustainably-minded leaders of the future.”

Many feel that the addition of a compost facility will be a move in the right direction when it comes to promoting sustainable practices at the UI.

“Moving toward sustainable practices is good for the university as it is profitable and more importantly it is the right thing to do,” Bhalerao said in an email statement to The Daily Iowan. “Sustainability is not just good, it is essential for survival.”

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