The earth tubs filled up a little quicker this week. Students can be a little greener now that a composting program has been launched in the two collegias on the third floor of the UNC building. The addition of two small pails and a whole lot of organization was all it took to allow students access to composting facilities on campus.
The actual facilities, earth tubs, already existed on campus, the ability for students to use them did not. Stigma, perhaps, was a barrier. “Some people were afraid there would be pests and mold and flies, but by emptying it each day and keeping the buckets clean we are able to do it in such a small space,” explained Michelle Yule. Yule has spearheaded the project as a part of her directed studies under supervision of Geography professor Mary Stockdale.
The project began last semester with education of staff and negotiations. The buckets represents the fruition of the project this semester. “A lot of what Michelle has been doing is to just trying to make it work,” said Stockdale. “It’s not really so much the bucket. [That is] really quite simple. It’s more about the training of staff and promotion to students that will make it work. A lot of her efforts have been upon awareness raising.”
The project fits well within UBC’s sustainability goals and makes sense in a broader sense as well. “It doesn’t make sense to be wasting the compost in a farming environment,” said Yule.
“[Compost] is not really a waste; it is a resource,” added Stockdale.
Stockdale and Yule see this pilot project as the start of something larger. “The collegia was a perfect place to start because it is a small environment and it has staff to monitor it,” said Yule. “The hope is that it will expand into the whole school. I’m going to be helping that by producing information and materials that people can use next year. Another whole project would be starting it in the residences. Also I’m looking at what other schools are doing and what challenges they have faced in scaling it up in their school and how that can help with our school.”
With greater visibility for composting on campus, Yule and Stockdale hope it will incite behavioural changes in the broader community. “Maybe [students] will help us scale this up to the city level one day,” said Stockdale. “I think it is really great to have this kind of project as a direct studies, a really practical useful project that can improve what is happening on campus. I remember when Michelle wanted to do it; this is her fourth year and this is a young, growing campus and she wanted to do something with a lasting legacy. [And] I think this will be. It’s really neat to have a student wanting to do that.”
“It’s good because it shows people that directed studies can be something,” added Yule.
“It’s not that you’re not learning, which is the idea of directed studies, research and learning,” noted Stockdale. “It is an applied research project because she’s doing an actual project that
You can drop your compostables off in the buckets in the upper and lower level collegias, found at UNC 335 and 336.