Northwestern continues to excel in athletics, rankings and academic programs. It should be no surprise that on-campus activities and individual students are responding with their own credentials. With the conversation on the general subject of waste continuing to circulate around campus, a growing majority of NW students pose questions regarding consumption and composting.
For instance, you may have noticed the gray compost bin stationed by the dish line in the Caf two weeks ago, a test trial of the feasibility of composting efforts here at NW. Currently, the student-initiated “Compost Proposal,” organized by senior Matt Vander Molen, aims at establishing a permanent, student-maintained compost bin.
“There is a really good recycling program on campus; we can recycle just about everything except glass and plastic bags. Making composting an option on campus is a path to better use all of our resources,” Vander Molen said.
Functionally, student volunteers would be responsible for taking the kitchen and student food scraps, collected in smaller buckets by the dish lines, outside to the permanent bins. The pile would be mixed thoroughly to ensure proper decomposition, resulting in robust soil available for use in a campus garden or for sale to the community.
The effort to establish a permanent compost bin comes in response to a desire to make good use of the large quantity of food waste generated at NW, a need to supplement the over-used community bin at American Reformed Church and a hope to connect more closely with creation care issues at NW.
NW’s Wilderness House resident Heather Talbot said, “We talk a lot about community, but if the foundation can’t be sustainability, it can’t be fully community.
“We don’t want the culture of consumerism to dominate us. It would be easier if we didn’t recycle and compost,” Talbot continued. “But the point isn’t that it is easier, but that it’s better.”
As the proposal waits before campus administrators for approval, effort on behalf of students is needed as well.
“Excitement. We need students to get excited,” said Vander Molen. “I think getting reconnected with the natural world is something that is important, not just theologically, but also practically. This is our future.”