A few weeks ago, Connecticut College hosted the annual Fall Open House for prospective students. All of the over 700 participants in the Fall Open House attend a luncheon where visiting students and families can meet and talk to Conn College students and professors.
At the luncheon, the Office of Sustainability piloted a new Waste Monitors program. The purpose of the program is to divert food waste from the trash by having student workers stand by waste stations that consist of a trash bin, a recycling bin and a food waste bin.The students who staff the stations instruct luncheon attendees on how to separate their waste. This is an important program because of its environmental, social, and economic benefits. Diverting the food scraps reduces the volume of material entering the waste stream, through which it would be incinerated. Sending food scraps to the incinerator is a waste of energy and money. The food waste collected at Connecticut College is utilized by a local pig farm and thus, is supporting a local business and food producer. Finally, I personally believe it is important to note that this diversion is keeping the food in the food system and is therefore giving value to the time and energy that people put into its production.
During conversations with a number of prospective students and parents, we found that many were interested in the Waste Monitors program and the Office of Sustainability. A number of faculty members were also pleased to see such a program being put in place at such large events on campus. Overall the program ran smoothly! We were able to engage with students, parents, and professors about the importance of limiting the generation of food and other waste. We are very excited to continue this program next semester at the two accepted students’ days hosted by the College each spring, and hope that this type of waste diversion can become more integrated into how waste is handled at other large events hosted by Connecticut College.