Reduce, Reuse, RecycleGAMBIER, Ohio (September 5, 2008) In a Kenyon dining hall, a student eats a hamburger made with local beef. What's left on her plate is automatically composted and becomes mulch for campus landscaping. The oil used to cook her French fries is converted to biodiesel fuel for college-owned vehicles. She buys coffee using her own mug instead of a disposable cup and hurries off to a local farm, where she gains firsthand experience as part of her Sustainable Agriculture class.
With sustainability initiatives like these, the College is making smart environmental practices part of everyday life on campus.
"What we want to do is create a culture of sustainability," said Heather Doherty, program manager at the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC). "That's why we distribute our Sustainable Kenyon's Green Guide to all incoming freshmen, so that thinking about sustainable practices becomes second nature."
The Green Guide offers general tips on saving energy and achieving the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), as well as more specific information on using the campus recycling program.
Students play key roles in many sustainability initiatives. The student Environmental Campus Organization surveyed the recycling system and suggested better labeling and placement of bins. The BFEC used part of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to buy more recycling bins and improve labeling and instructions. Shannon Deoul '08 of Baltimore, Maryland, collaborated with Dudley Thomas, director of chemical labs, in a project to buy equipment that will convert used cooking oil from the dining hall into biodiesel this semester. Money for the equipment was provided by the Mellon grant.
High-tech and deep thinking are also part of the solution. Equipment at the Peirce Hall dining facility grinds food and paper waste and extracts the liquid for processing. Water consumption is reduced and leftovers are converted into compost. The Food for Thought program includes courses that explore sustainability, including Anthropology of Food and Practical Issues in Ethics, which examines issues such as factory farms, rural ecology, and vegetarianism.
"It's all about integrating the values of the institution into our daily activities," said Jesse Matz, advisor to the president. "We hope to get more ideas from our students and faculty about how to advance sustainability. It's part of the education process at Kenyon for everybody."
To learn more about sustainability initiatives at Kenyon, visit the Sustainable Kenyon Web site.