On Campus

Composting program raises environmental awareness

By Sarah Dahl

The Environmental Club has established a new composting program this fall. Students dump lunch leftovers, such as vegetables and fruit, in the green buckets located in the Commons. The new composting bins located in the Commons are mainly the result of the work of recent graduate Margy Weathers ’12.

Environmental club Faculty Adviser Laura Tangusso said, “Last spring Margy got everything in place so we could start [the composting program] this year.”

For her Senior Spring Project, Margy researched various composting bins and organizations that distribute the bins. She collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which promotes green initiatives in schools across the state, to bring free composting bins to the school, and the department taught Margy how to set up and use them.

“She did a lot of research,” Ms. Tangusso said.

“This September, the Environmental Club took over [Margy’s] initiative with Ms. Tangusso, the faculty advisor,” said environmental club Co-President Elana Sulakshana ’13. “We have started bringing out the compost on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Teams of two are assigned days throughout the month.”

“For the first few weeks, we had people monitoring the bins, so students know what to put in,” said Sulakshana. “You can put in anything that’s not meat, fish, or dairy.”

The composting bins are located in between the wood shop and the football field.

“We put three times the amount of earth matter, leaves, and grass as the food. That just helps it decompose faster,” said Sulakshana. “It takes about five to ten minutes to do the whole composting process each afternoon. It’s a very simple. We’re looking for more volunteers, and we’re working it out so that you may be able to get community service hours.”

Hanging above the buckets, a new mural, designed by Mr. Norton and Ms. Tangusso, details the basics of composting: what types of food should go into the buckets and how composting works.

“Right now [the composting program] is all student-organized and maintained, so we could always use some more help,” said environmental club faculty advisor Meena Kaur.

In addition to composting, the Environmental Club aims to improve the school’s commitment to the environment in other ways, such as recycling and reducing and eliminating the use of plastic bottles. The club would also like to improve the school’s results in the Green Cup Challenge this year; last year the school’s energy usage increased during the energy-saving challenge.

“There are schools doing a lot more than we are,” Ms. Tangusso said. “It is really timely for BB&N to get on board with environmental issues. Part of our students’ education should be about what we can do to preserve our resources.”

Ms. Tangusso also noted that Science Teacher Melissa Courtemanche has reported a doubling in students taking the Science Department’s environmental studies course this year.

Sulakshana said, “We’re hoping to expand composting to have a more sustainable school.”

Photo: Elana Sulakshana ’13 fills one of several composting bins outside of the wood shop. By Elaine Forbush.

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