UMD Campus Increases Sustainability With Composting Pilot Program


Although UMD students are told to “raise high the black and gold,” there’s another color that is important here on campus: green.

UMD takes the environment and our effect on it into real consideration. To push the campus to be even more sustainable, UMD is introducing the composting pilot program. Composting is basically breaking down certain waste materials so that they can be used to fertilize soil. Some of these compostable items include: food scraps, paper materials, hair, dryer lint and cardboard.  

This new program is a joint effort between the Facilities Management, Department of Resident Life and the Office of Sustainability. According to recycling and solid waste specialist Adrienne Small, the program began during the 2015-2016 school year. It started in only two residence halls and now is in 12. The plan is to slowly incorporate compost bins into the dorms around campus, then see if it’s worth adding them to all locations around UMD.

Junior environmental science and policy major Logan Kline weighed in on the idea. “UMD is working on eco-friendliness, and it’s cool that they’re bringing it into the dorms,” she says.

So how does this affect students? UMD teaching assistant Willem Klajbor says, “Students are an integral part of the program as they are the ones doing the composting! Because of this, educating students and making the importance of composting clear to them is of the utmost importance.”

The composting pilot program not only helps our environment, but our school community as well. Collections from the compost bins are used at our terp farm to fertilize the soil used to grow our organic fruits and vegetables in the dining halls. So try to pay attention to the compost bins and use them!

Just make sure to pay attention to which materials are compostable. “Most importantly, when discarding trash, students should try to think about what items should go in what containers by looking at the signs above or around the bins” freshman Sarah Miller says.  “The bins can easily be contaminated by misplaced items so remember to separate food and paper items from plastic or even styrofoam items. Following these simple rules can really create a positive impact in the terp community.”