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Webinar: On-Campus Composting: How to Start, Evolve, and Overcome Challenges

July 15, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm EDT


Is your campus considering starting an on-site composting program, but doesn’t know where to start or which system to choose? Or does your campus want to grow its program or find solutions to its composting challenges? Either way, you are not alone! As more and more legislation targeting food waste reduction/bans become established, on-site composting systems are increasingly being recognized as important diversion strategies to meet institutional zero waste goals while revitalizing soils and engaging the campus community in sustainable action and research. This session will combine the diverse experiences and lessons learned from several institutions to inform the field on how to start or scale an on-site composting program and address current program challenges. Participants will be led through a decision tree exercise detailing the several major stages of the planning and/or scaling process which will include a deep dive into a comparison of different composting systems in terms of their relative costs, equipment, personnel, engagement, educational/living-lab potentials, etc. Presenters will share experiences and case studies on operational processes and management from their campuses which represent a wide range of climate regions, campus size, and food waste sources. By the end of the session, attendees will leave with a better understanding of the pros and cons of different on-site composting systems, as well as various strategies for tackling key challenges that might arise from feedstock management to compost application.

For members: watch on demand   For members: archived webinars on demand   Upcoming webinars


Gina Talt

Gina Talt, Food Systems Project Specialist, Princeton University

Gina Talt, Food Systems Project Specialist with Princeton University’s Office of Sustainability, manages project-based operational and research efforts with the objective of developing best practices for food systems sustainability for Princeton University and other institutions. She currently oversees the Sustainable Composting Research at Princeton (S.C.R.A.P.) Lab, an investigation into the use of an in-vessel composting system for food scraps repurposing and soil revitalization directly on Princeton’s campus. Gina also assists University faculty on a project studying the intersection of farm management and environmental factors on food production at New Jersey farms. Gina holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics and a certificate in environmental studies from Princeton University.

Thomas Goldsmith

Thomas Goldsmith, Director of Energy & Sustainability, St. John’s University

Thomas Goldsmith has a combined 30+ years of experience in working at four institutions of higher education. Tom has the start-up position as Director of Energy and Sustainability at St. John’s University, New York since 2008. In 2009, Tom began engaging students in food waste composting, community gardening and food recovery.

Marty Pool

Marty Pool, Coordinator, Environmental Center, Fort Lewis College

Marty is the Coordinator of the Fort Lewis College Environmental Center. The mission of which is to strengthen students’ commitment to creating a more environmentally and socially responsible world by providing them meaningful opportunities to foster change on campus and in our community. As with many who work in higher-ed sustainability, Marty wears many hats in his role. His primary work is to oversee the Environmental Center’s team-based applied learning program which gives students the opportunity to brainstorm, plan, implement, maintain, evaluate, and improve dozens of projects and programs that create a more environmentally and socially responsible community. He is also a member of the college’s Campus Sustainability Council, supports academic and research efforts, provides staff/faculty trainings, coordinates engagement events, and maintains community connections. Prior to his work at FLC, he worked as an engineer for a consulting firm specializing in buildings systems and sustainability management. He holds an MS in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver and a BS in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado.

Krystal York

Krystal York, Office for Sustainability Project Coordinator, Western Michigan University

Krystal is a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western Michigan University working towards her PhD in Electrical Engineering. She also works for the Office for Sustainability at WMU as the Office for Sustainability Project Coordinator where she guides the stewardship team in all tasks that involve their two garden locations and composting projects. Since the composting program is fairly new, Krystal spends much of her time exploring different approaches to composting by researching, building, and automating the composting systems. She is researching and building indoor and outdoor composting systems as well as encouraging other people and companies to do their own composting by collaborating with them.

Mary Liang

Mary Liang, Assistant Director of Sustainability, Housing & Dining Services Colorado St. University

Mary is the Assistant Director of Sustainability for Housing and Dining Services at Colorado State University. She oversees all sustainability initiatives within residential and dining spaces for over 8,000 on-campus students. She manages a peer mentor and educator program, Eco Leaders, to encourage and engage residential students to think about sustainability issues locally and globally. Mary also plays an active role in the university’s President’s Sustainability Commission to advocate for sustainability efforts across the University. Mary holds a BS in Environmental Science from Franklin and Marshal College, and a MPA – MSES dual degree in Energy and Sustainable Development at Indiana University.



July 15, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:20 pm EDT
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