Summit challenges students to create sustainable campuses

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During a chilly November weekend, 45 student leaders from eight colleges and universities gathered for a sustainability summit at Goshen College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center. The goal of the sustainability summit was to bring students from area institutions together to learn, network and brainstorm ways to make their home campuses more sustainable. This year’s focus was on food.

Student-run composting program simply turns waste to food: ‘Nothing else like it’

Goshen College junior Natasha Weisenbeck, a public relations major from Clifton, Ill., is a student volunteer on the composting team. At the end of every day, a student volunteer spends 15 minutes collecting receptacles in the dining hall with all the food waste and dumping the contents into the campus compost bin, a large insulated wooden box located behind the dining hall dumpsters. Woodchips are added which introduces bacteria to the food, preventing odors and helping break up the pile.

On a typical weekday during the semester, about 75 to 100 pounds of food waste is produced in the college’s dining hall. Because of student commitment and ingenuity, that waste is now turned into compost, which is used as a natural fertilizer in a small garden, eventually producing vegetables and herbs for meals to be served to students.

Goshen College launches Sustainability Semester at Merry Lea with canoe trip of watershed

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“Launch” is an apt word for the beginning of the Sustainability Semester in Residence (SSR), a new undergraduate program at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College, Wolf Lake, Ind. Students begin the semester with a weeklong exploration of the Elkhart River Watershed, traveling by canoe when possible.