Even with careful thought and passionate execution, some sustainability projects take more than one trial to get right. For instance, the innovative freezer system used at Williams Hall and Figge Hall took over two years to develop. During the first attempt, the Student Government Association co-directors of environmental concerns and Presidential Task Force on the Environment members installed an aerated static pile composting system right outside the two buildings. However, student residents solemnly participated because the system was located outdoors. Possibly worse, the Facilities Department received complaints about bad odors. The implementation team decided to conclude this first attempt and pivot the project to a different model.
Today, student residents at Figge Hall and Williams Hall may successfully compost their food waste through a compact freezer system. Instead of traditional indoor collection bins, students will find small freezers at the collection zones. These freezers require less frequent pickup and provide flexibility for changing demand. They also mitigate icky smells and increase user convenience. When students have food waste to discard, they simply place their waste in a bag into the freezer. An Environmental Services staff member then removes the waste and brings it to the compost compactor located near Kimball Hall. Holy Cross’ hauler, Waste Management, picks up the organic waste and turns it into rich soil.
While some projects happen rapidly, many others take time, trial and perseverance to implement. The freezer composting system at Figge Hall and Williams Hall exemplifies this process.
When diners enter the Main Dining Room at Kimball this Fall, they will now use reusable to-go containers for takeout. Each student on a meal plan will receive one nine inch by nine inch container as well as one six inch by nine inch container, free of charge, when they visit Kimball each time this semester.
The best part? Dining Services will clean and sanitize the dirty containers; students don’t need to rinse them. Dining Services provides a clean container during each visit. Students return their containers to the Main Dining Room at Kimball at their own convenience.
This initiative builds on Dining’s consistent effort to exemplify and provide environmentally sustainable service. In 2009, the Main Dining Room at Kimball went ‘trayless,’ which saves over 900 gallons of water daily. Back of house composting dramatically expands waste diversion efforts and diners currently enjoy a styrofoam-free dining experience. The United States generates 80.1 million tons of container and packaging waste annually. By utilizing reusable containers at Kimball, Dining Services continues to offer exceptional dining services while exemplifying environmental stewardship.
Visit Dining Services for more information about sustainability initiatives.
Emma Powell ’20 describes her community organizing experience as a way to live the College’s value of ‘For and With Others.’
My name is Emma Powell. I’m from Haverhill, Massachusetts. I’m class of 2020. I’m a history and classics double major and my major involvements at Holy Cross were the Student Government Association, Eco-Action, and HC Fossil Free, which is the divestment campaign on campus.
So I think sort of that the common idea behind ‘for and with others’ is direct service, which of course is a huge component. But for me, I kind of gone towards my ‘for and with others’ values in a different way in terms of community organizing.
Specifically this year, it was sort of a catalyst for my environmental change that I did on campus. And I really believe that policy change and advocacy work is a huge part of living out your values and how you can do that in a community organizing setting. And there was a few things that we did that I think that really kind of highlight how we were able to get our campus and our institution to really care about environmental awareness.
The first thing would be the youth climate strike which happened at the beginning of the year in conjunction with the Chaplains’ Office. And it was the first time I seen a large scale show up for the environment on campus in a way like that and we all gathered on the Dinand steps and then joined Worcester community organizers who were also setting out goals for climate justice, things like that. And then the green fund is a fund that we passed this year that’s $30,000 worth of grant money for students to apply for environmental projects. I really really recommend incoming first years to look into how they can get a project funded through that because it was a lofty policy goal that we had and were finally able to pass it so that was something that was really great. And then we hired a sustainability director this year which is going to be great and I recommend reaching out to her to first years. And then Purple Goes Green week is something that we do every year and we were able to keep doing that amidst virtual learning.
So all of these things I think really show sort of ‘for and with others’ through policy and education that sometimes you neglect as part of that statement and I think it is a really important thing.