By Cory Lesniak
Members of Dominican’s sustainability committee helped make last week’s Caritas Veritas Symposium a low-waste event. It was the largest low-waste event the committee has ever attempted.
Sustainability coordinator Elena Maans said: “Low-waste is not run by one organization, it takes the assistance of many. For Caritas Veritas day, we had Dining Services, Welcome and Information and Eco Club doing the leg work, with the support of Scheduling and Events Services and Buildings and Grounds, and the approval of University Ministry.”
In 2011, Dominican launched a sustainability plan called 4RFuture, which is designed to help reduce energy and waste on campus within the next 10 years. Low-waste events started three years ago at the freshman orientation programs held throughout the summer. Since then, committee members have refined the process to meet current needs on campus.
Maans said, “The goal of doing low-waste events is to reduce our contribution to landfills and increase our campus recycling and composting efforts.
Welcome & Information Desk supervisor Mary Sadofsky, said: “After lunch attendees enjoyed their meal, the Dining Services event staff acted as eco-crusaders, collecting the disposable items and delivering them to the low-waste kits where Eco club members and the Office of Sustainability student worker helped sort everything.”
Sophomore Jose Sanchez-Garcia volunteered to help sort garbage at the symposium. “I believe that we will be able to produce more compost and eliminate waste in our landfills. I also believe that by getting other students involved we can do Earth a favor.” he said.
With the help of Eco Club volunteers to direct waste into the proper bins, five large bags of food waste and compostable dinnerware, two large bags of recycling and two small bags of trash were composed at the symposium.
Maans said: “With careful monitoring we had great results and the compost from Caritas Veritas day will be used to grow food for others, which is what love and truth are about. By composting we are making a positive impact that will benefit others be it on a local or global level.”
About 10 percent of the total waste at Dominican makes its way into a recycling bin. Other institutions recycle 20 percent or more of their waste. Manns said she hopes to increase Dominican’s recycling rate by a few percentage points this year: “We have composting in office areas around campus and we are looking to further our recycling awareness around campus. Through programming, signage and education we hope to increase our recycling over this school year.”