Dorm composting program returns to campus

By Carlos Fuentes | February 17, 2020 11:04am

These compost bins are available in all student dorms for residents to dispose of food waste.

Media Credit: Jennifer Ng / The Beacon

Every Sunday, senior electrical engineering major Conroy Boyd comes to campus and picks up a bike and an attached trailer from the Lund garbage room. For the next three hours, he visits every dorm kitchen on campus, collecting the composting bins to be hauled by the bike, then drops off all of the compost at the Bon Appetit composting bins by the Commons, to add to their 500 pounds of daily food waste

Boyd is one of three collectors for the dorm composting program, along with sophomores Lauren Tate and Whitney Royall. The program was reinstated this semester after hiring issues last fall. He started working this semester and believes the program is making an impact. Together, the three collectors pick up roughly 100 pounds of food waste every week. 

Conroy Boyd stops by Shipstad Hall to empty the dorm composting bins. The compost riders bike around campus collecting compost from the dorms.

by Jennifer Ng / The Beacon

“Climate change is the biggest reason that everyone should be composting,” Boyd said. “When you don’t compost, it damages the environment in ways that we can’t even see. If you are going to have food waste, this is the best way to handle it. Basically, compost. Just do it.”

Senior environmental ethics and policy major Maya Murphy-Cook is the current coordinator of the composting program. According to Murphy-Cook, the program has been around for several years, and she hopes it will continue to grow in the future. 

“Having the bins in every dorm is a great start,” Murphy-Cook said. “I hope that we can start expanding the program to places on campus that it could be used. For example, having bins in the library or in St. Mary’s or the Anchor would all be very convenient for students. Hopefully, our budget can grow in the future, so we can make sure students are being smart about their food waste.”

In the past, students have made attempts to have Physical Plant take over the program, but it has remained student-run. Bon Appetit Director Kirk Mustain believes that having students in charge is a good idea and that students should be using the program. 

“Composting is a large part of what we do here,” Mustain said. “We take care of food waste in a way that’s good for the environment, and we take extra measures to donate uneaten food. We do a great job here on campus in terms of managing our food waste and making sure that we’re being smart about it. It’s a solid program, and we do a lot to make sure it runs successfully.”

These compost bins are available in all student dorms for residents to dispose of food waste. Photo Illustration by Jennifer Ng.

Murphy-Cook urges every student to use the composting bins and advises that everyone tries to cut back on their food waste. 

“Everyone knows that food waste isn’t a good thing,” Murphy-Cook said. “It’s all about convenience. People might not want to go out of their way to compost their food waste, but it’s so much easier to do if the composting bin is right down the hall. It’s all about convenience. I hope that people are aware of the program, so everyone can use it as much as possible. 

Carlos Fuentes is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at