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Hanley Sustainability Institute

Summer 2020 HSI work: Expanding composting education and practice

By Mark Gokavi

Before University of Dayton students migrated back to campus during a pandemic, Hanley Sustainability Institute graduate assistant Christopher Baldasare saw the need for more composting.

“With the emphasis on not going out, I expect more students to be cooking in their residences,” Baldasare said. “This will also give us a chance to pilot online composting education, which was planned in the spring to potentially expand the composting program by making it easier to reach all students that would want to participate.”

An Isidore/composting page is being built to teach students what should be composted (see graphic below) in the neighborhood and how to compost at home. Interested students also can email for information and to request access to the Isidore page.

Baldasare said the nearly contactless on-campus composting program takes compost to a common site where a tractor is used to help process it.

“Composting happens because of the bacteria that break down the organic matter,” Baldasare said (see attached photo taken by Facilities Management's Sustainability Planning and Evaluation Manager Leah Ceperley, who operated the tractor). “The bacteria need oxygen so the compost has to be regularly turned to get oxygen mixed in. The bacteria also produce heat when they eat so when the compost is turned the heated water and gases from the bacteria escape.”

Baldasare hopes to help create a video about the composting process, the team and the HSI student leaders and to expand the program.

For more sustainability news and information, visit HSI’s news blog, the Hanley Sustainability Institute website and the Sustainability Program website.

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