Shippensburg University (SU) recently received a $ 25,000 joint grant from GIANT Co. and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to start a student-led composting project called ShipCompost. The university was one of only 42 applicants from across the state to be selected for funding.
The ShipCompost project concept was developed by members of Enactus, a student organization focused on making the world a better place through entrepreneurship. Their idea led to a partnership with the Center for Land Use and Sustainability (CLUS), the SU Campus Farm and Shippensburg Produce and Outreach. The initiative will help bridge issues related to food waste, food insecurity and soil health. Between 2015 and 2019, SU produced more than 1,100 tons of organic food waste: approximately 22 tons of waste per month.
“Food waste is a growing problem in the United States and people across the country will be taking incremental steps to limit the effects of that waste. By responsibly composting Ship’s food waste, we can reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions, ”said Andrew Hare, Junior Supply Chain Management Major, Enactus Member and ShipCompost Leader.
Hare and co-project leader Brooke Meyers, a senior marketing major, worked with CLUS to apply for the grant, which will specifically fund the infrastructure and equipment needed to start composting.
“With equipment that allows us to collect, turn, mix, and otherwise aerate the lawn and food waste (often referred to as browns and greens), we can keep the microbiome community in the compost healthy and do their job at the Breaking down the materials do produce a healthy, finished compost, ”said Dr. Sean Cornell, Associate Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences, CLUS member and advisor to the SU Farm Faculty.
The finished compost will help the SU farm continue to thrive and provide fresh produce to Shippensburg Produce and Outreach, a community initiative that supplies products to food insecure families. The hope is to sell additional compost to local farms to provide long-term financial support for the project.
And Hare also hopes the project inspires others to do their part.
“I would also like this project to arouse students’ interest in sustainable practices. Ultimately, it is up to all of us to lead responsible and environmentally conscious lifestyles if we are to keep the planet healthy, ”said Hare.