Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 37.67
Liaison Trina Larson
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Chandler-Gilbert Community College
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Sara Haidle
Sustainability Project Assistant
Administration
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability? :
Yes

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:
No

Name of the campaign:
Food and Green Waste Recycling Program: An Ongoing Collaborative Project Model for Sustaining Student Learning, Success, and Creativity Through Experiential Learning

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged:

The Food and Green Waste Recycling Program established a receptacle system that facilitates separation of food waste generated on campus and the design of a digester machine that recycles food and green waste into liquid fertilizer. Students play an integral role in this program giving them cross-disciplinary, experiential learning opportunities.

The Food and Green Waste Recycling Program is based on an MCLI Learning Grant that has funded the pilot of a 3-bin receptacle system that facilitates separation of food and green waste from recyclable and landfill waste that is generated on campus and the ongoing design of an aerobic digester machine that will recycle the food and green waste into a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer to be used to nurture the CGCC green spaces, starting with CGCC’s Environmental Technology Center (ETC). Students last semester and this semester, as well as next year, play an integral role in the Food and Green Waste Recycling Program by participating in semester-long collaborative projects that further the program, giving them cross-disciplinary, real-world experiential learning, and problem-solving opportunities. This program not only delivers a socio-economical impact to our campus and community, but also offers a unique opportunity for students to practice translational science, bringing innovative ideas to reality.

This program provides a unique opportunity for collaborative, experiential, theoretical, and practical learning for our students. Students taking classes across such disciplines as Biology, English, and Engineering have participated in bringing this program into being through semester-long projects. Each project is designed to tackle one step in this large-scale endeavor. To date, Biology students have partnered with the Marketing Department to produce marketing and educational posters about the Food and Green Waste Recycling Program; they also researched and selected microbes to perform the biotransformation process in the digester machine; English classes have conducted “Sustainability Mindset” research surveys and done research on the psychology of food waste bin design and the impact of food waste more broadly, as well as proposing researched strategies for disseminating information about food waste recycling and educating campus users on how to use the bins, and Engineering students are designing and computer modeling three different food digester designs; once the design is chosen, they will create a 3-D model, and then build the first pilot version of the green waste food digester that will be paired with the biology classes’ research on the microbial enzymes to be used to further break down food waste. The larger project assumes that each subsequent semester will provide other valuable and unique opportunities to carry out projects related to growing the Food and Green Waste Recycling Program beyond the CGCC campus and eventually into the Maricopa community.

At the campus level, the Food and Green Waste Recycling Program can increase efficiency by providing a mechanism to divert CGCC food and landscaping waste from the landfill by recycling it into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can then be used to nurture our green spaces and afford opportunities for student research into such things as soil, enzymes, and plant growth in Biology as well as research in ENG101 and ENG102 courses. At a campus level, this not only increases efficiency by removing the need to remove the waste, but also generates our own fertilizer for our green spaces. Additionally, it also allows us to harness the nutrients within the food and landscaping waste that would have otherwise been lost if disposed of in more traditional ways.

At the curriculum level, the project (or a similarly envisioned one) has the potential to cross and connect disciplines in a way that could fit very well in MCCCD’s Guided Pathways. This project could serve as a model for the ways to connect the curriculum efficiently and offer students capstone project opportunities. Further design modifications and research can be done by subsequent classes--eventually Business students might also research community partnerships and grants.

Food waste and landscaping waste typically accounts for approximately 25% of a college campus waste stream and is the heaviest component. By recycling food and landscaping waste we will reduce the amount of waste the campus generates, therefore reducing the cost of waste removal. Additionally, crops and green spaces using fertilizers produced by food or landscaping waste have shown to utilize less water. An excellent example of the cost saving effects of this approach was demonstrated at Harvard, where using a fertilizer created from campus landscaping waste saved the University $45,000 annually in food and green waste removal and fertilizer costs while reducing irrigation by 30%. In the first 2.5 months of the program (September 2018 to November 2018), 280 lbs of CGCC food waste was diverted from the landfill and recycled.

The Food and Green Waste Recycling Program was transformed from a passionate idea inspired by college students showcasing their projects during CGCC’S Sustainability Day event in April 2017 for 160 third graders (an event which takes place every April) to a 2018-2019 MCLI grant-funded campus-wide initiative in just the span of one year. Within the first 6 months, the program has already become well integrated into campus life. The 3-bin waste receptacles can be found in the Coyote Café and by the coffee shop allowing the campus community to participate in the program each day, and the cafeteria staff separate food waste generated during food preparation. The Facilities staff performs collection and delivery of the food waste to the ETC daily. A spot in the ETC has been designated for the digester machine that will be used for food and green waste processing and educational demonstrations.


A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:

In the first year of the program, which includes the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters, we have already provided students with a unique opportunity for collaborative, experiential, theoretical, and practical learning opportunities through projects that include: 1) creating the food waste recycling portion of the program which required participation by Facilities, Marketing, English, Engineering, the Coyote Cafe, the ETC, and Biology staff and students; 2) designing and developing the digester machine through detailed planning by Engineering staff and students with committee members; 3) creating education and awareness posters and flyers by Biology students through the guidance of our Marketing Department, “Sustainability Mindset’ survey research, as well as integrated research on recycling best practices and human behavior in English; 4) microbial research and selection for the biotransformation process by Biology students, fertilizer testing and crop analysis studies through Biology, Environmental Science, and the ETC; and 5) research and grant writing experiences through Biology and the Library. As the program continues to expand and develop, students and staff from many disciplines will be able to participate and benefit from this unique opportunity.

In the first 2.5 months of the program (September 2018 to November 2018), 280 lbs of CGCC food waste was diverted from the landfill and recycled.


The website URL where information about the campaign is available:
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A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged (2nd campaign):
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A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):
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A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns, including measured positive impacts:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:

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