The Evolution of Composting at SUNY Cobleskill

It would be easy to take composting for granted at SUNY Cobleskill. With a farm, greenhouses, and animal barns on campus, the College regularly composts.

Prior to the 2015-2016 academic year however, the College lacked a definitive plan; while individual members of the College community were composting, some campus facilities, including dining halls, remained without guidelines. Campus recycling procedure was also in flux without a comprehensive protocol.

In 2015-2016, Dr. Robert Rynk of the Agricultural Engineering faculty procured a composting bin, increasing recognition that composting was both necessary and manageable. The College developed an “ad hoc” committee, Dr. Anne Rogan of the Agricultural Business and Culinary Arts faculty describes, to address composting on a campus-wide basis. A student volunteer was tasked with picking up compost from campus dining halls, which he did on foot. The Agricultural Engineering Department eventually procured a utility vehicle to aid in the compost pickups, while culinary arts classes and Cobleskill Auxiliary Services (CAS) began supplying their compost. Grounds Manager Dan DeJong helps maintain SUNY Cobleskill’s compost area by systematically adding dried natural materials. Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Dr. Andrew Gascho-Landis supervises work-study students – who are responsible for pickups. Student-workers, who have progressed from collecting compost on foot, now use a truck from the College fleet.