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Student News Composting on Campus IMAGINE ENJOYING SNACKS and drinks at your favorite U-M sporting events and not creating any garbage afterwards. This might not be far in the future, as the U-M Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI) coordinates Zero Waste events throughout the University. Zero Waste events divert as much waste as possible from landfills through the use of recycling and composting. The first Zero Waste U-M basketball game took place in 2010 and was considered a success. More than 450 pounds of waste generated at the game were either recycled or composted, while 137 pounds remained as trash. Since then, SSI has brought Zero Waste to tailgates, dance marathons, gymnastics championships and dozens of student group events. Student groups can plan zero waste events by visiting sustainability.umich.edu/ssi and requesting free compostable products such as plates, bowls, forks, and more. “O ur main goal is to be the connecting force between student groups with a sustainability focus and the U niversity to get their ideas rolling ,” W alker says . U-M Students Angela Yang, Monica Walker (as Recycle Rufus), and Karishma Satapathy at an Earth Day event. 12 {fall 2015} CEE Sophomore Monica Walker is the north campus Zero Waste advisor on the SSI board. She says about twenty north campus student organizations have used compostable items from SSI, including ASCE and Chi Epsilon. Some organizations have started ordering it on their own, as the cost is comparable to regular products. In addition to coordinating Zero Waste events, SSI works closely with the Graham Sustainability Institute and civil and environmental engineering the Office of Campus Sustainability to bridge the gap between student groups and the University administration. “Our main goal is to be the connecting force between student groups with a sustainability focus and the University to get their ideas rolling,” Walker says. Walker joined SSI after CEE Alumna Olivia Marshall graduated and recommended Walker take her place at the board. It was a natural fit, as Walker had experience in helping organizations improve sustainability. During the summer of 2014, she served as an environmental engineering intern at General Motors in Lansing, MI. At GM, Walker developed a compost program within the automotive plant’s cafeteria. “I created many contacts in the field of composting, and helped develop a sustainable and cost-reducing program that reduced the plant’s waste and saved money on waste disposal,” Walker says. For Walker, one of the great things about SSI is that a variety of majors are represented on the board so they have a large collective network. Together, they can figure out which student organizations have similar goals and bring those groups together for roundtables to see if they can collaborate. To find out how you can get involved, please visit http:// sustainability.umich.edu/ssi. {cee.umich.edu}