By Alexandra Baxter, Staff Writer
The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC) is preparing for the third-annual Sustainability Carnival. The theme this year is sustainable transportation. The event will take place on November 5th from 7-9p.m. in the Landing. The carnival is a yearly celebration of sustainability with students, faculty and local community members.
“We are most looking forward to our upcoming Sustainability Carnival,” said Lucas Kellett, UMF professor and one of the coordinators for SCC. The highly anticipated event will emphasize the importance of sustainable transportation. It is a major project for the group that serves as a way to bring people from the community and UMF together and raise awareness for an important issue. “There is a lot to learn and appreciate,” said Louise Villemont, Sophomore and SCC student leader. “We will have lots of activities, some really great music, and no doubt we will have food,” said Vanessa Berry, Senior and also a student leader in the SCC.
The SCC has played a large role in several improvements made on campus. “We have open communication with facilities and the administration,” said Kellett. “We have been embedded in decisions on campus regarding recycling, new construction of buildings and energy.” The group is also responsible for transporting the school’s food waste to the compost location, recycling, and Terra-Cycle, an organization that takes materials that are not normally used for recycling and generates new items from them. “They collect everything from granola bar wrappers to used toothbrushes, and then take those raw materials to create new products,” said Berry.
Compost materials are transported three times a week with material collected from the dining hall, the campus daycare, and several academic buildings. “On average we’ve collected about twenty large bins a week and taken them to a local farm to be turned into soil,” said Berry.
Most recently the group organized Trash Day, an annual event which collects the trash from the residence halls for 24 hours, then sorts it into piles based on what could have been recycled, used for Terra-Cycle, or composted. “It’s our yearly opportunity to gather data about waste at UMF,” said Berry. “Trash consumes space and we should pay attention before throwing things in the garbage.”
“I think the best part about the SCC is that so many of us start out with little knowledge and we grow really passionate about the work we do,” said Berry. The SCC stresses the importance of sustainability and strives to help the UMF community become more aware of their daily affect on the environment. “We do hands-on activities, maintain on-going initiatives, have events and try to educate the campus as often as possible,” said Kellett. “All SCC students who graduate and leave UMF for bigger and better things always have fond memories of their days working with the SCC.”