Sustainability Survival Pack Given to New Students
Initiative aimed at educating campus community and reducing waste
MACHIAS, Maine – When new students moved into their residence halls at the University of Maine at Machias on Friday, August 27, they were welcomed with a survival pack. But, the kit didn’t contain band-aids, a compass, or matches. Instead, it was full of items designed to help students reduce their impact on the environment.
UMM’s Green Campus Steering Committee and Aramark Dining Services teamed up to provide sustainability survival kits to all first-year students. Inside the green reusable shopping bag was an energy-saving compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb, stainless steel water bottle, and a reusable to-go food container for use at the University’s dining facilities.
The to-go container is part of an exchange program, where used containers can be dropped off at The Galley Snack Bar and exchanged for a clean one. Aramark will wash and sanitize the dirty containers and then make them available for exchange again.
“We’re trying to reduce the amount of waste on campus,” said Kim Page, Director of Student Life. “If we can provide students with the tools and resources they need to make more environmentally conscious decisions on campus, then they are more inclined to live a sustainable life.”
In addition to the new food container exchange program, UMM’s Dining Services has implemented several other changes to the way it operates. Produce and ingredients are purchased from local sources whenever possible, food waste is sent to a local pig farmer to be used as feed, overhead lights are left off on sunny days to utilize natural light, and the campus dining hall has been trayless for four years, which has helped to conserve water and energy along with reducing food waste.
There is also an organic garden on campus maintained by students, which supplies produce to the Machias Food Pantry.
The University of Maine at Machias is New England’s only public Environmental Liberal Arts college, offering an education uniquely grounded in the natural, social, cultural, and economic environments of coastal Maine.