New Kensington to sponsor composting conference

Penn State New Kensington will offer a guide to starting a composting program from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, April 15, in the campus Art Gallery.

Sponsored by the campus Green Team and Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, the first “Composting Conference” features speakers from the institute and other Penn State campuses. Guest speakers include Jeremy Bean, education program associate, Sustainability Institute; Ann Quinn, lecturer in biology, Penn State Erie: The Behrend Campus; and Kim Berry, chief operating officer, Penn State Berks. Presenters will share their experiences in starting and maintaining a composting program.

In addition, New Kensington undergraduates in the biology program will share the results of a research project on small scale composting. Prior to the conference, the student researchers will present their projects publicly at the campus’ 11th annual Research and Creative Expo on April 9. The conference is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVP at

The composting conference is a part of New Kensington’s ongoing sustainability initiatives under the guidance of the campus Green Team, a group of campus faculty, staff and students who are committed to reducing waste and exploring ways to use resources responsibly. Charged by Chancellor Kevin Snider to take specific actions to help the campus operate in a more efficient, innovative and healthy way, the team has paved the way for the campus to become more environmentally friendly during the past four years.

The initial phase targeted the campus and local community by installing water bottle refilling stations and implementing single stream recycling. The hydration stations have decreased the use of plastic bottles and alleviated the amount of trash that winds up in landfills. The outdoor single stream recycling bins allow end-users to discard plastics, paper and cans into one container. Recently, the team focused on individual efforts of students, faculty and staff by increasing recycling awareness in Café 780, promoting a Rideshare program to reduce emissions and encouraging event organizers to utilize the campus’ online calendar in lieu of posters and handbills.

The campus team operates under the Green Paw program of the Penn State Campus Sustainability Institute. Established in 2008, the institute promotes and ensures environmentally-safe activity at Penn State. Its initiatives protect and enhance the financial, human and ecological resources of the University, and the planet.

For more about the composting conference, visit

For information on joining the campus green team, contact Ruth Herstek, team chair, at 724-334-6032 or

For more about the “Green Paws” program, visit

For more on the Sustainability Institute, visit

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Last Updated April 03, 2013