Alliot Forks Find Their Way to the 300s Field


Last week students walking to class across the 300s field noticed something a bit odd. Forks, spoons and shards of dishware poked through the newly laid soil like discoveries in an archeological dig.

Have you ever wondered where the Alliot compost goes?

In an effort to bring our food full circle, the St. Michael’s College grounds crew, working with the Office of Sustainability, had laid the Alliot compost onto the field. But along with the compost, a few extra things made it full circle from dining hall to field.

Students, especially those living in the 300s townhouses, have been complaining about the forks, knives and bits of plastic, the “garbage” that is clearly visible across the field.

In fact, the problem starts with the students, said Heather Ellis-Lynch, director of the Office of Sustainability, explaining that the bits and pieces are a direct result of students tossing the wrong items into the compost bin. The compost was sifted before it was laid, but smaller items can slip through.

“The screen that we are able to rent sifts down one to two inches, thus that is where we get the spoons and forks and pieces of other materials,” said Alan Dickinson, associate director of Physical Services and Transportation in an email interview with The Defender.

To prevent the infiltration of garbage into the compost, Ellis-Lynch said education is key. “If we can better educate the community about what items can and cannot go in the [compost bins], we will be giving the grounds crew better ingredients to work with to make a cleaner compost stream. The responsibility lies on all of our shoulders, not just one department.”

New this year is a larger, more informative sign above the compost bins aimed at reducing the amount of objects going into the compost that do not belong. It shows pictures of items that can be composted, such as bread, and states at the bottom what items do not belong, for example non-compostable utensils.

“It’s awesome that our school is trying to compost but clearly there aren’t educated students who understand how to compost, and I don’t understand why our school continues to lay down garbage and call it compost instead of educating the students and trying again when it’s been done correctly,” said 300s townhouse resident Gabrielle Kondracki ‘16.

“We have picked the field several times for debris and will continue as time permits,” said Dickinson.


This article was originally published in the Saint Michael’s College award-winning newspaper, The Defender, in the Fall of 2015.