The ShipComposts project is a student-led composting initiative with a goal of bridging issues related to food waste, food insecurity, and soil health while supporting the Campus Climate Commitment. The project takes food waste produced at the university dining hall and turns it into compost for use on the Campus Farm. This improves soil health, fosters the growth of healthy produce, reduces food waste, and sequesters carbon. More than half of the produce grown on the farm is then donated to Shippensburg Produce and Outreach (SPO) to help community members in need.
The initiative also features educational and outreach activities led by SU students both on campus and in the community. These activities have included small-scale food waste assessments, hands-on composting demonstrations, and several educational events for university and K-12 students, as well as community members.
The ShipComposts project was envisioned by Ship students in the Enactus organization, a student group focused on improving the world through entrepreneurship. With support from the Center for Land Use and Sustainability and assistance from the Shippensburg University Foundation, grants and donations were secured to turn their vision into a reality.
Funding was used to purchase a food pulper for the Reisner Dining Hall, an eco-diesel tractor to turn and transport the compost, and supplies for food waste collection and composting activities. Funding also supported permitting for the composting site and student hours for hands-on composting work, educational activities, and community outreach.
Currently, small-scale composting is being conducted at the Campus Farm, processing pre-consumer food waste from the Reisner Dining Hall and campus leaf and yard waste. A larger-scale composting site has been identified on Fogelsanger Road, and we are in the process of securing permitting for the site.
Once the permitting process is complete, the ShipComposts team will be able to process both pre- and post-consumer food waste from the dining hall, keeping food waste out of the landfill and turning it into nutrient-rich compost for use on the Campus Farm.
Activities and Outreach
The ShipComposts project is a partnership between the CLUS, the SU Campus Farm, Shippensburg Produce and Outreach (SPO), and the Green League student organization. CLUS Affiliate Scholar Dr. Sean Cornell leads a team of students in the composting initiative, including CLUS Undergraduate Student Fellows, a Campus Farm Graduate Assistant, Green League students, and other volunteers.
As part of this initiative, CLUS Affiliate Scholars, Student Fellows, and staff have engaged in multiple community outreach activities, highlighting mindful eating, food waste reduction, and composting.
Funding for the project has been provided by multiple sources, including the following grants and donations:
($25,000) GIANT Healing the Planet Grant: ShipComposts received a community improvement grant from the GIANT Company and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful through their Healing the Planet grant program. Funds were used toward the purchase of a food pulper, compact tractor, and student hours.
($13,914) Procter & Gamble Community Grant: ShipComposts received $13,914 from Procter & Gamble toward the purchase and maintenance of a compact tractor for large-scale composting.
($10,600) South Mountain Partnership Mini-Grant: This project was financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, Environmental Stewardship Fund, under the administration of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. The grant was awarded through the South Mountain Partnership, with management oversight of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
We are a partner of the South Mountain Partnership, an alliance of organizations working to preserve and enhance the cultural and natural assets of the South Mountain Landscape in Central Pennsylvania. To learn more about the Partnership, please visit www.southmountainpartnership.org.
($7,212) SU Foundation Reducing Raider Waste: Tractor Campaign: A campaign through the Shippensburg University Foundation raised $7,212 for the ShipComposts project. Funds were used toward the purchase of a tractor, supplies, and student hours.
($5,000) Walmart Giving Grant: ShipComposts received a $5,000 grant from Walmart to purchase supplies for food waste collection, composting, and educational activities, as well as to support permitting for the compost site.
($5,000) Private donation: ShipComposts received a $5,000 donation from a generous donor to support the work of our Undergraduate Student Fellows.
($500) Volvo Group Real Estate donation: ShipComposts received a $500 donation from Volvo Group Real Estate to be used for composting supplies and equipment.
Student Fellows and Affiliate Scholars
CLUS Undergraduate Student Fellow
Mavis Anderson is from Mechanicsburg, PA. She is a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Sustainability and a concentration in Environmental Conservation. She enjoys being in the outdoors and live music, as well as a combination of the two. She is excited to be a part of the Center for Land Use and Sustainability for the opportunity to do hands-on conservation work with the ShipComposts project.
CLUS Undergraduate Student Fellow
Mimansha is a sophmore international student at Shippensburg University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She is excited to continue working with CLUS this academic year on ShipComosts. Mimansha previously worked with the SMRC, CCFSA and as a general CLUS support. In her spare time, Mimansha enjoys cooking, hiking, biking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Sean Cornell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Geography-Earth Science
Project Lead: InTeGrate
B.S. from University of Rochester
M.S. from University of Cincinnati
Ph.D. from University of Cincinnati
I teach courses in Geology, Oceanography, and related fields where my specialty is focused on coastal processes and sea-level rise hazards. I am a faculty researcher at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station and routinely involve students in sustainability projects working on environmental restoration of shorelines in coastal areas. Here on campus, I am actively involved in the Campus Community Farm and have been working on sustainability projects with students to support education and community-outreach.
CLUS Undergraduate Student Fellow
Trevor is an undergraduate student at Shippensburg University pursuing a B.S in Sustainability. He is currently working for the Ship SAILS program at the University Farm. In his spare time, he likes to exercise and travel.
Projects: ShipComposts, Shippensburg Tree Inventory