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Student Conservation Corps. Willis helped spearhead the program to link ES course work to hands-on conservation activities in conjunction with other groups on campus and off. Projects in Skidmore’s North Woods have ranged from trail maintenance to public lectures to spoon-carving work- shops. And Conservation Corps members have worked at the nearby Wilton Wildlife Park and Preserve, helping to build a boardwalk, mounting trail markers, installing a fence, and clearing brush and trees encroaching on crucial wildlife habitat. Trail-worker Charlie Lovejoy ’16 says, “I definitely hope to do conservation work after I graduate,” so he’s grateful for the Wilton experience: “I don’t think I would have even known about this opportunity if it weren’t for the Student Conservation Corps.” Students have also taught city residents about hazardous-


waste collection, cooperated with Skidmore’s waste-hauling contractor to adopt zero-sort recycling, and collaborated with faculty to survey and map the more than 1,000 acres of Skidmore-owned land. Such initiatives are inspirational for many students, such as Patrick Babbitt ’14, a co-manag- er of the student-led composting program. Every week, Skidmore Compost collects food waste from the student apartments in Northwoods Village and raises awareness


about composting and sustainability. Often on bicycles, the students have collected thousands of pounds of food scraps and coffee grounds, which become a rich soil builder for the campus garden. Babbitt says, “I honed interpersonal skills to mobilize and teach volunteers, and I engaged in creative thought to find ways to ex- pand the pro- gram and con- nect it with broader sustain- ability issues.” Should the com- post system ex-


“BEFORE SKIDMORE,


MANY STUDENTS NEVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT A LANDFILL, USE CONSTRUCTION TOOLS, OR EAT A MEAL OF FOOD THEY PICKED THEMSELVES.”


pand to an industrial scale—to include yard waste, grass clippings, manure, and eventually scraps from the dining hall—Babbitt calculates it could save “tens of thousands of pounds of waste from the landfill.” He adds that the work is a way “to enact my values. I will certainly continue to sup- port environmental causes throughout my life, and very possibly address composting in a future career in urban planning or policy.”


STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS JOIN IN BUILDING A NORTH WOODS BOARDWALK.


An annual waste-reduction project is Give and Go. The many usable items left behind when students return home at the end of each academic year are collected by Skidmore and community volunteers so that, instead of being sent to the landfill, the goods can go to local charities. With so many activities to choose from, Rogers says, “stu- dents are excited about getting involved. Before Skidmore, many students never had the op- portunity to visit a landfill, use construction tools, or eat a meal of food they picked themselves. Now they’re out in the woods building a boardwalk, learning to use power tools, sorting through trash, pulling up inva- sive species, or planting in the garden.” Willis adds, “Every stu- dent has a different personal in- terest. But they learn that what they can do as an individual makes a unique difference for the whole community. They take pride in learning to live and act intentionally, living today for what it will mean tomorrow.”


FALL 2014 SCOPE 19


COURTESY OF SUSTAINABLE SKIDMORE


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