Last fall I, Ann McCallum, a Williamstown architect, was the “client” for a CES class project looking into the viability of Williamstown residents, restaurants, and schools diverting their food scraps from the waste stream, and into compost bins instead. Incinerating or burying food scraps produces significant levels of harmful greenhouse gasses, whereas composting the scraps produces nutrient rich compost, very beneficial for soil improvement. Because the study showed the premise has promise, a group of Williamstown residents and experts in waste disposal have teamed up to bring it to the next step, which is to run a pilot project with a limited group of residents and restaurants. This will test the viability of the whole idea and look for places to improve it before launching it town-wide.
The first is to develop an information letter to send to the invited participants. This would explain the benefits of composting, the terms of the pilot program, the composting options participants would have, and a form to send back to say whether or not they would like to participate. There is a lot of material from communities who have already done similar projects that we can draw from.
The second area is to figure out what (and how) to monitor the successes or otherwise of the pilot project. We would like to learn as much as possible, in order to iron out problems before inviting all of Williamstown to participate.
Supervision & Schedule
Students would work closely with me and Nancy Nylen, who is involved in many Williamstown climate initiatives, including the Williamstown COOL committee and the Williams College Climate Action Committee, as well as with Tanja Srebotnjak and Mike Evans from the Zilkha Center.
At our first meeting we will explain the project, what we hope to accomplish, and how we can work together. We will share with you all the materials we have gathered and names of useful contacts. We imagine that this initial material will help you pursue other leads. We will get together weekly to review progress, with the ultimate goal being to finalize the information letter and forms for invited participants, and a memo describing and explaining metrics for measuring the success or results of the pilot program.
Skills & Experiences
Strong writing and research skills, some experience with monitoring and evaluation of projects, proactive communication, and an interest in composting would all be useful to the project. The Zilkha Center and the rest of our team will work closely with you and add our own expertise to yours. Ideally the work would be completed by the end of the spring semester.
We anticipate that this project-based internship will take 20-30 hours.
Here is a general description of the pilot program, which you might find useful.
Please complete this form at your earliest convenience.
We will begin reviewing applications on March 17, 2021.