At the beginning of each fall semester, the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) hosts its College Day Barbecue, a green cookout that brings together CNS students, faculty, and staff to enjoy the start of a new school year, delicious, locally sourced food, and each other’s company. The cookout strives to be a zero-waste event with a cross-campus Green Event Planning Team that includes members from Auxiliary Services, Physical Plant, and CNS. Eco-Reps are on hand to provide education about sustainable practices and to help those attending place their compostables into the appropriate receptacles. Guests are treated to finger foods made from locally grown ingredients, and served on compostable plates, napkins, and cups. Acoustic music is provided by the campus band Machine Shop, a.k.a. the Draper Annex Band. The décor for the event consists of hay bales and cornstalks borrowed from the university’s Hadley Farm and pumpkins from the student farm. These items are returned to their respective farms after the event.
The 2014 CNS College Day cookout diverted 240 pounds of waste from landfills and turned it into compost. The only other trash consisted of a partially filled bag of food prep materials, and recyclable bottles and cans brought to the event by guests. The CNS College Day serves as a model for campus events and continues the mission of learning, living, and leading sustainably at UMass Amherst.