Can UMass Amherst College Day Cookout Achieve Zero Waste?



DATE:           Friday, Sept. 25

TIME:           11:30 to 1 p.m. Media welcome.

WHAT:          Attempt at Zero Waste College Day Cookout

WHERE:      Integrated Sciences Building Courtyard, North Pleasant Street


The University of Massachusetts’ College of Natural Sciences (CNS) this year is hoping to host its first ever zero-waste College Day Cookout for hundreds of students, faculty and staff on Friday, Sept. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the courtyard behind the Integrated Sciences Building on North Pleasant Street.

Last year’s event came close to reaching zero-waste status, as organizers successfully diverted 240 pounds of waste from the landfill and turned it into compost, but they fell short by one partial bag of trash left over. This year, organizers are making an all-out effort to reach the zero waste goal, says Benjamin Aufill, campus sustainability communications and marketing manager.

He says that the campus’s Green Event Planning Team with members from auxiliary services, physical plant, CNS staff and student eco-reps, hope to divert 100 percent of the cookout’s waste to serve as a model for campus events and to continue the campus’s mission of learning, living and leading sustainably.

Aufill says, “This year we are very optimistic that a zero waste event will happen at UMass Amherst. As a campus, we are committed to rethinking waste and how to reduce it. Getting so close with the event last year was encouraging. It gave us momentum going into the New2U reuse tag sale as classes began this month and will continue as we plan to cut waste at tailgating events and with our sustainable Halloween costume sale in October.”

At the cookout, student eco-reps will provide education about sustainable practices to picnickers and assist guests with recycling and disposing properly of compostable food, utensils, napkins, plates and cups. Food served at the cookout is locally grown and sourced. Hay bales and cornstalks borrowed from the campus’s Hadley Farm and pumpkins from the student farm will be returned after the event. Live music will be provided by the Draper Annex Band.

Contact: Janet Lathrop, 413/545-0444;

                 Benjamin Aufill, 413/545-7151;