Hannah Eberly, a second-year, and David Zwier, a junior, represented Goshen College at the United States Composting Conference (USCC) in San Jose and Santa Clara, Calif. last month.

Eberly and Zwier have worked extensively with Goshen College composting throughout the past summer and school year. Lewis Naylor, a Chemistry professor and composting adviser, suggested that they apply to present at the conference.

“Hannah and I never imagined that our proposal would be accepted,” said Zwier, “much less that we would be the only college-aged presenters at the conference.”

Board members of the USCC organized the 19th annual conference, which took place Jan. 24-27.

USCC is the only national organization dedicated to promoting the composting industry. It focuses on educating, training, researching, compost networking, and gaining public support. Over 1000 people attended the conference this year plus numerous exhibitors, demonstrators, and sponsors.

According to Eberly and Zwier, the participants ranged from CEOs of large companies to representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture to magazine editors.

Eberly and Zwier learned primarily about how composting can occur on a massive scale, particularly in large cities. Large amounts of food waste can now be processed through industrialized composting. Industrialization isn’t necessary, however, for smaller populations like Goshen College.

“We learned that although Goshen College’s composting system is small and simple, it is also admirable,” said Eberly. “Ease and frugality works for small populations.”

In their presentation, Eberly and Zwier advanced a sustainable image for Goshen College. They also spoke for other colleges and universities that are too small to contract out composting services alongside trash waste services.

“In essence, Goshen College represented the true simplicity of composting that requires only food waste, oxygen, heat, and time,” said Eberly.

Eberly and Zwier will continue to promote Goshen College’s composting system. They are working with others from the conference to update the blueprint for the composter. They hope to make the design web-accessible to allow others to benefit from it.

To learn more, Eberly and Zwier will lead a brief discussion on their experience during the “Sustainability News at GC” convocation on Monday, March 14.