COVID-19: Essential Information

Fall 2020 Blog

Fall 2020 Blog

We are this semester’s waste team! From left to right:


Hi! I’m Anna, an environmental economics major from Northampton, Massachusetts. This is  my first semester working with the SSL, and I’m so excited to be a part of the team, even virtually. Aside from being interested in intersectional environmental activism, policy and investment, I’m a rock climber and older sister, and enjoy road trips and cafés.  

I’m Essi, a joint environmental studies and geography major from the D.C. area. I’ve had a great experience with the SSL so far and look forward to continuing to make Middlebury a more sustainable, more equitable place. In my free time, I love writing, running on the TAM, eating Annie’s Mac and Cheese, and hiking! 

Hi, I’m Sahalie and I’m a conservation biology major from Eugene, Oregon. I am excited to work for the SSL this fall and tackle some of the pressing waste challenges we are currently facing. When not working for the SSL, I enjoy canoeing, hiking, taking photos, and playing board games. 

As the waste team, we are working towards creative ways to minimize waste on campus and engage the student body with waste reduction efforts. 

Waste on campus looks completely different this semester under COVID-19 regulations. The college is taking many precautions to limit the spread of germs. These precautions have included huge changes to the operation of the dining halls, such as no self-serve food. Unfortunately, this has led to increases in the use of disposable items and resulting dining hall waste. Earlier this semester, we met with the staff members in charge of dining and facilities to understand these challenges better ourselves. We are now focused on informational campaigns to re-educate students on waste disposal and on this semester’s changes specifically. We hope to decrease the quantity of trash we produce and redirect waste from the landfill to recycling and compost. Currently, our main project is to design and hang posters above all of the disposal stations in dining halls and dorms to help inform students about proper waste sorting. To protect the health of facilities workers, the recycling center cannot sort through our waste this semester to separate improperly sorted items. It is more important than ever that students put waste in the right bins since incorrectly sorted recycling and compost will end up in the landfill.

This pandemic-influenced semester also means that students will be boxing up their belongings at the end of fall semester. We are anticipating an increase in the number of items being thrown out during November move-out. We are currently brainstorming solutions to this waste challenge including on how best to encourage and facilitate donation of unwanted items to the recycling center and local businesses.

We are this semester’s communications team! From left to right:

Hi I’m Van, a senior Political Science major from Los Angeles, CA. My focus is on environmental policy and local level change. I have been with the SSL for three years now and on the Communications Team since June. I enjoy reading the newspaper, running and taking landscape photos.

I am Assadou, a junior majoring in computer science. I was born and raised in Rwanda. I joined SSL this semester and I am working on the communication team. Some of my hobbies include bike riding, hiking, and playing Go (also known as baduk). 

My name is Valerie, I'm a senior Economics major from south central Los Angeles, California with a passion for intersectional environmentalism with a critical lens on class and race. This is my second semester working at the SSL, where I'm overseeing the Sustainability Consultancy - currently in our pilot stage - and also in comms team! Some hobbies of interest are photography, baking, dancing, and traveling.

As the Comms team, our main goal is to help everyone else in the Sustainability Solutions Lab effectively share their ideas and messages across Instagram, blogs, the website and more. 

This is the first of the weekly blogs that will highlight each group’s work. The exciting part about being involved with communications is that you get to learn and write about work that is happening across the field of sustainability. We are looking at not only different departments at Middlebury, but also different colleges and universities involved with sustainability.

Our main challenge this semester is going to be updating and reorganizing the Office of Sustainability's website. While this may sound straightforward, it is actually very complicated. The Office’s site has over 120 different pages and subpages that all need to be evaluated. Then, our team is going to find a way to effectively organize all those webpages in order to reduce dead ends and improve user experience. We will be working closely with the College’s web-design team to get this done as soon as possible.