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Sustainability Interns Initiate Pollinator Garden and Reuse Projects

Salem State Sustainability Council Interns are pursuing initiatives ranging from a pollinator garden to projects encouraging composting and freecycling at the university this semester.

Sustainability Council interns are creating a pollinator garden on Upper North Campus on the site of a former garden behind Sullivan. Repurposing garden boxes left by the Horace Mann Elementary School, the interns have prepared a 200-square-foot site for planting later in the spring. The project has been a real education on the beneficial role that pollinators such as butterflies play in fostering habitats that many species rely on for food and shelter. 

The project, conceived by the students, is being funded by the Alumni Association and will feature native grasses, pollinator-friendly flowering species, and a Black Chokeberry shrub. The Sustainability Council interns receive academic credit through the Geography and Sustainability Department for supporting Salem State’s sustainability office. Students Christy Ditommaso, Luana DosSantos, Antonia Shuruyeva, Matt Sweeney, and fall interns Emily Cote and Brendan Johnson were generously mentored during this project by Matt Buchanan of Mack Park and by Colleen Hitchcock and Suzanne Hale of the Swampscott Conservancy.

In the residence halls, intern Ashley Hames has focused on engaging students in adopting more sustainable behaviors by initiating several projects:

  • Initiating a voluntary compost pilot program in Atlantic and Viking Halls for interested residents
  • Adding drying racks to the laundry rooms in Viking and Marsh to reduce energy use
  • Providing Freecycle tables in Viking, Peabody and Atlantic so that students may donate items they no longer need for others to use

Ashley has received enthusiastic support from Residence Life staff and from residential students as these pilot programs roll out. 

Employees have also been calling for a Freecycle program to help them manage no-longer-needed office supplies as many of us increasingly work from home. Student Jeannette Miranda took on this challenge and has been collecting unwanted office supplies at several locations across campus.

The response to the Freecycle program has been overwhelming. All of the collected items will be made available to anyone who wants them during Earth Days on Tuesday, April 12 from 10:30 am-12:45 pm on Alumni Plaza. The rain date is April 14. Please stop by and see if there is anything you need. Leftover items will be donated. Jeannette is generously funded by a Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics and Civic Engagement Scholarship.

In addition to these initiatives, math major Jacob Stegenga has been analyzing Salem State’s energy data so that we can better understand building performance and focus our efforts where most needed.

A big thank you to the interns who bring such passion, excitement and energy to their roles. Thank you as well to the supporters, mentors, and funders. You make our work to enhance our campus possible.

Learn more about sustainability at Salem State.

Tara Gallagher
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