Egg shells, coffee grinds, old newspapers, unpaid bills. These are just a few items that go into the trash cans of Georgetown apartments every morning. This waste could continue to go fill a landfill somewhere, or, as GUSA has rightfully realized, it could be put to a better use.

This week, the Georgetown University Student Association passed an initiative that will create a program for composting in Alumni Square. It now falls on the student body to take this important step to make Georgetown a more environmentally conscious campus.

The voluntary program will offer residents compost bins that will be emptied into a central composting bin, which University Facilities will pick up weekly and combine with composted waste from other on-campus locations.

The challenge — and the opportunity — of the new GUSA program is that it depends entirely on student initiative. GUSA has set aside a portion of funds as prize money to incentivize students to compost, and this could serve as a carrot for students living in Village B. But composting, like many aspects of environmental awareness, will require continued commitment, daily decisions to separate the trash and the addition of “take out compost” to the chore sheet.

But the results are well worth the effort. Composting directly reduces carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide levels in the environment, creates nutrient-rich soil and prevents further accumulation of waste in landfills.

If Georgetown truly desires to become a “greener” school, the new GUSA program represents an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment. If paired with other measures, like a concerted effort to recycle beverage cans or plastic cups after parties, the new program could represent a shift toward sustainability that, at Georgetown, is overdue.

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