The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 4th

Members of UNC's environmental organizations discuss how students can live sustainably

Program participants Neil Rowen, Sage Atkins, and Daniel Kim pose with their CompostMates bin that they use to collect food scraps.
Buy Photos Program participants Neil Rowen, Sage Atkins, and Daniel Kim pose with their CompostMates bin that they use to collect food scraps.

Aligned with increased public environmental awareness, the UNC campus is home to several organizations that facilitate sustainable living.

And although some students might not have time to join the network of environmental organizations around campus, there are still ways to live sustainably with a small time commitment.

“When students want to get involved in environmental sustainability, it's kind of hard on campus," Noah Barnett, president of Carolina 360, said. "It's hard to think of it that way because you're part of a dorm. But water usage and energy usage is one of the biggest contributors to environmental instability."

Here are a few organizations that can help students live more environmentally friendly — plus sustainability tips from their members.

Carolina 360

Carolina 360 is an organization geared toward educating students on living green and connecting them with the wider sustainability community on campus.

“We can get you plugged into other niche environmental groups that you're interested in, with different groups focusing on different kinds of sustainability and ways that they can get involved," Barnett said. "It's a huge network once you get plugged into it."

According to Barnett, watching your water and energy use is the easiest way to protect the environment while living in residence halls. Students can also check out compost bins from their residence hall offices to compost food waste collected in their dorm rooms.

To keep up with Carolina 360, follow their Instagram, @carolina360official, where they’ll post the dates and times of their upcoming meetings.


Off-campus students typically have fewer options for composting, but CompostMates aims to solve that problem. They provide collection bins to students living off campus throughout Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Students on campus can get involved by volunteering with the group.

“We have volunteers and team members go around collecting all the food scraps, and then we take them to various locations," Olivia Tseng, founding member and senior adviser, said. "One of them is Carolina Community Garden, and they use our food scraps to make compost."

CompostMates can be found on Heel Life, or on Instagram @compostmates_unc. The group is accepting new volunteers to assist in its mission.

Edible Campus

Any newcomer to UNC will notice the gardens of herbs, berries and vegetables scattered across campus. These gardens were put in place by Edible Campus, and there are at least 11 throughout the University that provide food for students and faculty to pick.

According to its website, the main garden supplies the student-run campus food pantry. This garden is also used as a tool for students to learn more about sustainable gardening. Students can help maintain the garden on Mondays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and learn how to care for their own gardens. 

“People will take some lessons from our garden and apply stuff — you know where they live, where they work, where they play — that kind of thing,” Kyle Parker, coordinator of Edible Campus UNC, said.

Follow Edible Campus @ediblecampusunc on Instagram, or email Parker for volunteering inquires at

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