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    Read about Amber, Eli, Faye, Jack, and Tamar's experiences at Luther!

The Dirty Work

So, J-term is over already. It went by fast as anything, and after a week at home, it will be time to return for my final semester. Sure, I didn’t take a class this January, but that doesn’t mean that I failed to get any work done. I managed to finish Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (honestly, it’s not worth all the hype), as well as the gargantuan Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, a stupendous tome about artificial intelligence, mathematical logic, and loops of self-reference.

There was one “pastime” this January which was completely new to me, however. In search of a work study for the month, I found myself employed as a member of the campus recycling/composting crew.

Although some people may be put off by the idea of toting around ten-gallon buckets of moldering food and breaking down cardboard boxes until the cows come home, I must admit that I found the experience fulfilling and enjoyable. It was nice to finally participate with Luther Sustainability, and to do my part to promote environmentally friendly practices on campus (which we take very seriously in these parts, just look at our wind turbine).

I learned a few interesting tidbits along the way, too. For example, it is really, really, really unpleasant to be outside sorting recycling when the wind chill is ten below zero (Honestly, I probably could have guessed that). Also, people who recycle pizza boxes without emptying the contents ought to reevaluate their life choices. (Because that’s a huge pain!) The most profound learning experience was seeing a ten-gallon compost bucket filled with uneaten slices of cake, which was perhaps the saddest thing I have ever seen. One cannot help but wonder just how much joy these sweets could have brought to the world.

Although tossing that cake on the compost pile was a downer, there were still plenty of things to make my time enjoyable. First and foremost was that I got to work with several excellent student coworkers whom I might not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.  Also, except my first week (which was quite chilly), the weather was lovely. It was a nice change of pace to have a work study job that kept me out in the fresh air. As an added bonus, hefting those buckets of compost around was a fantastic workout!

Honestly, I'm a little disappointed that I won’t be working as a recycler in the coming months. However, I have other work study excitement to look forward to in the near future. More blogging, of course, and also TA-ing for introductory Logic!

The trusty compost/recycling truck
A fresh truckload of buckets, all set for a compost route
We weigh the contents of every bucket to keep track of consumption
Then we drive it all to the compost pile and dump it
Other times, I collected recycling
Then it's time to sort the recycling into the roll-offs

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