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Successful Projects

Here is a list of projects that have successfully completed the application process.

2015: Vermicompost 

2014: Water Quality Wednesday | Sustainable Clothing Swap | Dana Lyons and Bron Taylor Earth Day Events | Julia Butterfly Hill Event | Relay for Life | Light Bulb Recycling Program | Bog Garden at Grice Marine Lab | Bike Trailers   

2013: Green CofC Food Week Events | Race-a-Beta Fun Run 5k | Screening of Between the Harvest

2012: Floral Composition at Dixie Plantation | Apiculture at Dixie Plantation | APE Waste Audit | Green Teaching Garden at Grice Marine Lab


The College of Charleston has a composting program through the Grounds Department that diverts food waste and yard debris from the landfill.  However the increasing demand and input of waste through the years will require compost to be created and processed at a faster rate. Inspired by their Intro to Environmental Studies course, undergraduate students Makenna Coon and Simon Engel decided to take on this challenge with the help of worms.  The Vermicomposting pilot was launched in January 2015 with 500 wiggler worms and a vermicomposting bin system.  The worms live on a diet of greens and browns and produced so much compost in the beginning that the trial bins had to be doubled. The project leaders hope that vermicompost will increase the rates at which the College composting program operates once the project reaches optimal scope, thereby maximizing the amount of nutrient rich soil being produced as well as speeding up the composting process. The project has been so successful that it is currently expanding to seven more bins. More worms, more compost!

Water Quality Wednesday

wqwOn November 12th, 2014 CofC held its first “Water Quality Wednesday”- an afternoon featuring two presentations revealing relations between water and social issues.  Each of the events educated students on obscure problems that even the sustainability-conscious may not be familiar with. For the first event, Stories from South Central, a group came down from West Virginia speaking on behalf of prisoners in South Central Regional Jail in Charleston, WV. These prisoners were neglected during the water pollution crisis in January 2014, and the talk exposed the marginalization of populations in society and how this relates to community sustainability. Later in the evening a student hosted a showing of the award-winning documentary DamNation, which discusses the issues of damned rivers and the battle between ecologists and energy demands. Charleston Waterkeeper helped sponsor the event and had a booth with information about getting involved with water quality in Charleston, and a panel of professors was available after the film to answer questions and expand on how water quality affects us all.

Sustainable Clothing Swap

Sustainable Clothing Swap The College of Charleston Sustainable Move Out Team partnered with ReTrend Fashion, a local Charleston retailer, to host a fashion show and clothing swap on campus at CofC during the Spring 2014 semester. The swap and fashion show were a great opportunity to actively display sustainable principles in an exciting and engaging form of entertainment. Students created their own outfits and exchanged their gently used clothing while enjoying live music and local food provided by Aramark/CofC Catering. This event was planned through the lens of sustainability and the promotion of waste reduction and diversion in a way that was accessible to students on a college campus. This event successfully raised awareness about controlling landfill waste and recognizing the changes that can be made to reduce the waste produced during the college move-out process!

Dana Lyons and Bron Taylor Earth Day Events

Dana Lyons and Bron Taylor Earth Day Events: April 22, 23, 24 Dana Lyons is a folk singer/songwriter who through his engagement with music, politics and the environment, provided a unique opportunity on campus to bring together different elements of the Charleston community. On Earth Day, Dana Lyons performed a public concert in the Stern Center Garden; in between performing some of his hits such as “Cows with Guns,” “Salmon Come Home” and “Turn the Wrench,” Dana talked about his experience working in the political/environmental realm. Dana Lyons was joined by Bron Taylor, a global scholar known for his work related to religion and nature, on April 23rd for a joint seminar during which students were given the opportunity to discuss issues related to sustainability, religion, politics, etc. with the guests. On April 24th, Bron Taylor hosted a special presentation of his latest work, Dark Green Religion. On his website, Taylor describes Dark Green Religion as a “religion-resembling set of beliefs and practices, characterized by a central conviction that nature is sacred, has intrinsic value, and is therefore due reverent care.” Taylor provided his audience with an alternative view of the human relationship with nature. This series of Earth Day events was well attended by students and faculty and provided an outlet for engaging conversation about sustainability and its connection to our society. For more information about Dana Lyons and Bron Taylor, please visit their websites:

Dana Lyons

Bron Taylor

Julia Butterfly Hill Event

Julia Butterfly Hill Event Julia Butterfly Hill is an environmental activist who, in 1997, sat in an old growth redwood tree named Luna, to protest against logging of the ancient trees and the destruction of one of America’s iconic landscapes. The College of Charleston had the opportunity to welcome Julia to our campus to speak during a public event. While visiting the campus, some students and faculty had the pleasure of having a sustainable vegan/vegetarian lunch with Julia where there were conversations about what she was doing with her activism work as well as how we, as students and community members, can make a difference both locally and globally. Local restaurant Verde supported our commitment to sustainability (a lunch with no waste) and allowed us to bring our own bowls, silverware, and napkins. Julia talked about living in Luna for two years, during which her feet did not touch the ground once. She credited being an introvert with being able to live for two years in a tree, “I didn’t climb into a tree to get famous, I climbed into a tree because I could hang out by myself and hopefully make a difference.” When talking about personal growth, she used an example of a pole vaulter’s coach, who knows where the “sweet spot” is; this is the spot that makes you stretch and grow, and once you achieve that, you can raise the bar to a higher level. Julia talked about spending so much time with Luna that the tree became a part of who she is and because of that bond, she would do whatever she could to protect and maintain the tree. She encouraged everyone to develop that bond with something they are passionate about. The free, public event was well attended and Julia left the audience with this sentiment: “We might have different houses, but actually we have just one home, and we have got to do a better job of learning how to live on this one home together and how we leave this home for future generations.”

Relay for Life

Relay for Life Relay for Life is the largest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, a nonprofit organization that works to eliminate cancer through advocacy, research, patient services, and education. This year College of Charleston joined MUSC, The Citadel, CofC Graduate School, Charleston Law, and Charleston Southern to sponsor a Relay for Life event here in Charleston where almost $44,000 was raised. The ECOllective Fund matched a donation from Aramark here at the College to provide food options for participants that integrated locally grown ingredients from GrowFood Carolina. This was the first year that the Charleston Relay for Life had almost zero waste and sustainable food (which got rave reviews from participants)!

Light Bulb Recycling Program

Light Bulb Recycling Program A CofC student and resident in McConnell Residence Hall, Rebecca Madigan, decided to educate other students about the important differences between incandescent, CFL and LED light bulbs. According to a survey that was distributed in the residence hall, about 48% of the bulbs in McConnell are incandescent and usually between 40-60 watts. Becca wanted to give students in McConnell the opportunity to exchange their incandescent bulbs for more energy efficient LEDs. Approximately 200 LED bulbs were stationed at the front desk of McConnell and residents were encouraged to make the exchange for the more efficient models. The goal of this project was to spread knowledge about the different types of light bulbs available and encourage students to develop more sustainable energy habits. The hope is that through starting this program in one residence hall, a larger scale light bulb recycling/exchange program will be implemented at CofC in the near future.

Bog Garden at Grice Marine Lab

The Grice Marine Lab HVAC Condensate Native Plant Garden, or the Bog Garden, made use of the condensation from the HVAC unit that traveled and collected near the Grice Marine Lab building. Rebecca Balazs and Sharleen Johnson, Masters Candidates for the College of Charleston Marine Biology Graduate Program, proposed to develop a garden from native hydrophilic plants where the condensation pools. Greg Townsley, a graduate of the College of Charleston Master of Environmental Studies Program and the Grice Marine Lab manager, approved of the construction for the project, installed the necessary PVC, and currently serves as an advisor for the garden. This project and the Grice Green Teaching Garden (GTG), another successful project funded by ESPC, merged. Both Grice gardens are maintained by the GTG Coordinator and the Bog Garden project leader, Rebecca Balazs. College of Charleston students, including Marine Biology Graduate Student Association members and the Biology Club, volunteer to perform upkeep and learn about native plants. The Bog Garden is an excellent example of students using ESPC funds to improve the campus. These graduate students innovated a project to make use of the campus’ waste, the water from the HVAC unit. What was a simple pool of water became a garden and an educational tool for student volunteers.

Bike Trailers

College of Charleston student Thomas Bowen wanted to aid students who depend on bikes for transportation and must balance items, such as groceries, while biking. Thomas Bowen proposed to bring bike trailers to make biking while hauling loads an easier experience. This encourages students to bike to their destinations instead of using cars, thus promoting a sustainable lifestyle. Bikes trailers are now available to students and can be borrowed from the Stern Center.

Green CofC Food Week Events

Green CofC is a student organization that works to raise awareness of sustainability on campus and collaborates with the local community to promote a sustainable way of life. Food Week, hosted by Green CofC for a number of years, consists of various events that explore the roles food plays in our lives. In 2013, Green CofC delved into an aspect of our food system that is often overlooked: the labor rights of farm workers.

Members of Green CofC invited Atlee Webber, a representative from Student Action with Farmworkers, to speak at the College of Charleston about the history of the situation of farm laborers and share her personal experiences with migrant labor camps in the Charleston area. Student Action with Farmworkers is an organization based in the Southeast that works with farmers, students, and advocates who are devoted to creating a more equitable agricultural system.

The ECOllective Student Project Committee, along with other school organizations, was able to help Green CofC host a benefit dinner that raised almost $300 for the East Coast Migrant Head Start Program which helps support children of migrant workers in the Charleston area. This event also marked the collaboration between GrowFood Carolina and CofC Dining Services, representing another step in growing campus sustainability.

Race-a-Beta Fun Run 5k

Race a BetaOn October 19, 2013, the Beta Theta Pi College of Charleston Chapter hosted a 5k event that benefitted the Sea Island Habitat for Humanity nonprofit organization. ESPC helped Beta Theta Pi promote campus sustainability by providing reusable water bottles to be included in the runner packets. This was one of the fraternity's first community-wide events, and we are happy to have helped Beta Theta Pi reach their goals while supporting sustainability at the College of Charleston.

Screening of Between the Harvest

The film Between the Harvest is the story of Ostional, a remote coastal community in Costa Rica that relies on a legal harvest of sea turtle eggs for income. Once a month, thousands of olive ridley sea turtles nest en masse in what is referred to as an arribada. The harvest has been justified in that it removes eggs that would ultimately be destroyed by subsequently nesting females and this, in turn, leads to the bacterial and fungal infection of remaining nests. This short documentary is objectively told through the eyes of the local people and delves into the controversy of natural resource use, conservation, and sustainability.

This screening of Between the Harvest on April 3rd, 2013 in the New Science Center auditorium was followed with a panel discussion on current social and environmental themes revealed throughout the film. The panel included Scott Drucker, Director, “Between the Harvest", Carlos Mario Orrego Vasquez, Lead Biologist, IUCN Representative, Director of Ostional Wildlife Refuge Megan Westmeyer, Sustainable Seafood Initiative Coordinator, South Carolina Aquarium and Annette Watson, Ph.D. Political Science, Assistant Professor, College of Charleston. In order to bring this important topic home, the discussion focused on local sustainability issues. Audience participation was encouraged. As a part of sustainability week, this event was free and open to the public. For more information on Between the Harvest visit:

Floral Composition at Dixie Plantation

dixie floral survey

Dixie Plantation is an 881-acre property owned by the College of Charleston, located in Hollywood, SC. Bordering the Stono River, the property contains tidal marshlands as well as hardwood, pine and maritime forests which host a diversity of plant species. The property was bequeathed to the College under the condition that it be used for educational purposes. As the College makes plans to open the property up to students, proper stewardship of such a pristine ecosystem is necessary.

Ashley Schnitker, a graduate student in the Masters of Environmental Studies program at the College of Charleston, established plots throughout the property to determine which plants are found within Dixie and whether or not they are correlated into communities with specific compositions. Photographs and herbarium plant samples provide a visual record, while an inventory of rare, exotic, and ethnobotanically useful plants inform proper management. This project serves as a "point in time" capture of the floral diversity. A field guide based on the data obtained in this study helps students who are interested in exploring the plant life of this unique campus property. In the future, this study can provide insight into our dynamic coastal ecosystems and the effects of both human and natural events on such systems. This is a unique project for the Office of Sustainability in that it involves the sustainable management of a rural campus, unlike projects on the main urban Charleston campus.

Apiculture at Dixie Plantation

Bee Hive

The Sustainable Garden at Dixie Plantation (Hollywood, SC) received funding from the ECOllective fund, through the Office of Sustainability! The garden seeks to promote sustainability by employing practices in permaculture, organic gardening, utilizing heirloom seed, and by promoting education through student and community involvement. We now hope to further sustainability by educating the students and faculty of the College of Charleston on the importance of honey bees in agriculture and the methodology behind keeping bees. Our project involves a cooperative effort between the student garden and the Charleston Area Beekeepers Association (CABA) who are currently maintaining a hive on our property (hive donor-Maika Kowal). The hive was installed in December 2012 and will serve as an instructional tool for teaching beekeeping on the hobbyist level as well as aid in the pollination of various flora on the plantation property. The funds from ECOllective will allow for the continued maintenance and viability of the hive.

Keeping bees is a relatively easy undertaking that can yield highly successful results. Did you know that around 90 commercial crops rely on bees for pollination? With threats to honey bees on the rise, it is important to make the public aware of the crucial human and ecological services that bees provide. We are always looking for volunteers who want to help out in the garden and will be hosting bi-monthly work days. Also, look for a spring workshop available to any interested club or student who wants to learn more about how we use bees in our garden!

APE Waste Audit

Trash AuditThe Alliance for Planet Earth (APE), the student organization committed to spreading awareness about environmental issues at the College, was granted funding through the ECOllective Fund for materials for their upcoming Waste Audit, scheduled for April 4th, 2012 from 6am-6pm in the Cougar Mall. Hanging scales, safety equipment, and cleaning supplies were purchased with ECOllective Funds for this event.

APE removed trash from campus dumpsters and with help from Physical Plant, transported all collected trash to the Cougar Mall. From that point, APE spent the day weighing each bag of trash and sorting its contents into its different categories of materials that could have been recycled (glass, paper, aluminum, plastic, etc). At the end of the day, each category of materials was weighed and compared to how much was actually recyclable. The information and measurements were publicly displayed for the campus community to see and used in subsequent years to compare and study the changes in the recycling habits at CofC.

APE Trash AuditAPE's goal for this project was to promote the importance of recycling through both the visual impact of seeing our waste first hand and by showing that the things that we throw away do no disappear forever. Although this event may not have completely changed everyone's behaviors, we hope that at least a portion of the campus community was convinced that a part of being a sustainable community is being resourceful. When we use our resources to their greatest potential, we are living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Green Teaching Garden at Grice Marine Lab

The Green Teaching Garden (GTG) at Grice Marine Lab (GML) provides many opportunities for sustainable practice education and outreach at the College of Charleston (CofC) and within the Charleston community. This project was led by the Marine Biology Graduate Student Association (MBGSA) in partnership with the faculty and staff at GML over-seeing the planning, design, installation, planting, water collection, maintenance, harvesting, and educational outreach. A third-year marine biology graduate student, Sammi Smoot, served as the Coordinator for the GTG and acted as liaison with various groups on cam


Many different groups at the College are able to take part in the different stages of the project, including Master of Environmental Studies Student Association (MESSA), Urban Agriculture (UA), GML Community Outreach Research and Learning (CORAL) Program, CofC Grounds Department, Clemson Extension and Ashley Cooper Stormwater Education Consortium. The composter provided by this grant is supplied with organic material from the on-site kitchen and grounds maintenance. The produce collected from the garden can be donated to a food shelter to benefit the local community. The garden serves as an educational tool for the public and students and as a potential research resource for lab-based instruction or research projects.pus and in the community, maintaining and incorporating the green garden into educational functions, and conducting green practice audits.


Planting the Green Teaching Garden at Grice serves to strengthen the ties between the marine lab's remote location and the downtown campus. It provides unique opportunities to expand existing educational and outreach efforts. In addition to GML hosting hundreds of visitors annually, the Grice CORAL program works to educate more than 2400 people about marine biology each year. Multiple student groups have expressed interest in helping with GTG construction, upkeep, and outreach efforts. Faculty members of the School of Science and Mathematics have expressed interest in incorporating the GTG into their teaching curriculum.