Carolina University Gives Back: Through Waste?

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Carolina University is giving back locally through our latest partnership with Crossnore School & Children’s Home. Crossnore is launching its new community compost initiative: the Story of the Plate.  Shaina Bottoms, manager of the on-campus coffee and apparel shop, is the visionary behind our university becoming more resourceful in our waste management and she’s doing so through this composting project.

Shaina explains the vision saying, “The Story of the Plate is much bigger than CU collecting its compost, it’s connecting people, giving income-earning opportunities to refugees, and giving our students a service-learning opportunity to work at the gardens.”

This partnership includes businesses like Crossnore’s Miracle Grounds Network, Camino Bakery, the YMCA’s RISE program, Gallions Family Farm, Every Tray Counts, and many others!  This is an opportunity for citywide businesses like Camino Bakery and CU to provide local suppliers with the compost needed to grow fresh produce that, in return, serves the community and educates young people on how to use the gift of earth’s soil to reproduce. It’s a big circle of each one of us serving one another! 

Piedmont is playing an important role in this circle that keeps on giving and it starts in our student center! The Den coffee shop has already made great strides to become more resourceful and sustainable by converting all of our cups, lids, and containers to compostable materials. Now, we’re joining forces with the Story of the Plate to invest our compost back into the community!  

The exciting thing about this project is that students are piloting its success. Whether they are employed by The Den, enjoy their daily cup of coffee with us in the student center, or serve at the Farm, each student has an opportunity to make an impact on the environment. 

The initial composting station will be located in The Den, with plans to expand to the rest of the campus in the future! To commemorate the occasion the university hosted a launch party for the project on August 22, 2019. Several businesses involved in other sustainability programs across the area like Wake Forest University and Piedmont Environmental Alliance and others were in attendance with information tables and resources. After the commemorative launch at The Den, a reception was held at Camino Bakery.

You can learn more about Crossnore and their mission by going to their website at

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