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Expansion of composting services and enhancement of waste diversion efforts.


2,000 student signatures were collected in support of bringing this referendum to a vote, which passed! The Compost Referendum serves as a hallmark for sustainability on the Auraria Campus. Waste diversion is one of our seven pillars which we use to guide our work around the Auraria Campus. A lot of work needs to be done to achieve our 35% goal by 2024, which is where the ratified Compost Referendum will help us by implementing a more robust composting program in addition to enhancing our other waste diversion efforts! Thank you for voting!

Referendum for Student Vote

Compost Expansion

We (The Auraria Student Body) see the overwhelming buildup of physical waste in landfills and bodies of water as a serious and immediate issue to be dealt with. Being a tri-institutional campus, we realize our substantial contribution into the waste stream, and that currently average only 20% of our material waste diverted from the landfill. We also recognize that, on average, 40% of food in the United States is wasted and ends up in landfills. In an effort to increase our diversion rate, reduce our environmental impact, encourage the use of compostable materials, and recycle any potential food waste into compost, we propose an expansion of the composting infrastructure and collection for all buildings on campus.


“Shall the students of the Auraria Campus (the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and University of Colorado Denver at the Downtown Denver Auraria Campus) authorize the Board of Directors of the Auraria Higher Education Center to assess each institution a student fee increase of $3 per student, per semester, for an expansion of the current Auraria Sustainable Campus Program’s fee of $5.58 to primarily fund the addition of composting services and the enhancement, and ongoing maintenance of waste diversion among campus buildings and exterior spaces. The new total ASCP fee amount of $8.58 per student, per semester, would take effect beginning in the fall of 2020). The fee may be adjusted each year thereafter for inflation by the Auraria Board of Directors without a student referendum. The inflation rate shall be defined as the rate of change in the consumer price index for urban wage earners for the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Quick Facts

2.73% increase in average waste diversion rate since the introduction of composting on the Auraria Campus.

96% of students believe that recycling and composting programs are important on the Auraria Campus.

The Truth Behind the Trash

What happens when you trash something instead of composting it? The Truth Behind the Trash covers misconceptions about composting and how to close the loop when it comes to waste!


Animated by Kait Kostelnik



What is 'waste diversion'?
Waste Diversion is the amount of waste diverted from a landfill. For decades we have shipped our material waste to landfills where it sits, potentially for hundreds to thousands of years. Instead, we believe that we should promote waste diversion efforts such as recycling and composting.


What is a referendum?
A referendum occurs when a question is brought to the student body for a vote.


What does the referendum ask?
The Compost Expansion Referendum asked the Auraria Campus Sustainability to raise the semester fee an additional $3 per person for campus-wide composting services. Increasing the fee provides the additional funding to invest in the infrastructure (bins, compostable bags) and services (hauling, pest control, signage updates, staffing) to bring compost campus wide.

Who created the referendum?
The tri-institutional Students for Sustainability Club created the referendum with expertise and assistance provided by the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program.


Why was the referendum introduced?
We (the students) believe that increasing compost infrastructure and collection is a necessary step towards reducing our environmental impact.

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