The unprecedented economic challenges facing the nation and the world were front and center when President Michael Engh, S.J., delivered his first State of the University
The good, the bad, and the ‘big one’
President Michael Engh, S.J., on the State of the University
The unprecedented economic challenges facing the nation and the world were front and center when President Michael Engh, S.J., delivered his first State of the University address on Feb. 23 in the Mission Church.
Coming to know the University, he said, “I have observed a vibrant academic climate here, a campus permeated by ideas and art and innovation, a campus where issues of spirituality and justice are taken seriously.” At the same time, he said, being president in this historic moment “feels like riding a wave on a surfboard, when the wave has turned out to be the ‘big one.’”
President Engh grouped his observations into three categories: accomplishments, challenges, and commitment to academic quality.
Proud to be at SCU
|“I have observed a vibrant academic climate here, a campus permeated by ideas and art and innovation… where issues of spirituality and justice are taken seriously,” Fr. Engh said.
Photo: Charles Barry
Recent examples of the university’s intellectual richness include: Noelle Lopez ’09 being named a Rhodes Scholar; SCU’s participation in the 2009 Solar Decathlon; and national awards supporting faculty research— from Professor of Electrical Engineering Cary Yang for work on thermal and electrical nanoscale transport to poet and lecturer in English Rebecca Black, who has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Dramatic new campus facilities opened in the past year: the Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library in March 2008; Lucas Hall, home to the Leavey School of Business, in September 2008; and the Sullivan Aquatic Center in October 2008. Alumni in the news included two members of the Obama administration, CIA Director Leon Panetta ’60, J.D. ’63 and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano ’79.
In February SCU was named to the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service. And the Kaplan College Guide 2009 listed SCU as one of the nation’s 25 most environmentally responsible schools.
President Engh also highlighted a letter he received from D.J. Wheeler ’10 and Jennifer Mock ’10, who wrote to protest the university’s investment in Massey Energy, a company that mines coal through mountaintop removal. The students witnessed firsthand the environmental damage inflicted by the process on an immersion trip to Appalachia. After receiving their letter, President Engh made inquiries with the president of Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia; in addition, research by a student intern in environmental studies corroborated the students’ claims. The University did turn out to hold a small amount of stock in the company, President Engh said. “This investment had been made unknowingly and it contradicted our ethical guidelines. Once aware of this error, we divested.”
Since taking office, much of President Engh’s attention has been on the University’s economic health. The balanced budget that trustees approved in February maintains a commitment to academic quality, avoids layoffs, addresses changing financial-aid needs, and builds financial reserves. Deans and other administrators were asked to economize operating budgets wherever possible, with an expected savings of $2 million. “Targets were categories such as travel and entertainment—not academic programs,” Engh said.
|Solar builders: Dan Ruffoni ’09, construction manager, and Allison Kopf ’11, student project manager, begin work on the Refract House, SCU’s entry in the 2009 Solar Decathlon.
Photo: Charles Barry
In addition, most construction has been deferred. Faculty, staff, and administrators will forgo pay increases (save faculty who are promoted and employees with certain kinds of contracts or collective bargaining agreements).
One special area of concern is for currently enrolled students in need of emergency financial aid. For them the University created Special Assistance Awards last fall. Grants for nearly 50 students were partially funded out of operating reserves ($338,000) and a $100,000 gift from an anonymous trustee.
The Jesuit Community designated $200,000 of its annual gift for emergency student aid. And the same anonymous donor made a $100,000 challenge grant to help meet still-growing needs. (By mid-April, $200,000 in matching contributions were given, and 90 students total had been assisted with emergency financial aid.)
Make the call
This year saw some changes in admissions for incoming freshman. A single date, March 19, was set for notifying all “regular decision” applicants, rather than using “rolling” admissions. President Engh asked faculty to telephone and e-mail admitted students; he and Provost Lucia Gilbert personally called recipients of the Presidential and Provost Scholarships.
The University is also planning for a national demographic shift that will mean fewer high school seniors applying to college. Among the works in progress: the search for a director of enrollment management.
Commitment to academic quality
President Engh singled out three efforts to enhance academic quality and engaged pedagogy: implementation of the new core curriculum, beginning in fall 2009; the re-accreditation process by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges; and the planned affiliation of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley with Santa Clara.
President Engh concluded by noting that in his first weeks as president he has tried to “listen deeply,” and that is “proving quite rewarding.” He has met with small groups of faculty and staff and lunched with students at the Benson Dining Hall. He welcomed the Superior General of the Jesuits, Adolfo Nicolás, as well as a delegation of administrators from the Communist Party Training College in Shenzen, China. And he attended meetings with groups from the Catala Club to Kids on Campus, from the Center for Science, Technology, and Society advisory board to the Bronco Bench Foundation. “At the end of each gathering,” he said, “I leave impressed with your values, your insight and wisdom, and your love of learning.”
Steven Boyd Saum
Recalibrating the course
In calendar year 2008, the University’s endowment declined by 24 percent to approximately $533 million. But because of the formula the University uses for drawing on the endowment—averaging the past 12 quarters and an inflationary factor—there won’t be that radical a drop in funding. The expenditures in the 2009-10 budget will be $310 million, of which 8 percent comes from the endowment.
About 75 percent of the budget is funded by tuition, which will increase next year by 3 percent for undergraduate and most graduate students and 3.5 percent for law students. This is the smallest percentage increase in 25 years.
Steven Boyd Saum
Education in the real world
A landmark visit to California by the Superior General of the Society of Jesus
|Learning from the Golden State: Fr. Nicolás, right, and President Engh
Photo: Charles Barry
As the California Province entered its centennial year, the newly elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., made a historic trip to experience how Jesuit ministry continues to be shaped here.
In a nine-day tour that spanned 11 cities and almost 30 different locations, Fr. Nicolás met with many of the 390 Jesuits in the province and visited Jesuit schools and universities—including Santa Clara, naturally. But he also made time to experience many of the other facets the California province offers by celebrating multilingual masses, dining with migrant workers at the Guadalupe Homeless Project, touring Homeboy Industries, a job-training program for former gang members, and meeting with lay ministers and students.
During a Feb. 4 press conference at University of San Francisco’s Jesuit Residence, Fr. Nicolás discussed a range of issues relating to what he was hoping to learn and see during his visit, such as how to structure partnerships between lay leaders and Jesuits, how to incorporate multiculturalism into the Church, and the future of Jesuit education. In many of his answers, he referenced how California adapted well to many of these issues, adding that trips like this allow him to see the strong and weak points of each area.
“Change has to come through encounters, and I would encourage the people in Rome to travel as much as possible to see and to listen, but not to speak, and to mix with other people and realize that God has been very busy at work while in Rome we were sleeping,” he said.
In the Bay Area, Fr. Nicolás made stops at Sacred Heart/Our Lady of Grace Nativity School and Bellarmine College Preparatory. He spent one night at Santa Clara’s Jesuit residence, and on Feb. 6, SCU President Michael Engh, S.J., and Gerdenio Manuel, S.J., rector of SCU’s Jesuit Community, hosted a breakfast for him in the Adobe Lodge.
Fr. Nicolás addressed a small group consisting of SCU’s Board of Trustees, key University leaders and administrators, and a few students for which he reiterated the Society of Jesus’ commitment to higher education.
“It was very encouraging to hear him speak of the importance of the Jesuit mission to higher education as a critical part of their service to the world,” said Robert Finocchio, SCU trustee and dean’s executive professor of management. He added that when Nicolás was asked about the potential union of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley with Santa Clara, “he eloquently discussed the importance of theological education being in the real world, with the rest of the academy.”
Manuel first met Fr. Nicolás almost 15 years ago, and said on this visit he was struck by how youthful and energetic the superior general is. “He enjoys being with people, and at the same time is remarkably understated and humble,” Manual said. “And he speaks to the issues of our times with clarity of purpose as he focuses on God and the world’s greatest needs.”
Songs from the Missions
Many Santa Clarans might be surprised to learn that Mission Santa Clara de Asís harbors a rich musical history of its own, going back to the days of Padre Junípero Serra. “Mission Road” (Warner Classics, 2008), the new CD by the San Francisco-based men’s chorale Chanticleer, recreates the lush sounds of the music that once wafted through its walls into the gardens. This disc by the Grammy Award winning group is a compilation of liturgical pieces culled from the archives of the Bancroft Library and mission collections from Mexico City and California, including our own Santa Clara University archives. Four of the 11 selections are traced back to the liturgical life of the Santa Clara Mission.
Some of the music has no attribution, but the pieces by Friar Juan Bautista Sancho, to whom the “Misa en Sol” is credited, have a provenance that is both classical Spain (Mallorca, to be exact) and native California, and the result is a mixture of plainchant, Spanish baroque, and mordent though also joyful ornamentation reflecting the musical practices of the native peoples. In the stunning “Alleluia and Veni Sancte Spiritus” for Pentecost, composed for Santa Clara, a drum marks the passage from the plaintive tones of the “Alleluia” to the more baroque sounds of the Pentecost sequence. My favorite selection is “Para Dar Luz Inmortal, Gozos para Sr. Sn. José,” a beguiling melodic chant in praise of Saint Joseph. It would make a splendid processional piece even today.
Paul Crowley, S.J.
Bang for the buck
SCU named one of the country’s best values
Santa Clara University remains one of the country’s best values in private universities, according to the latest ranking by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine. In its annual report, the magazine named Santa Clara University 43rd in best value among private universities nationwide.
Released in January, the annual survey, “Best Values in Private Colleges,” ranks the top 50 private universities and the top 50 liberal arts colleges by reviewing more than 600 private institutions and measuring academic quality and affordability for 2009. Santa Clara, one of seven Jesuit schools named, is in good company with Boston College, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Loyola College of Maryland, Marquette University, and Xavier University.
Bronze back pages
|Kim Munson ’08 and her sculpture “Books”
Photo: Charles Barry
When the landmark Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library opened in March 2008, greeting visitors in the covered atrium was a new one-ton bronze sculpture as well. The six-foot-tall “Books,” perched atop a granite pedestal, was created by Kim Munson ’08 and selected for installation in a juried competition. Munson, 25, completed a double degree in studio art and marketing—the latter being a useful skill for an artist setting out to make her way in the world.
It was while studying sculpture with Professor Sam Hernandez that Munson created the wooden model for “Books” from a single redwood board. To have a bronze cast made, she hauled the model to a foundry in Monterey. That’s where she when she received a phone call from Hernandez asking where her model was—since the judging for the competition was going to take place within the hour. Munson won’t say how fast she drove, but she did make it back in time with the model.
As for the books in the sculpture, their pages are blank—for viewers to read or write their own stories, Munson says. And the books in her sculpture are emblematic of the lessons that have shaped her, inside and outside the classroom. Plus, she admits, “Everywhere I’ve lived, I always seem to have stacks of disheveled books.”
Steven Boyd Saum
Heard on campus
Why the outrage? “The U.S. Treasury bought $40 billion in preferred stock from AIG…. One of the terms was that the CEO and the CFO had to renegotiate their pay packages. The problem is they forgot about the traders in Greenwich, the financial products unit. That’s like renegotiating George Steinbrenner’s contract and forgetting about A-Rod.”
SCU Associate Professor of Law Stephen F. Diamond on Apr. 14 in the Ethics at Noon program “AIG Bonuses, Contractual Obligations, and Executive Compensation: Are There Ethical Standards for Pay?”
Victory on one count
Winning moot court team takes its case to The Hague
|Haranguers in The Hague: Birnbaum, coach Van Schaack, Douglass, and Ursini
Photo: Charles Barry
Call them the finest in America—North and South. When the dust cleared in February, a team of Santa Clara law students bested their peers from eight law schools to win an international moot court competition based on the International Criminal Court (ICC). The competition was hosted by Pace University Law School in New York.
The team—Ann Marie Ursini J.D. ’09, Brandon Douglass J.D. ’10, and Adam Birnbaum J.D. ’09—was coached by Associate Professor of Law Beth Van Schaack and earned praise for its “devastating” arguments. Douglass was named best oralist in the final round of the competition, when Santa Clara defeated a team from Yale University to win top honors.
The SCU team also earned a spot in the international competition at the ICC in the Hague in mid-February, competing against teams from Ireland, India, Russia, and elsewhere.
The SCU team came within a hair’s breadth—four points out of an ultimate total of 400—of making it into the final round. Australia’s Bond University came away with top accolades. The SCU team was heartbroken that they didn’t make it into the finals. But No. 4 on the planet isn’t too shabby.
While they were making history, the team also met up with alumni working in international criminal law in The Hague: Elizabeth Wheeler J.D. ’05 and Christine Keller J.D. ’07, legal officers in the chambers of the ICC, and Elia De Luca ’02, J.D. ’06, law clerk with the office of Peter McCloskey J.D. ’80, a prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Steven Boyd Saum
A fierce voice amid threats to his own life
Alexander Law Prize honors Haitian human rights attorney
|Derailing dictators: Mario Joseph
Photo: Jenny-Brooke Condon
Mario Joseph is one of Haiti’s most influential and respected human rights attorneys. For more than a decade, he has served in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as managing attorney and chief trial lawyer at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), which takes on prominent human rights cases representing political prisoners and victims of political violence in a battle to fairly apply Haiti’s justice system for the country’s poor majority. And in March he was presented with SCU School of Law’s 2009 Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize.
The prize recognizes a member of the worldwide legal community who has used his or her skills, knowledge, and abilities to correct an injustice in a significant manner. Indeed, Joseph has endured personal threats and political pressure from Haiti’s former dictatorship. Santa Clara Law Dean Donald Polden lauded Joseph as a “fierce voice calling for justice amid threats to his own life.”
Under Joseph’s leadership, the BAI has trained Haitian lawyers who are now judges, prosecutors, and high Ministry of Justice officials.
Joseph was the lead lawyer for the victims in the prosecution of the BAI’s most successful case, the trial of dozens of perpetrators of the Raboteau Massacre, a 1994 attack on a pro-democracy neighborhood by the de facto dictatorship’s top military and paramilitary leaders.
Ending the witch hunt
In California’s Kern County in the ’80s, fear over child molestation led to a wave of prosecutions of innocent parents. A new documentary tells how it happened—and how the Northern California Innocence Project helped free a man after 20 years in prison.
|Exonerated: John Stoll, seated, with filmmakers Nachman and Hardy
Photo: Charles Barry
When John Stoll received the letter that began his journey to freedom, he almost didn’t answer it. By the time the questionnaire from the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) arrived in his cell, Stoll had already served 17 years of a 40-year sentence for crimes he did not commit. It was getting harder and harder to be optimistic about a reversal of fortune.
“I just thought it was another one of those do-gooder outfits you pour your guts out to them, then they left you,” Stoll, 65, says. In spite of those reservations, Stoll filled out the forms the Santa Clara University-based NCIP had sent him. He’s glad he did.
Project attorneys and SCU law faculty members Kathleen M. “Cookie” Ridolfi, Linda Starr, and Jill Kent led the fight to overturn Stoll’s child molestation convictions, freeing him in 2004 after almost 20 years behind bars.
Stoll and the NCIP’s experience is at the heart of a new documentary, “Witch Hunt.” The film tells the story of dozens of lives, like Stoll’s, shattered by a series of wrongful convictions for child molestation in Bakersfield, Calif., in the 1980s.
“Witch Hunt” discovers the terrible toll these cases had on the children as well. Coaxed by authorities into testifying against Stoll and others—sometimes against their own parents—about acts that never occurred, the children were wracked with guilt for years. Now in their late-twenties and early thirties, they tell stories of alcohol and drug addiction, mistrust of authority, even an aversion to touching their own children for fear of accusations coming against them.
The film’s directors, Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, were journalists working for KNTV, the San Francisco Bay Area’s NBC television station, when they began looking for a subject to highlight the Innocence Project’s work. Nachman and Hardy ended up winning an Emmy Award for their television reports on Stoll. But they learned about the many others wrongfully convicted and knew they needed a bigger screen to tell that story.
|Exonerators: From left, SCU law faculty Linda Starr, Cookie Ridolfi, and Jill Kent
Photo: Charles Barry
Nachman and Hardy spent parts of the next four years filming and editing “Witch Hunt.” They made countless trips to Kern County, even traveled across the country to interview those involved in the cases. Their work eventually attracted the attention of Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn who signed on as narrator and executive producer. The film made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2008 and its Bay Area premiere at the 2009 Cinequest Film Festival.
Many of the exonerees profiled in the film, including John Stoll, attended the film’s screening at San Jose’s California Theater in February. As the credits rolled, they, as well as the filmmakers, took the stage. The capacity crowd was on its feet, cheering.
Stoll, dressed in jeans and cowboy boots, his hair pulled back in a ponytail, was handed a microphone. “They lied to me,” Stoll said, recalling his first meeting with Nachman and Hardy. “They told me this would be a little documentary.” The audience laughed as well. They understood there was no longer anything “little” about this film.
“Witch Hunt” went on to win the Cinequest Audience Award for Best Documentary. The film’s television rights were also purchased by MSNBC Films and began airing on the cable network in April, and it is now available on DVD. So far more than 3 million people have seen the film.
Garvin Thomas Snell
Would you pull the switch?
Psychologist Jerry Burger recreates a controversial experiment from decades ago—and learns some disturbing lessons.
In summer 2005 ABC “Primetime” approached SCU Professor of Psychology Jerry Burger with a proposal: replicate one of psychology’s most controversial experiments— Stanley Milgram’s obedience studies in the early 1960s. Participants were told that in another room was a person taking a memory test. Every time the test taker got a wrong answer, the participants were asked to administer increasingly powerful electric shocks.
The shocks were fake, but the participants pulling the switch didn’t know that. Despite hearing cries of pain, complaints about heart problems, and, ultimately, eerie silence, 65 percent of the participants heeded a man in a lab coat and continued raising the shocks to the generator’s top capacity—450 volts.
“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process,” Milgram wrote of his studies in the 1960s.
Has that changed in the years since? When ABC producers approached Burger in 2005, the torture of prisoners in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib was fresh in people’s minds.
At first, Burger balked at the proposal. For decades Milgram’s experiments had stood not only as an explanation for people’s capacity for cruelty, but also as an example of science gone too far.
Burger agreed to look for a compromise. He scrutinized the experiment—which he first learned of in high school government class. His solution: Stop the process at 150 volts, the point Milgram’s participants heard the test taker plead “Get me out of here. I told you I had heart trouble. My heart’s starting to bother me … I refuse to go on. Let me out!”
Burger saw this as the point of no return. If someone continued to shock despite such a protest, it could be reasonably assumed they would carry on until the end. Indeed, nearly 80 percent of Milgram’s participants who crossed this line went all the way.
Burger spent a year in preparation and planning. In the end, the results looked a lot like Milgram’s.
Seventy percent of Burger’s participants passed the 150-volt threshold—compared to 82 percent in Milgram’s study, statistically an insignificant difference.
The results didn’t surprise Burger. Personal differences, he says, are less important than the power of the situation. In an unfamiliar setting, the participants looked to the lone authority figure and only source of information for guidance: the “scientist” who pushed them to administer gradually increasing voltages.
“It’s not that they’re bad people,” Burger says. “It’s that we put them in a situation that made it very easy for bad things to happen.”
The 2007 ABC broadcast on the experiments received a lot of attention; the announcement of the January 2009 publication of the experiment’s results in the journal American Psychologist even more so.
The waves of reporters started calling as Burger prepared a holiday meal with his in-laws in Pomona. They didn’t stop for days as newspapers, television stations, and radio shows around the world fixated on the forthcoming findings.
The New York Times ran an op-ed on Dec. 29 on Burger’s update of Milgram, advocating both be broadly taught. “The findings of these two experiments should be part of the basic training for soldiers, police officers, jailers, and anyone else whose position gives them the power to inflict abuse on others,” the piece said.
Burger hopes that greater awareness helps leaders understand that situations often dictate outcomes. In other words, it’s not enough worrying about bad apples in places like Abu Ghraib if the barrel is rotten.
Of the thousands of e-mails and calls Burger received from across the world, one stands out: an e-mail from an instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who was using Burger’s research to engage cadets in lengthy discussions about the dangers of blind obedience.
“The military leaders of the future, they’re talking about this,” Burger says. “If you’re going to have an impact, you’re going to do it being part of a dialogue that raises important questions.”
Sam Scott ’96
Environmentally sensitive menus. Low-carbon options. Sustainable seafood. Biodegradable packaging. A Market Square of food options, including Pastapalooza and Mongolian Grill. Custom-made sushi at the Mission Bakery. When it comes to food, returning alumni notice a few changes from their days as students. For that matter, current students have seen changes in the last few years, too.
Bon Appétit, the University’s onsite restaurant company, has earned kudos for sustainable practices—including a goal for each of its chefs to procure a minimum of 30 percent of their produce locally. The Bay Area’s bounty means SCU’s executive chef Mike Brinkmann usually can far exceed that goal.
“Local produce and meats are more flavorful,” Brinkmann says. And that translates into better-tasting meals—though they might cost a little more.
Using local vendors can decrease the carbon footprint, but even buying beef locally can’t erase the environmental impact exacted by the standard methods of raising and processing cattle. So a true low-carbon diet means reducing meat and dairy consumption. So there are low-carbon options, like vegetarian and vegan entrees.
Jason Landau is assistant general manager of dining services. He says that elsewhere, “Opening up a can, opening up a box is standard. We don’t do that and never have.” At SCU, the emphasis is on cooking from scratch to minimize processed foods, batch cooking to minimize waste, reducing individual packaging and, for the grab-and-go items, making containers and utensils from biodegradable cornstarch. “All these pieces are really, for university environments, cutting-edge,” Landau says.
Erin Hughes ’10 says she has noticed the efforts. “It’s what we’re moving toward, so I don’t mind spending more money to support the changes,” she says.
To help educate and offer health- and environmentally-conscious guidance, icons mark selections as low-fat, vegan, farm to fork (minimally processed, seasonal ingredients purchased from local farmers), organic (95 percent organically produced ingredients), and Seafood Watch (seafood that meets the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s guidelines for sustainable seafood). Eric Bybee ’10 says he notices, too, though if it weren’t for the signs, he wouldn’t give much thought to where lunch comes from. “Food is food,” he says.
A boxable feast
|Christmas in April: Seniors and CSA subscribers Allie Dunn, Beth Tellman, and Francesca McKenzie
Photo: Charles Barry
Where do your fruits and veggies come from? Subscribers to community supported agriculture (CSA) deliveries at SCU know the answer to that: Catalán’s Laughing Onion Farm in Hollister, which delivers boxes of organic produce to campus every other Wednesday from September through June.
Winter bounty includes licorice-scented fennel, broccoli, kale, golden beets, red cabbage, yellow onions, bunches of chard, fragrant green garlic, leaf lettuce and romaine. Spring brings bright, sweet strawberries, while summer and fall feature juicy red tomatoes and crisp cobs of corn.
The taste and variety of the produce are only part of the appeal of the CSA, says Laurie Laird ’87, associate director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and coordinator of the program. Participants are drawn by their desire to eat locally and organically, to feel a greater connection to where their food comes from, and to support the farmer. Plus, opening the box is like getting a surprise like a Christmas present, says Maggie Spicer ’07, who was a CSA member while at Santa Clara. As a student, Spicer participated in a trip to help plant tomato plants at the farm, and her senior year she compiled an e-newsletter sent by Laughing Onion Farm to each of the 14 or so distribution coordinators, with descriptions of the nutritional benefits and recipes for particular items. Spicer, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., has worked in a variety of vocational and avocational positions dealing with food and sustainability since graduating.
Farmer María Inés Catalán is a single mother and former farmworker. She started the farm 16 years ago and now runs it with her daughter, three sons, and their families.
The zero-waste goal
What happens to food—and packaging—that gets thrown away on campus?
This spring, Lindsey Cromwell ’04, sustainability coordinator in SCU’s Office of Sustainability, directed a “waste characterization”— a.k.a. a trash audit: hand-sorting the waste in the compactor behind the Benson facility to log the contents. The audit is a preliminary step to a future composting program and the eventual move to a zero-waste dining facility in which all refuse is diverted from landfills and instead recycled (cardboard packaging), reused (china and silverware), or rerouted to compost (food scraps).