Kyra Hanes, a third-year Social Studies/History student at Ohio Northern University, has been an active student leader in addressing the issues of food waste in America. For the past four years, she has been working with her past environmental science teacher, Ashley Dulin-Smith, and her partner, Meghan Bartsch, to acquire a Grind2Energy unit in her alma mater, Dublin Jerome High School. As a junior, she was introduced to the Legacy Project, a project designed to have students create a positive impact on their school. After learning about Grind2Energy, a company that turns food waste into usable energy, her eyes were opened by observing her lunch periods and seeing how much food is being thrown away, she knew this unit needed to be in her school. Through all of the obstacles and challenges, Kyra continued to persevere and work towards her goal. There were moments where thoughts of it ever coming to fruition dwindled, but to her surprise, the school was given a grant by the Ohio EPA to purchase a unit and implement it in her school. She has been celebrating and promoting its fruition as it was the first public school in the nation to have a Grind2Energy unit.
Four years ago, I started a project that changed my life. I was a junior at Dublin Jerome High School when my environmental science teacher introduced my class to the Legacy Project. The goal was for students to create ways to positively impact the school. My partner, Meghan Bartsch, and I were introduced to the company, Grind2Energy, which takes food waste and turns it into usable energy. We saw how much food was being wasted each day and knew we had to have the unit in our school. Throughout the year we conducted emails and phone calls with the company, conducted research, presented in front of the administration and city of Dublin our findings, and created an audit to see how much food waste our school throws away. When I graduated I thought nothing would come from our work. Now, four years later, we received a grant from the EPA and celebrated its fruition into the school back in November 2021. I am so excited to see what this unit does in our school as well as the inspiration it provides to leave the world better than when we found it.