With a Fulbright to Spain, a Master’s Student Will Dig Deep Into Composting

Mike Stinavage (Photo courtesy of Stinavage)

Graduate Center master’s student Mike Stinavage (Political Science), a writer and environmentalist, was awarded a 2020 Fulbright Fellowship to research the legislation and implementation of organics recycling programs in Northern Spain.

Recycling organic materials such as food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste is typically managed by a centralized municipal program, as is the case in New York. In Northern Spain, which is very active in composting, the recycling programs are decentralized.

Stinavage is one of four Graduate Students to be awarded a Fulbright award this year. The program provides research and teaching awards to support two to 12 months of work in more than 125 countries. Due to the coronavirus, the Fulbright program has postponed travel until January 2021. 

The goal of Stinavage’s research and environmentalism, he says, is to “spread the gospel of composting.” He worked for two years for the New York’s Department of Sanitation, where he was the assistant enrollment coordinator for the curbside composting program. 

During his undergraduate years at the University of Michigan, he lived in student cooperative houses that participated in composting, “albeit somewhat haphazardly,” he notes. After moving to New York, he completed a six-month composting operator apprenticeship through Earth Matter NY and volunteered at GrowNYC’s food scrap drop-off at Grand Army Plaza’s Greenmarket.

His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail and Slate


Submitted on: APR 29, 2020

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