Maya Gaul’s fond memories of Northeastern’s Boston campus stretch all the way back to childhood. She recalls playing tennis at Carter Field, grabbing snacks at the Curry Student Center, and meeting up with her mother who worked at the nearby Carter School.
Now Gaul is happy to be back on the 67-acre campus in another role, working with a neighborhood-focused composting company recently tasked with expanding Northeastern’s earth-friendly food waste program.
Maya Gaul, sales team leader at CERO Cooperative, poses for a portrait outside International Village. Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
“Whenever we can take advantage of a local company, we want to do that,” says Malone.
“We want to make sure the university has good, strong competitive pricing and successful partnerships with local companies,” he says.
Josefina Luna, a Dorchester resident, helped start CERO with her neighbors nearly a decade ago. On a recent Tuesday morning she, Gaul and another CERO employee arrived outside International Village residence hall before sunrise to help pick up waste. Luna quickly eyed the material that had been disposed of in each bin, wiped the bins down after they were emptied, and replaced the compostable bag inside.
Josefina Luna, one of CERO Cooperative founders, collects food waste outside International Village. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
Knowing what’s acceptable for compost collection is a skill that takes practice. Anytime CERO begins collecting compost at a new location, Luna and others at CERO train the employees at that location to ensure they throw only compostable materials into the bins.
“Some places take a long time to train, some places take a short time,” says Luna, adding that Northeastern’s employees did “pretty good.”