Can you help me with work-life balance and where can I compost organics on campus?

Date: February 2018



I’ve never really built work-life balance schedules before but now that I’m starting a Ph.D. program, I feel a pressing need to do so in order to be as productive as possible without destroying my mental and physical health. I’ve never been really good at creating reasonable, balanced schedules that I can keep and I’ve always been great at overdoing, overworking, and feeling anxious and overwhelmed, so I was wondering if there is anywhere I can ask for help for this, mentoring on building an appropriate schedule or so.

Also, is there anywhere on campus to compost organics? As far as we know, Hasbrouck community does not have compost bins so we do not know what to do with our organic trash.

Thank you for the help!


New Ph.D. Student in Hasbrouck


Dear New Ph.D. Student in Hasbrouck,

Thank you for your Ask a Dean questions! Assistant Dean Janna Lamey will respond to your first question about work-life balance, an important topic for being a successful Ph.D. student, so it’s great that you are attending to those needs.

Regarding your question about composting organics, especially in proximity to the Hasbrouck community, I contacted Kimberly Anderson ( who is Cornell’s Sustainability Engagement Manager. She replied that the Hasbrouck community piloted an on-site composting system a few years ago, but for various reasons it didn’t work out so they decided to discontinue the program.

However, this semester Kim’s office is starting a North Campus composting program for undergraduate residence halls, and she is interested in exploring whether that initiative could be extended to include Hasbrouck if one or more students at Hasbrouck are interested in assisting with the program as peer-educators. If you are interested in helping with this, please email Kim directly. She would like to hear your ideas and set up a meeting with interested students and Cornell’s campus composting partners (R5 – Respect Rethink Reduce Reuse Recycle) to discuss options and work to launch another composting pilot in Hasbrouck. Based on prior experiences, she believes student engagement is needed to help plan and implement the composting program to foster success.

Kim also indicated that the national RecycleMania competition runs from 2/4-3/31, and piloting a new compost program in Hasbrouck would be a great addition to Cornell’s engagement plans for the competition this year.

I hope this information is helpful, and I encourage you to pursue your composting and sustainability interests. Regarding your first question about work-life balance, I’ve done quite a lot of volunteering throughout my adult life, with community, spiritual, professional, and scientific organizations. I have found those experiences to help provide that balance and sense of giving back to others, which has been personally rewarding for me.

Warm regards,


Barbara A. Knuth
Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School