Suffolk students satisfied their appetite for a more sustainable community by volunteering as Zero-Waste Ambassadors at the Boston Local Food Festival on Oct. 1.

Later they gave some muscle to an effort to curb an invasive plant threatenting to take over Franklin Park

Saving the world one compost bin at a time

Despite threatening skies, more than 20 students recruited by the S.O.U.L.S. Community Service and Service Learning Center showed up to help the Boston Local Food Festival's waste-reduction effort by educating the crowd and overseeing the proper disposal of waste products.

"I was really encouraged by people's curiosity about what we were doing as volunteers, and I hope that they took something away from questioning what we threw in the garbage versus what we recycle and compost." said student Kaela Gallo.

With the help of the Zero-Waste Ambassadors, 86 percent of all waste was diverted. Festival organizers reported that 3,600 pounds of compost and 1,820 pounds of recyclables outweighed the 900 pounds of waste from the event.

Gallo said that student efforts encompassed the message of S.O.U.L.S. by providing "a public forum for discussion and discovery of a more local, sustainable and small-business-based lifestyle."

Battling an invasive species at Franklin Park

Student volunteers joined the Franklin Park Coalition on Oct. 8 to fight a tough battle against a natural enemy -- buckthorn -- an invasive species that competes with native plants for nutrients, light and moisture and degrades wildlife habitat. Volunteers were armed with weed pullers as they worked to eradicate the species from the Franklin Park battlefield.

S.O.U.L.S. Project Leader Thay Thao said the fight with buckthorn was anything but easy. " It was so thick; we couldn't see five feet in front of us. It was hard work ... but at the end of the day, everyone had fun.”