Sewanee

Sewanee Bonner Making Haste with Waste

Sewanee Bonner Making Haste with Waste

While you might get squeamish at the thought of maggots working their way through a mountain of discarded food waste, Chris Hornsby, C’19, has spent four years studying the process, and he’s here to tell you that it’s more appealing than abhorrent, more captivating than creepy, more engrossing than gross.

With a background in engineering and environmental studies, Hornsby has been working with the University Farm to develop an innovative composting prototype that has the potential to change the landscape of waste-management systems far beyond the Mountain. And he hopes to make the work of his maggots—specifically black soldier fly larvae—as approachable and actionable as recycling currently is.

“I know I have a bias because of my work, but I think they’re one of the cutest bugs I’ve ever come across,” Hornsby says. “They’re really intriguing creatures.”

Black soldier fly larvae have been at the forefront of Hornsby’s work since he arrived on campus. As a freshman, he applied to the Bonner Leader program, a four-year leadership and community service internship program. In addition to taking a series of skill-building workshops, “Bonners,” as the student program participants are known on campus, are partnered with community service organizations to increase the organizations’ capacity to do their work. Having recently developed an interest in agriculture, Hornsby chose to work with the University Farm, part of the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability.

Sewanee Bonner is "Opening the Scope of Masculinity" for High Schoolers

Sewanee Bonner is "Opening the Scope of Masculinity" for High Schoolers

For the last two years, Davis and his fellow Sewanee student leaders have gathered groups of boys at Grundy County High twice a week for this program, which they named “Man Up.” Davis is a Bonner Leader, a participant in a service internship and leadership program that sends students into Sewanee and neighboring communities to serve in a variety of ways. Davis and other Bonner Leaders founded the Man Up program in 2014 after talking to another Bonner Leader who had started a regular women’s empowerment luncheon at GCHS and thought the boys in the school could use a program made just for them.