Cornell Creates Composting Toilet Facility

Cornell Outdoor Education officially dedicated its new composting bathroom facility at the Hoffman Challenge Course Saturday...

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Photos courtesy of COE
Photos courtesy of COE

By Emily Friedman via the Cornell Daily Sun, 4/14/15

Cornell Outdoor Education officially dedicated its new composting bathroom facility at the Hoffman Challenge Course Saturday.

The facility is named after David Moriah ’72, who was the first director of Cornell Outdoor Education.

Moriah, who was present at the ceremony, said it was “an honor and a treat” to be surrounded by family while Moriah Hall was dedicated.

“One of the best things that anybody said about me was that I take fun seriously and myself lightly,” Moriah said. “I thought it would be a blast to have an outhouse named after me. The fact that it actually serves a real need in terms of making a permanent facility available at the Challenge Course and that its done in an environmentally responsible way made it a winner all around.”

David Moriah Hall houses the first composting toilet at Cornell’s Ithaca Campus. With the installation of the toilet, Cornell Outdoor Education has become one of the two Cornell sites with composting facilities, along with Shoals Marine Institute’s Appledore Island.

The toilet was designed and built by Clivus Multum, Inc., a company that builds similar facilities for national and state parks around the United States, according to Marc Magnus-Sharpe, director of Cornell Outdoor Education.

According to Ellen Tohn ’81, one of the co-chairs of the Cornell Outdoor Education Advisory Board, the toilet operates using a solar-powered fan.

Tohn said she believes the new facility represents a commitment to sustainability and will serve over 1,000 people who participate in Cornell Outdoor Education programs.

“We are thrilled to advance Cornell’s sustainability mission and honor the early days of COE, a student led program started in the 1970s to teach outdoor and teamwork skills to Cornell students,” Tohn said. “Today, over 80 student leaders help run hundreds of programs ranging from rock climbing, outdoor yoga, tree climbing and stand up paddle boarding to over 4,000 students.”

Magnus-Sharpe said the organization wanted to build a bathroom facility that would match the “high quality of Cornell Outdoor Education.”

He added that Cornell Outdoor Education faced challenges in the process of building the new facility, which took approximately four years to complete.

“We went through at least a dozen different entities within Cornell to make sure that the design and construction was all in compliance and approved by Cornell facilities and Cornell architects,” Magnus-Sharpe said.

Magnus-Sharpe described the dedication ceremony as “fabulous” and “one of the best days we’ve had up there.”

“It was everything you would expect to see at a light-hearted but also proud moment,” Magnus-Sharpe said. “We know it’s only a bathroom, but we also know how important it is to go sustainable and we love being a part of every effort that can be made to do that.”

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