Denise M. Polk Ph.D.


denise polk tedx westchester



Denise Polk is a professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at West Chester University with a Ph.D. from Kent State University.

Her teaching and research areas consist of sustainability, close interpersonal relationships, integrating work and family, and conflict resolution.

She is a member of the West Chester Borough Council, representing Ward 7 and serves on West Chester University’s Sustainability Advisory Council.

Denise has earned funding from the Environmental Protection Agency for West Chester University to collaborate with the Borough of West Chester to conduct two food scraps pilot programs. To date, the programs have diverted over 400 tons of food scraps from going into the landfill, instead, turning it into compost, a valuable soil amendment.

Having a long-standing belief in sustainable living, Denise’s home has a photovoltaic solar array for electricity, solar hot water system, and multiple rain barrels. She spends her spare in her intensive organic vegetable garden (on a property of less than one-tenth of an acre, which a friend affectionately named Deeden), tending her apiary, hanging out with her “lovely ladies” (a flock of three hens), and turning her compost pile. She takes great pleasure in cooking and home canning, making natural soap, lip balm, body lotion and other personal care products (using her own beeswax and honey), and re-purposing discarded items.


Treasure, not Trash: Composting and Food Recovery is Good for Communities

Referencing the sustainable initiatives currently in progress, Denise will discuss how and why composting and food recovery makes all the difference in local communities and society as a whole.