By Trevor Parus
Along with current sustainable programs at Eastern, Dining Services is interested in a program that would have “students feed students.”
Dining Services is immersed in a wide variety of projects to help students at Eastern. Dining Services is open to ideas that involve sustainability, donating excess food and helping to feed less fortunate students on campus, according to David McKay, director of Dining Services.
According to McKay, an idea that’s floating around amongst other schools is “students feeding students.”
“If you got a meal plan and you feel like you’ll have five extra meal points, you can donate those into a slush fund. … If you’re having a down-and-out time, you can come and get a meal card that might have five meals on it,” McKay said.
Fila said this program is a great idea and that this could be beneficial for future students.
“When I lived in the dorms my freshman year and had a meal plan, I know many people who probably would have used a program like this,” Fila said.
“I think it’s tough right now,” McKay said. “Keeping the leftover meal points available to students might be a great way for us to try to start on the meal waste. I think it would also pay some dividend to the students here on campus.”
Sylas Rohner, a visual communication design major, thinks that students feeding students would be a good idea.
“I think that is a very good opportunity for students to give back to the community. It seems easier for students to donate meal counts to help out students than to physically donate food,” Rohner said.
As of last spring, Dining Services has instituted a plan to compost its inedible food. McKay is hoping that composting will eventually come to the dining area rather than just being in the kitchen.
While Dining Services has implemented this plan, it still has no solution for the excess food that the program does not use. McKay said that Dining Services tries to not waste any of its food, but there is always some left over.
McKay said that in the past, they have donated excess food to local food banks but Dining Services does not set up the donations. Organizations other than Dining Services have donated food, just as student clubs have.
McKay said that Dining Services is not opposed to donating residual food but he thinks organizing donations is best left to groups other than Dining Services.
“Since we don’t want to use a lot of state resources, we’re looking for that student group to embrace this. … I think this a great place for a student organization or club to jump in,” McKay said.
Justin Fila, ASEWU student service representative, who is also the chair of the food service committee, thinks donating excess food would be a challenge.
“I, personally, think that it is a great idea, but I am not sure how feasible it would be for health reasons. If this is something that can be done, though, I would like to try to get it going and get other groups on campus involved with it,” Fila said.
Dining Services has programs such as the 20/20 project, which aims for dining services to be 20 percent sustainable by the year 2020. Sustainable means that the school produces its own food via community gardens or co-ops.
McKay said that all of dining services’ disposable silverware and plates are made from plant oils that are able to be composted. The goal is to be green and to be sustainable.
In addition, all of the fryer oil is recycled at local bio-diesel plants and eventually used as bio-fuel.
Photo by Mikayla Napier