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EAC measures waste in SMC dining hall

Mandi Stirone | Thursday, February 5, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, Saint Mary’s College Environmental Action Coalition collected the wasted food from 856 people during lunch in the Saint Mary’s Dining Hall. The second “Weigh Your Waste” event amassed a grand total of 267 3/4 pounds, said Gwen O’Brien, Director of Media Relations.

That equals out to about .31 pounds per person, down .01 from last February’s “Weigh Your Waste” which amassed a total of 226 pounds for 708 people, equaling about .32 pounds per person.

During lunch hours in the Dining Hall, four student volunteers along with Dr. Doris Watt and some members of the Dining Hall staff, collected food that students hadn’t eaten, member Monica Aguirre said.

“We just decided we wanted to do it again,” she said, referring to last year’s “Weigh Your Waste” event.

“I just think people need to be aware about how much food they’re not eating,” member, Jamie Thordsen said.

Aguirre also said the event was about awareness, and added that it was an attempt to convince students to change their habits.

“Especially for today but even more after this type of thing, I notice. … hopefully people will too, especially people who try to hide their food,” she said.

Something the volunteers noticed was the effect their presence had on students, volunteer, Claire Easby-Smith said.

“We’ve gotten bananas and apples [that haven’t been eaten],” she said, adding that they’ve also found unopened packets of crackers on some trays that students were just throwing away.

But regardless of how they react, the important thing is that students are taking notice, Easby-Smith said.

“They see what we’re trying to do, others find it disgusting,” she said.

Some students, after dropping off their trays, said they think part of the waste problem is a lack of variety in the Dining Hall.

“Well, I do think it’s really sad how much food we waste…I do think the Dining Hall sucks. We had Spanish rice ten times within the past seven days,” junior Anastasia Wilson said. “Regardless of whether we like it or not, it’s sad that people are starving elsewhere.”

Fellow junior, Megan Sotak agreed with her, adding that sometimes people forget how lucky they are.

“It’s easy to take it for granted,” she said.

Another student, sophomore Liz Cress, pointed out that she didn’t know how much students wasted until she saw it all in the buckets the environmental group was using to hold the wasted food in.

“I think it’s a good idea,” she said, “I never realized how people don’t recycle.”