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Picture this . . .

| Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It’s 1:43 . . . about six minutes and 42 seconds are all that stand between you and an angry physics professor . . . and you haven’t eaten. Your only options seem to be to starve or fail the physics lab. Luckily, you remember Grab ‘n Go and you go on to enjoy a PB&J while excelling in advanced astrophysics.

Grab ‘n Go offers students a fantastic service. You’re busy, the University gets that, so they make available this awesome food option.  Unfortunately, I, your green reality check, am here to tell you that you’re taking advantage of their hospitality.  I’m talking to you, Mr. ham-sandwich-sitting-on-your-futon. Grab ‘n Go is for students in a rush, not to replace the dining halls.

As MGMT says, “Control yourself, take only what you neeeeeeed.” Seven points might not feel like enough when you’re back from a 2 p.m. exam and need comfort food, but it’s actually a lot of food. If you’re just hungry for a sandwich, don’t feel like you have to get two. It’s never fun to find a 14-day-old banana hidden in a bag on your desk. Monkeys everywhere will mourn its loss.

On an average day, 1,400 students use Grab ‘n Go, and my good friends at the California Energy Commission tell me that one tree can produce up to 700 paper bags. That means, if every student going through Grab ‘n Go put their food in a paper bag, we would consume two trees every day!  Imagine a world in which everyone put their food directly in their backpack. Not only does this world liberate hands everywhere from the oppression of paper bags, but it’s also a world in which we save over 300 trees a year.

Bags aren’t the only waste associated with Grab ‘n Go. Grab ‘n Go has to package everything separately, and this makes it more difficult to minimize your footprint. Dumping an unpackaged PB&J in your book bag is a bad idea. We’re talking “Jack and Jill” starring Adam Sandler and Adam Sandler bad. Personally, I do my best by getting a banana instead of chips. This might seem like a sacrifice to the Triple Cheese Vintners lovers out there, but I like to think of it as an upgrade. Plus, bananas fit so conveniently in the hand.

The final step to minimize your G&G footprint is to minimize your use of it.  Think about your local license bureau. I know you don’t make casual trips there just to hang out. No, you avoid it like the plague unless it’s your 16th or 21st birthday!  The University doesn’t want you grabbing ‘n going every day either.  According to Marc Poklinkowski, general manager of South Dining Hall, “students having meals together in the dining hall is an important part of their experience at Notre Dame.”

Grab ‘n Go has always been viewed as an alternative for students to use when necessary, not as a meal replacement.” So go be social! Only two percent of students Grab ‘n Go for dinner. So, if you decide to skip out on the dining hall, chances are you’re going to miss out on that cute guy or gal that always eats at 5:43. Who knows? You might even find me in the dining hall, especially on eggplant parmesan days, unless, of course, it’s a sunny day and I can photosynthesize.


The GreenMan


Email your predicaments to The GreenMan at [email protected] and let him answer you with a sustainable twist. The GreenMan will be here every other week to provide you with insights you never knew you were missing out on until now.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.