The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Seaco Wastes a Whale

3 min read
Emily McAlpine/Bullet
Emily McAlpine/Bullet


The Ecology Club teamed up with the Dining Committee and Sodexo administrators Feb. 20 to put an environmental spin on the third annual waste survey of Seacobeck dining facilities.

It was the first of three planned waste surveys that will be held in support of the Ecology Club’s “green initiative,” a series of events and campaigns to heighten environmental awareness, according to Rose Benedict, Sodexo Marketing Manager.

Kori Koenig, Sodexo Director of Operations, said that the survey was not new, but that a different approach had been taken this year.

“The waste survey has been going on for three years, but previously it was just a measure of overall waste,” Koenig said. “The Eco Club wanted to do something for their green initiative and we decided to join forces for the survey.”

After the lunch and dinner meals, volunteers separated the leftovers on approximately 100 trays into individual bins. The seven categories for waste products were carbohydrates, meats and cheeses, vegetables, fruits, desserts, liquids, and paper products.

At lunch there was a total of 67.75 pounds of food wasted. A total of 72 pounds of food was wasted at dinner. The categories that saw the most waste were drinks and carbohydrates.

Chair of the Dining Committee Joe Buonannata said the goal of the survey was to make students aware of an environmental and financial problem.

“We really want to publicize the results of amount of food wasted and amount of money wasted on that uneaten food,” Buonannata said.

According to Benedict, there will be an education campaign the week of March 24 featuring pictures, data, and flyers concerning the issue of waste in the dining facilities.

A second survey held March 27 will see whether the campaign affected student dining choices.

Dining Committee member Rebekah Blackwell said that she hopes students will take notice of the campaign.

“We hope to discover that students are more mindful of the food they waste,” Blackwell said. “We all need to be aware of the economic and social implications of the food we waste.”

President of the Ecology Club Lauren Birney said that the point of green initiative was to provoke student thought about the environmental problem of excessive waste.

“We have to learn to be more conscientious about how much we consume, including not just food and water, but material goods as well,” Birney said.

The initiative will end during Green Week (April 7-11) with a third waste survey on April 10, Benedict said.

“During Green Week we will institute a trayless dining policy during dinners,” she said. “There will be baking sheets in the tray racks and students will place their dishes there.”

Benedict said that wasted food is not merely an environmental problem.

“We’d also like to raise awareness of the nutritional value of what people are eating,” she said. “People eat too much and don’t enjoy their food. We’re hoping to encourage students to be more thoughtful when they’re eating.”

Birney said that the money that could be saved from wasting less food could be put to a use that is better for the environment.

“In the future the Ecology Club would like to see the savings from less food waste go into purchasing organic and sustainable food options,” she said.

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