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January 27, 2009 11:50 am

Trays Taken Out of the Great Room

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After a semester of Trayless Tuesdays (and, eventually, Trayless Thursdays), the Great Room is now completely trayless.  As of this semester, trays will only be available to students upon request.

The Sustainability Committee and Bon Appetit decided to move forward after receiving the results of the Trayless Dining Opinion Survey, which was sent out to students late last semester.

Before the survey was sent out, “We had been getting a lot of negative emails,” said Sustainability Fellow Rachel Clement.  The survey was composed to get a more representative sample of the thoughts of the student body.

The survey, which was sent out during the second week of December 2008, showed mostly positive feedback.  “Two-thirds of the people who took the survey were willing to pay the small price of going trayless,” said Christophe Bornand, the Sustainability Coordinator.

The survey’s results showed that although only 48.5 percent of respondents initially thought that going trayless was a good idea, 70.3 percent thought that the environmental and economic benefits of going trayless seemed worth the change.  67.9 percent thought that they would become more comfortable with trayless dining over time.

“A lot of colleges are going trayless because it saves a lot of energy, money, food and labor costs,” said Clement.  A study conducted by the Sustainability Committee concluded that going trayless would reduce food waste by 30 percent.

Not wasting as much means not buying as much, said George McClusick, Bon Appetit’s general manager at St. Mary’s.  Going trayless will have environmental and economic benefits.  “Our company is very into sustainability.  We strive to do these initiatives,” he said.

Although most comments are positive, there has been some negative feedback.

“I think it’s one of those things that will take time and eventually people will forget they even were offered,” said Clement.

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