During a time of budget cuts and continued calls for efficient spending on the part of the College, losing thousands of dollars in missing plates scattered around campus seems wasteful and unnecessary. The e-mail sent out by College Council (CC) on Sunday brought to the forefront a commonly glossed-over aspect of campus culture: students’ tendency to take plates, cups and silverware from the dining halls without returning them. Though seemingly benign, this commonplace habit has become a source of financial strain and drain on efficiency for Dining Services, as well as a marker of disrespect on behalf of the student body as a whole.
As mentioned in CC’s email, the cost of replacing the missing dishware has risen to over $12,000. Putting a little more consideration into returning plates is an easy, simple fix to a cost that, while it may only be a drop in the bucket, is unnecessary when the College is already concerned about finances. As the problems associated with missing plates have now been clearly explained via both e-mails and posters – a commendable first step on the part of Dining Services and CC to inform those responsible – there is no longer any excuse for students not to become part of the solution.
Furthermore, failing to return dirty dishes to dining halls is an indication of a larger issue within our campus culture: lack of respect. Dining Services employees cannot do their jobs properly or efficiently if they have to worry around a shortage of plates, and it is not the duty of custodians to clean up students’ misplaced dirty dishes scattered around campus. As a greater community, respecting College funds and resources is an important principle to keep in mind: Students’ negligence in returning plates demonstrates a lack of respect not only for College staff but also for their fellow students, who would certainly benefit from more productive spending of these lost funds. The idea of respect – for our campus and our community – is not difficult to understand, and students are certainly capable of realizing this ideal.
From misusing campus funds to highlighting an unfortunate component of campus culture as it currently stands, the consequences of not returning our dishes far outweigh the benefits of not making the five-minute walk to drop them off. Going forward, we hope that students will make this small effort to demonstrate more consideration for the campus community at large.