Last week, the Dining Committee presented plans for The No Environmental Impact Program to College Council (CC). Abby Belcrest ’16, student chair of the dining committee, explained that Bob Volpi, director of dining services and Gayle Donohue, assistant director of student dining, are the “leading minds behind the project.” The goal of the program is to collect 750 pounds of plates, forks, knives, bowls, cups, carryout containers and pagers, valued at $4000. The program will span from May 21 to May 29.
“Unfortunately this number is only a small fraction of the total cost of dining ware lost during the 2013-14 school year and summer, but the [dining] staff hoped to start the program with a goal that was challenging yet attainable,” Belcrest said.
The Dining Committee said that the replacement cost of service ware from July 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014 was $29,375: $21,274 on plates, silverware, and cups; $6845 on take-out containers, and $1256 on pagers.
Volpi said that reducing environmental impact has been an important goal for Dining Services over the past several years: “For example we eliminated all cans and bottles at large outside events. Now we use reusable service ware. That is why it is important for people to bring back items.”
Dining Services and Facilities are teaming up to execute the No Environmental Impact Program. Bob Wright, executive director of facilities management, explained that Facilities is getting pods by Connors Bros. to collect the various items. Facilities will place seven pods across campus in Berkshire and Greylock quads, Morgan, Spencer, Mission Park and Dodd Complex.
“I have high hopes for this program because it really makes move-out incredibly efficient,” Belcrest said. “As students move their furniture and clothes into storage bins, dishes can be easily dropped off, without the hassle of walking to the nearest dining hall.”
The committee has asked for CC’s support for the pods and the purchase of 500 takeout containers in addition to future commitment for the program.
Wright said that reaching out to CC is very important for the success of the No Environmental Impact Program, in order “not to lose momentum and to decide the best way to enforce [the program].”
“Not all of the residential halls have a permanent returnable station, so a ton of dining ware ends up in rooms and common areas…” Belcrest said. “Next year, we’re hoping to establish permanent return stations in each residential hall with the help of College Council. We have also discussed distributing small bins in each entry.”
“College Council has yet to vote on any particular request, but we’re really excited that Dining Services has reached out to us for our help, and hope to do whatever we can to reduce the number of dishes that find their way out of the dining halls,” Emily Dzieciatko ’15 and Erica Moszkowski ’15, CC co-presidents, said.
To promote the return of dining ware Volpi said that there are already nine diningware return stations located in the new library from which items will be collected daily.
“The key is working with students to make it happen,” Wright said. Volpi adds that the Williams community must do “whatever we can to recycle. Let’s raise the bar and do our best at it.”