Huden frog urges waste reduction

Walking into Huden Dining Hall over the years, students have seen clubs with informational tables set up, surveys to fill out and even contests to win prizes.

On April 9, however, there was a frog greeting everyone coming in for lunch.

Adam Mitchell is a junior and serves as the Eco Rep student coordinator. He is very active on all the green initiative projects that happen on campus.

“I wanted to do something green. With COVID, lots of practices have been put on hold for sanitary reasons,” he said.

Mitchell was holding the promotional flyer for the “Huden Dining Hall Reduce Food Waste Competition,” which is a collaboration between Sodexo and the Green Campus Working Group, according to the flyer.

Sodexo is the food provider for the dining hall and is offering special incentives in return for a reduction of the food that is wasted from March 29 through April 16.

On Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, the students will receive a chicken and steak BBQ as a reward for a 20% reduction.

Rachel Sayward was in the dining hall the “Friyay” afternoon that Mitchell was dressed up.

“I think it is a very worthy goal to reduce our waste since sometimes people take too much,” she said. “Using humor and costumes to convey important messages is fun.”

According to Rob Macfarlane, general manager at the dining hall, the students at Castleton are wasting an average of about two ounces of food every meal, which roughly equates to 25 cents per person per meal.

“During a normal year, we are doing about 10,000 meals a week and we are here for 32 weeks,” he said as he crunched the numbers. “That’s about 40,000 pounds of food that is going to waste.”

The dining hall has a set budget for the year, so the food students waste is money coming out of that budget. If there is less waste then there is potential for more of the budget to go toward holiday prime rib dinners or to a wing night or steak night, Macfarlane said.

According to professor Andy Vermilyea, the Green Campus Working Group has a lot of plans this spring. Currently members are conducting an Electricity Competition to reduce the electricity usage in the residential halls. The group will also be partaking in the town’s “Green-Up Day” on May 1, by picking up garbage on the rail trail.

The goal of all the competitions is to get into a habit of making green choices and maybe even make some lifestyle changes in the process.

“Hopefully it becomes a part of the culture. It won’t get down to zero but doing our best is the goal,” Vermilyea said.

Macfarlane and Vermilyea say that if they could change anything about the Food Waste Competition, it would be to educate the students more while also promoting personal accountability.

“Having the green frog here was huge,” Macfarlane said.

The frog was chosen since it has been coined as the mascot for the Green Campus Working Group.

James Wolfe was just finishing his lunch in the dining hall with Sayward while Mitchell was greeting students in his costume at the door.

“I think It is important during COVID times to partake in community events. We are all wasting the food as a whole not individually. We should work together to conquer these goals,” Wolfe said.

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