Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

As of today, the dining center at Lawrence Hall will be removing its trays and dimming the lights for its unprecedented green initiatives for Earth week, which date from April 21-25.According to Keshler Thibert, marketing coordinator of Aramark at WCU, the rationale behind dimming the lights would be to conserve energy. However, District Marketing Manager Bob Murphy said one incentive of removing trays is to save the three cups of water used to wash the trays after they are used.

“It’s a waste control,” Murphy said.

This began as a result of initiatives being taken at other universities affiliated with Aramark, and Murphy said it is a corporate initiative in higher education.

He said, however, that Aramark would not be attaining profits from these efforts.

Furthermore, the removal of the trays will be implemented to endorse a “greater awareness of portion size,” Dan Burns, resident district manager said, who said that students are often more likely to put more food on their trays which often goes uneaten.

“These are the little steps to bringing sustainability, conserving energy, recycling to the fore front.”

Burns said that trays would be available for students at the register area upon request.

If the elimination of trays proves to be a successful tactic, Burns, Murphy, and Thibert said that the dining services would permanently remove trays for use except for specific circumstances in which then some would be available at the register upon request.

In addition to this, Murphy said that drop-boxes will be located at Ram’s Head in Sykes Student Union for the collection of old cell phones, batteries and ink cartridges. These items, will be sent to Staples located in West Goshen.

“This is the Green thread for Aramark,” Murphy said.

The Dining services, according to Burns, has also become a member of the Environmental Council at WCU, and it has been increasing its green initiatives.

According to Burns, the dining services donates its oil from the fryers to Waste Oil Recycles, Inc. located in Modena, PA. In addition to this, Burns said cardboard and napkins are recycled.

For the week, Murphy said that a banner illustrating various pledges that students can make to become more sustainable such as habitual recycling allowing students to sign it, will be available and displayed all week at the various dining outlets on campus. Flyers on how to conserve water, energy and portion size will be displayed at the food stations in Lawrence Hall.

In fact, Burns said that Campusdish, the web site for the dining services at WCU, will offer a drop-down menu on various ways to become sustainable.

With this experiment, however, the dining services is still working on a strategy in order to measure how much energy will be conserved during Earth week, specifically on Earth Day-April 22-in comparison with other weeks throughout the semester. As of now the process would require the dining services to specifically see how much energy their activities consume daily, and then retrieve a snap-shot of two particular facets of electricity and water usage.

“The University is moving toward an overall sustainable program,” Murphy said. “We need to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The campaign’s purpose, Murphy said is to look at conserving energy in different ways.

Burns concluded, “It’s definitely an issue that’s on our minds in everything we do.”

Thibert said that as a result, the dining services will provide a carnival dining experience to convey gratitude for participation to regular eaters in late April.

Nicole Fortuna is a second-year student majoring in English with a concentration in Romance languages. She can be reached at

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