Winning hall will donate funds to United Way Foundation

Reporter and Reporter

The Oaks and Carillon Place dining halls’ buffet-style eating can tempt students to eat with their eyes, not their appetite, leading to a lot of wasted food.

In the past few years, Project Clean Plate has challenged the two buffet dining halls to reduce their wasted food, said Sara Meyer, marketing director for Dining Services.

“The project originated with Chartwells and the desire to become more aware of our actions, reduce waste and improve our community in the process,” Meyer said.

Freshman Adam Bernard said he notices some students don’t think of the food they waste when they pile their plates full of food.

“I have always followed the one plate rule,” Bernard said. “I get a plate of food and if I want more, I will go up for a second time. I won’t go up and get 10 plates worth of food like I see some people do.”

Students may have a hard time limiting themselves to a “one plate rule,” which influenced the organizers of Project Clean Plate to introduce a new aspect of the project — education on portion sizes.

Daria Blachowski-Dryer, a registered dietitian, manages the initiative.

Blacho will visit the Oaks, Carillon Place and Kreischer Sundial with a “wheel of portion” and prizes for students, Meyer said.

While The Oaks was the official winner of the contest last year, both dining halls cut down on waste, she said.

The Oaks decreased per-person waste by .029 pounds and 195 pounds overall. Carillon Place decreased waste by .017 pounds per-person and 120 pounds overall during peak lunch and dinner times.

Combined, the all-you-care-to-eat facilities saved 315 pounds of waste during this week and saved .023 pounds per person, Meyer said.

“If the students, faculty, staff and patrons continue at this current achievement, four tons of waste could be saved per semester, which is eight tons per academic year,” she said.

Less food going to waste in the dining halls is a good way to show appreciation for the students and staff that help prepare the food, said Magdy AbouZied, general manager of The Oaks.

“The staff works really hard to cook that food every day and you never wants to see that hard work go to waste,” AbouZied said. “I love food: to buy, to cook, to serve but never to waste.”

He said cutting down on wasted food is an even greater concern with the knowledge that millions of people go without food around the world.

“Somebody is hungry somewhere out in the world and you see much food is getting wasted,” AbouZied said. “It kills you to see that. A person can fit about two pounds of food in their stomach and we were wasting up to about 200 pounds a day. That is 100 people that we could feed that really need it.”

The efforts of the project go past the direct problem of cutting down on food waste and contribute to the community in larger ways. A monetary donation will be made to the United Way Foundation in the winning dining hall’s name, Meyer said.

“With the significant waste savings during the week of Nov. 7, BGSU Dining was able to donate $1,000 toward the United Way Foundation in the name of the BGSU Dining students, faculty, staff and patrons,“ Meyer said.

The success of the program shows recognizing a problem is one of the best solutions, Meyer said.

“Sometimes students just need to be reminded of the impact that wastefulness has on more than just the dining program,“ she said. “It affects their community and their world.”