My service learning project focused on the amount of food waste in Martin Methodist College’s dining hall. The goal of this service learning project was to highlight for students how food waste is very significant at Martin Methodist College. It was part of my first course as a sustainability minor, the introduction to sustainability. With my educational background being in Business Administration, I thought food waste management would incorporate my major and minor to highlight the interdisciplinary aspect of environmental concerns.
When it comes to sustainability, everyone needs to take part of improving the planet’s health. There are so many ways where people can contribute to the success of not destroying biodiversity loss, decreasing public health concerns, and increasing awareness to people about the effects of the failure of protecting our environment. The one thing I want people to realize about sustainability is the interdisciplinary aspect of the subject. Sustainability is not just for scientist, but for the business minded, historians, and many more. When I began my journey with having a sustainability minor, it was to educate those in low income families about the importance of conservation and recycling. It was not until taking the Introduction to Sustainability course that I realized that sustainability was so much more.
The project was a two-week trial in the dining hall with the help of my co-workers in the dish room. We separated food waste away from miscellaneous items (i.e. napkins, drinks, etc.). Then, after lunch was finished, we would weigh the total amount of remaining waste. The Metz employees were shocked to see how much food was wasted. We recorded the amount each day for five days. On Tuesday, December 6th, we placed the food in clear containers and presented them to the students to highlight just how much food is thrown away
After collecting the data for an entire week, I realized that Martin Methodist trashes 250 lbs. of food with lunch alone. With the correct calculations,the food waste could have fed close to 400 students. It was mind-blowing to see that much food waste; sandwiches that had not even been touched.
My hopes for Martin Methodist College is to realize that food waste is a problem in the dining hall. This school is amazing and gradually becoming a sustainable campus. I do not want the dining hall to be left out on the environmental impact conversation. We must become aware of sustainability opportunities at the school in all aspects. I hope that Martin Methodist will continue to build the bridge of communication with the dining hall to further promote reducing the amount of food waste.
This service learning project was a great revelation to express to students not to waste their food. It also showed the Metz employees how to manage portion sizes and to offer food sampling options as a way to help lessen food waste. With this service learning project, my general manager, Tom Munger, has decided to calculate the amount of food wasted over the entire Spring 2017 semester. It is amazing to know that this project has sparked conversation, as well as action, and will continue in future months.
-Written by Keilyn Jones, Senior.