The Student Association (SA) has developed a trial run of reusable to-go boxes in the cafeteria.
The trial, consisting of 75 participants, will last until the end of the semester, or whenever the reusable boxes run out.
Freshman representative Maci Pike is head of the SA Food Committee and has been working with Aramark to get the project started.
“I’ve been drawn to this project because I try to be low waste,” Pike said. “We are trying to find a way to continue the project and to ultimately have this as a permanent thing.”
The project was developed after the SA art competition, an initiative using recyclable waste to create a mural on campus to promote recycling. The to-go boxes are another way the SA is showing environmental awareness on campus.
“We wanted to make environmental awareness something of an issue this year,” senior SA Treasurer Curt Baker said. “That’s been a big push lately, as we enter the final stages of the design competition. We are now rolling out the trial of reusable to go boxes.”
Lou Christopher, general manager for Aramark, has worked with the Food Committee to bring reusable to-go boxes to the cafeteria.
“Sustainability has come up as an issue of growing importance in the Harding community,” Christopher said. “When we discussed different programs that were being utilized at other universities, the idea of using reusable to-go boxes was well received.”
According to Christopher, the project gave them the opportunity to reduce the amount of produce that is often produced on campus.
“We average about 2,500 to-go lunches a week,” Christopher said. “Using reusable to-go containers could make a significant impact in lowering the amount of trash created from to-go containers.”
Both the Food Committee and Aramark are hoping to complete the trial for the remainder of the spring semester and will offer both styrofoam and reusable boxes.
“In our brainstorming, we wanted something tangible, recognizable and immediately impactful,” Baker said. “We think the boxes will accomplish all three. We use a staggering amount of styrofoam boxes every day. Transitioning to reusable ones is not only responsible but recognizable as a shift.”
Baker said he hopes the boxes accomplish two things: fostering an eco-friendlier environment on campus and student body that is as environmentally aware as they can be.