By Madison Edwards
Starting in the Charles White Dining Hall, Harding University is making changes toward an eco-friendlier campus this school year.
These trends began in 2017 when former Student Association Freshman Representative and Chair of the Food Committee, Maci Pike, coordinated with Aramark, the company in charge of dining services on campus, to become more sustainable and to communicate their procedure for a greener campus.
“As Christians, it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the resources we have been blessed with,” Pike said. “Harding is a campus consisting of people from all over the country and the world. When we educate people on their impact, we can make noticeable changes in society.”
The cafeteria will implement new procedures controlling how much they waste, encouraging students not to take more than they will eat, to use re-usable to-go boxes and to eliminate use of straws and other single-use products.
Senior Hallie Hite is the current Student Association president.
“Having an eco-friendly campus is important because God gave us a mission to take care of the earth,” Hite said. “Taking care of the earth is one way we can be conscious of everyone on the planet and love people more affectively — even people we don’t know.”
This year, there will be reusable to-go boxes in the cafeteria, recycling will be highly encouraged and the number of recycle bins around campus will increase. The SA will implement public relations tactics to help transition people into the recycling mindset, and more research regarding food waste will be conducted.
Lou Christopher, senior food service director for Aramark at Harding, is responsible for the daily operation of all the food service locations on campus, including the dining hall, all retail locations and the catering department.
“We are currently utilizing many different programs to become eco-friendlier,” Christopher said. “For instance, we recycle all boxes, cans and bottles. All of our food waste goes through a garbage disposal rather than a landfill, and we have a rigorous production program to help minimize waste. Each semester we do a Weigh the Waste campaign to help bring awareness to the amount of food that is wasted each day. We are bringing back the re-usable to-go boxes this year and eliminating straws from our residential program.”
According to Christopher, there will be no straws in the cafeteria this year compared to the 22,000 straws the cafeteria would use each semester in the past.
“Aramark serves over 20,000 meals a week in the dining hall,” Christopher said. “With that type of volume, we have an opportunity to make a significant impact with any program we implement. We are always looking for programs to be better environmental stewards, without impacting the cost to our guests while providing a more sustainable experience for both students and guests.”