“They aren’t doing anything!”
A common cry from students about Boxer Dining when discussing the Real Food on Campus dining program. Pacific students are faced with a challenging amount of bad news about industrial food systems – from class, friends, independent research – and not a lot of good news about what is being done, even on their own campus.
So what is happening in our campus dining program? More than you might expect!
As a freshman in 2008, I recall the Bistro didn’t have a natural food shelf or any bulk food. It sold bottled water. Having a fruit stand and a water bottle filling station was new; vegetarian options were few and far between; purchasing from B Street Farm was virtually impossible. I watched as over-catered events dumped precious food into the landfill. Attempting to eat seasonally limited me to bread and squash. Changes students hoped for seemed so slow they weren’t happening at all.
However, today, I see seemingly “slow” changes making big differences as local and organic food purchases increase every year. The RFoC will buy anything B Street has to sell. Sustainability internships offer time and energy to researching possible efforts. Excess food is donated and scrap food is composted. Non-chemical sanitation using ionized water is on the rise. Boxer Dining maintains a highly constructive energy in its efforts to continue making progress. They are open to suggestions and are eager to figure out ways to make sustainable ideas possible.
Boxer Dining works with the Green Thread Initiative, which focuses its efforts on sustainable food, green buildings, waste management, responsible procurement, energy and water conservation and limiting transportation. These efforts are not just an off-to-the-side extracurricular idea. According to our corporate level Boxer Dining moto, “We call these programs and policies Green Thread as they weave throughout our business operations every day!”
How do we keep up with all of this stuff? Boxer Dining has created a Sustainability Board, currently rolling around the U.C. with rotating information so you can learn about how much food has been donated, partnerships with local farmers, current efforts, news, updates, weekly questionnaires and opportunities for feedback and involvement.
There are always ways to improve and your well-articulated, constructive feedback is welcome! Many ideas take multiple hands to work on, so your help is valuable in implementing solutions. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As the current sustainability intern, I’m here to help research lasting solutions for Boxer Dining and support Boxer Dining’s enduring commitment to furthering sustainability initiatives.