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Students' sustainable dining proposals put into action

  • Sustainable Students
    Sustainable Students
    Sustainable dining proposals created by students in Shannon Chance’s Educational Planning for Environmental Sustainability course this summer have been adopted by the Mason School of Business’s Boehly Café. Pictured in the Café’s herb garden are (from left to right): Larry Smith, director of operations for dining services; Amy Sikes, higher education doctoral student; Michele Mitchell-Moffit, higher education master’s student; Matt Moss, director of dining services.
    Courtesy Photo

Dining at William & Mary is becoming more sustainable, thanks in part to ideas developed by graduate students in the William & Mary School of Education this summer.

Michele Mitchell-Moffit and Amy Sikes were enrolled in Shannon Chance’s Educational Planning for Environmental Sustainability course. One of their assignments was to create a proposal to enhance sustainability on campus.

Mitchell-Moffit, who is pursuing her master’s degree in higher education, focused on increasing sustainability at the Boehly Café in the Mason School of Business’ Miller Hall.

“Aramark, along with the College, has already done a great deal in the way of sustainable dining,” she said. “My goal was to address the concern for why there was not a reusable option in the Boehly Café and see what could be done about it. Everyone I spoke with was highly receptive to the proposal.”

The first portion of her proposal suggested providing catering clients the opportunity to use real plates and utensils instead of paper products for events involving fewer than 25 participants.

That proposal was accepted and immediately implemented by management of the café with support from Larry Smith, director of operations for dining services, and Matt Moss, director of dining services.

Mitchell-Moffit also proposed a shift from paper products to reusable bamboo plates in the café. That would require the purchase and installation of a dishwasher and the creation of collection points for the dishes. A fund-development plan was included in Mitchell-Moffit’s proposal, and the new utensils are expected to be available within the upcoming year.

In reflecting on the project, Mitchell-Moffit said, “This class encouraged me to take a look at my own sustainable practices and what could be done about the environment in my own work building.”

The project proposed by Sikes, a doctoral student in higher education, includes the creation of an entirely new sustainable café at William & Mary.

By starting fresh, Sikes was able to draft plans based on best practices in the field as well as design features that are not bounded by existing space constraints. A re-envisioning of the Campus Center may allow the opportunity to create an entirely new dining facility using part of the existing Marketplace area.

Sikes’ proposal includes elements to address the five dining priorities established by W&M students in 2012: using local food produced within a 250-mile radius of W&M; buying organic food grown and processed without synthetic chemicals; purchasing humanely treated, responsibly raised meat and seafood that considers animal welfare; supporting fair trade for food whose purchase encourages fair wages and working conditions for workers, community development, and sustainable farming practices; and buying seasonal produce acquired during its natural harvest season.

“A similar sustainable café has been greatly successful at Arizona State University,” said Sikes. “As a new leader in green dining, William & Mary should also be on the cutting edge of dining sustainably.”

Sikes’ proposal is currently under consideration with the W&M Sustainable Dining committee.

For more information on Aramark’s sustainability efforts, visit: http://www.aramark.com/SocialResponsibility/EnvironmentalStewardship/.