Dining Hall leads sustainability effort

Meera Rao, Campus News Reporter

Sustainability at Kent is of the utmost importance to preserve natural resources and promote an ecological balance. Over the years, the dining hall has made impactful modifications in the meal preparation process in order to protect Kent’s beautiful environment. The fryer oil has been converted into biodiesel, the recycling process is better than ever, and a change from the usage of plastic and styrofoam to paper has been incorporated as well.

The recently implemented composting system used by the dining hall is thriving, as Mrs. Sokolnicki has connected with a local farmer, who takes a significant portion of Kent’s food waste for use in pork rearing. What is left, generally vegetable waste, is also being repurposed through the maintenance department. 

Although the change to recyclable disposables is a positive alteration for the environment, transferring from plastic and styrofoam to paper was a tough economic decision. According to Mr. Hudson, head of the dining hall, “Every dollar we spend on paper disposables we cannot spend on other resources. It was a whopping six thousand dollar decision to change from styrofoam to paper.” 

So what can Kent students do to help? “Making the choice to do the right thing,” says Mr. Hudson. Committing to being aware of your everyday actions, and how they affect the world around you, is paramount. Only then can the community make real changes. In practical terms, that means not taking more than what you will eat just because it is convenient, not throwing away reusables, and not using disposables unless you absolutely have to. If you’re eating in the dining hall, treat your dishes with courtesy and care. “Take the extra minute to insure the reusables get washed instead of getting disposed of,” said Mr. Hudson. 

In the future, Mr. Hudson and the entire dining hall department “looks forward to more student commitment and engagement” as they roll out more changes in the future.