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Last year the Residence Dining Hall washed about 500,000 trays, wasting water and energy. This year, the cafeteria-style dining hall is making an effort to “go green” by getting rid of the trays.

Residence dining gets rid of trays

Last year the Residence Dining Hall washed about 500,000 trays, wasting water and energy. This year, the cafeteria-style dining hall is making an effort to “go green” by getting rid of the trays.

“The main reason we got rid of the trays was to try to cut down on food consumption and conserve energy,” Brent Hansen, marketing coordinator for University Courtyard, said.

“In just the month and a half of being tray-less we are already seeing a decrease in the amount of water we’re using,” Hansen said. “The dish crew are getting things done faster because they’re not as rushed and you don’t have the huge pileup any more.”

Joey Agundez, a 20-year-old junior at Fresno State, is going on his third year of living on campus and eating at the dining hall.

“I like the fact that they’re not using trays any more because it cuts back on the amounts of food people eat,” Agundez said. “But at the same time we end up having to go back and forth for food.”

But Agundez stressed that students want bang for their buck.

“The dining hall is getting cheap,” Agundez said. “ We’re paying all this money for the dorms and the university and we go into the dining hall where there’s no trays and sometimes paper plates.”

“I think the reason a lot of people are complaining is because they haven’t adapted yet,” Agundez said.
“I think once everyone has adapted to it things will be fine.”

Eco-friendly products gain wider use

Taking away the trays is not the only thing the dining hall has done to “go green.” The dining hall has also started using eco-friendly products at all of its catering events.

“They are 100-percent biodegradable, and we’re composting them,” Hansen said. “Plates, napkins, utensils, etc. At the end of the event we are able to bag them up and take them to the university farm, the compost pile.

“We also have eco-friendly products in the Bucket and we have various products in other operations. Catering and the Bucket are completely green.”

Hansen said that the topic of “going green” had been discussed for a few years but that up until a year ago it had been really hard to purchase eco-friendly products.

“Back in March, there was an article in, I believe, the [Fresno] Bee, about UC Merced talking about how they are going green,” Hansen said. “[UC Merced] is less than five years old and we’re 100 years old and they are beating us to the punch. That helped as a catalyst to get us going.”

Hansen said that they are going to ree-valuate things at the end of the school year to see if they are going to keep the trays out of the dining hall.