By Hannah Jaenicke
Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) and Dining Center (DC) announced new environmentally friendly initiatives last week.
The CPGC’s changes, which include using more locally sourced food and recyclable utensils, are part of a larger initiative to go greener. They include tentative plans to carbon-offset students’ flights to their internships through collaboration with the Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER).
“We have an interest as part of our mission to expose the Haverford community to key global issues,” Parker Snowe, the CPGC’s Executive Director, said. “For us, having a cafe and making it more sustainable in terms of its practice goes right along with our mission.”
All events that take place at the CPGC, even those it does not sponsor or cater, have to comply by the new initiative’s rules of composting food waste and using recyclable utensils, plates, and cups.
The CER and CPGC have been in close cooperation for more than a year, working on composting plans, increasing the availability of recyclable plastics, and making the cafe more sustainable.
Isobel Grad ‘11, who works in the CPGC cafe, said that workers had been talking about composting food waste for a long time, but that little had come about until recently when the CER and CPGC set the current system up.
Claudia Kent, Manager of Grounds, said that the composted food waste from both the CPGC and the DC is used on the Nature Trail, in staff and faculty’s gardens, and elsewhere on campus.
“We are using everything that we are making, which is a huge plus,” she said.
The DC, which already composts food waste that occurs during meal preparation through collaboration with CER, instituted “Trayless Tuesdays” this week. Although trays remain available, their less prominent position is intended to encourage students to forsake them and as a result cut back on the amount of water needed for washing.
Despite previous opposition from student athletes to the idea of going trayless, most students appeared ambivalent to the new set-up, although, as Sarah Petty ‘10 said, “if you’re getting more than just a single plate and a cup, it’s hard to balance everything.”
“I’m not seeing any Haverford students dying of malnutrition, so as far as I’m concerned it worked,” Students’ Council Co-President Harrison Haas ‘10 said.
Haas added that the Council of Twelve, which has voted in favor of traylessness multiple times in the past, hopes that trays could be completely eliminated from the DC, “except for students who have a physical need for them.”
Haas said that while the CPGC’s move towards more sustainable practices is good, more can be done. He cited the need for metered heating as one of his priorities, so that the central heating in up-campus dorms can be better controlled.
The College’s energy consumption is also a main concern of Grad’s, as is the availability of more sustainable food on campus at events and in day-to-day situations.
The CPGC’s concerted efforts to go greener have not gone unnoticed, with many students attending the locally sourced lunch provided this week.
“It doesn’t amount to much if you set up a system and no one behaves and puts the stuff in the right container – this is an education process,” said Snowe.