Watching Your Food Waste in Our Dining Halls

Sara-June BoullionEnvironmental Columnist

Last Wednesday SUNY Oneonta environmental science majors, Sarah Vitro and Deanna Caracciolo dedicated their time to putting  on a waste demonstration in Mills dining hall.  The purpose of this was to show students how much food is being wasted every hour.  By the end of two hours, 105 pounds of waste had been collected.  Most of the waste was comprised of whole portions of food.  For the cooks and chefs preparing the food,  this might show them that their time and efforts are un-appreciated.  A majority of the waste was meat.  Meat is a food source that takes incredible amounts of water and fossil fuel consumption to produce. Seeing it wasted in large amounts is therefore incredibly saddening. Animals suffered through terrifying conditions, mistreatment and horrible deaths only to make it into the wasted food barrel.  Life is precious in all its forms! Proactive action should be taken to prevent large food waste.  The main question that this demonstration attacks is, what can students do to eliminate large amounts of this waste? Sodexo is willing to work with us  students and dining hall eaters by presenting food in portions that we need, in other words, that are not over excessive. This does not mean you should be afraid to ask for the portion that is best for you. Students can also pressure Sodexo to limit the amounts of food prepared for our campus.  This waste demonstration was meant to show that food is a luxury. Many go without, and the amounts of waste is seen by many as disrespectful and insulting. Limiting the food waste also ensures that plant and animal life are valued more.  Let’s make a difference for tomorrow and waste far less food!


  1. I was told by a Sodexo employee that if I put too much food in a To-Go-Box that the manager would make me throw it all away. Forget the animals that ‘suffered’ for the food, why aren’t we focusing on donating food to people who can’t afford it? I can’t be the only person who has seen homeless people right here in Oneonta. What would it take to donate to these suffering people instead of focusing our thoughts on the animals (because let’s be honest, they’re dead whether we waste their meat or not)? I could care less if wasted food hurts the feelings of the cooks, but I do care about wasting food that could be benefiting someone else.

  2. Sarah and Deanna deserve a badge for putting on such an impressive waste demonstration. It is unbelievable that 105 pounds of food had been wasted within a two hour period. The dining halls need reform! Sara-June B. needs to direct this article to Sodexo. The title of your article uses “you” language aimed at the student, this provokes a negative response from students immediately. By you calling us the problem you have lost our (the students) support.

    Im appalled you label yourself an environmental columnist. Learn your rhetoric, and believe it or not there is a course called enviromental rhetoric.

    • Sarah, Deanna, and Sara-June ALL deserve “badges” for getting the message out.

      You get offended so easily by this title. The state times is written by students and read by students who are also the people who waste, so she can use the word “you”. The students are the audience, it’s that simple.

      Put your big boy pants on and do something to help spread the word, don’t put people down who try inform students.

  3. Sarah Vitro works for Sodexo has a sustainability intern. This probably should have mentioned in the article. Sodexo has held this demonstration several other semesters.

  4. If everyone is so concerned about not wasting so much food, Sodexo should not be trying to control what we eat when we already have such limited options. They should give us food that isn’t crap. Grey and purple chicken, some with bones that shouldn’t be there, is unacceptable. If I get that kind of food and bite into it, I am absolutely going to throw it away. On top of that, they pre-prepare too much of the food and it sits out until it either gets thrown away or they pass it off as something else. Its disgusting.

  5. No matter how much you try to shame people for throwing out food, it doesn’t change the fact that they WILL. Nobody expects a campus meal to be delicious, but on a bad day, it can be inedible. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have taken a bite out of a burger, thought “it’s one of THOSE days”, thrown the remainder in the trash, and driven myself to McDonalds or Walmart to get my meal. I shouldn’t have to do that, because I am FORCED to pay for a dining plan whether I want to or not. I would gladly just make my own meals. I often hear people say we have some of the best dining services in the suny system, if that is the case I certainly don’t want to see what they call food at other schools.

    I don’t want to place blame on the staff, because they are simply working with what they are given. The quality of ingredients is pitiful. You will notice that the pizza at the mills store (which you pay for) is always good, yet the pizza at wilsbach is often an amorphous blob of dough and grease. Food at a special event such as thanksgiving is great, but our day to day meals range from “mediocre” to “toxic waste”. We are stuck in a sort of infinite loop: we can’t have higher quality food because too much food is being wasted, but the food is being wasted because we have lower quality food.

    Something has to be done, but putting shame on the student body and invoking the death of cute little animals isn’t part of it. The food waste demonstrations we have been seeing don’t actually solve anything, and quite frankly the next time we see trash heaped in mounds out on a table by the exit I think students should call the NYS Department of Health to see what they think about it.

  6. The lives of poor, defenseless animals were given just so we human beings could feast on their carcasses, and yet 105 pounds of their flesh was wasted in just 2 hours. The entire purpose of these animals’ lives was to feed us, and yet most of their bodies were murdered for nothing. I wish I was actually shocked right now.

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