Southeastern initiates 'Trayless Tuesdays' as part of 'going Green'
Contact: Christina Chapple
HAMMOND – Patrons of cafeterias and cafes at Southeastern Louisiana University have a golden opportunity to “go green.”
In partnership with its food services provider ARAMARK, Southeastern Auxiliary Services is implementing “Trayless Tuesdays” beginning Nov. 3 at its Caymen Café and Lion’s Den eateries.
Eliminating trays, explained Auxiliary Services Marketing Director Robin Parker, is a simple and painless way to reduce the campus’ carbon footprint. Tray removal reduces food waste by as much as 30 percent per person. It also saves water and energy, since it takes about a half-gallon of heated water to wash each tray. No trays also mean less use of potentially polluting cleaning agents.
Parker said ARAMARK surveyed campus diners at 300 colleges and universities last spring, finding that more than 79 percent were willing to forego their trays to reduce campus waste.
The university plans to go totally “trayless” next January. Meanwhile, not providing trays on Tuesdays for the remainder of the fall semester gives diners a chance to get used to and understand the good reasons for the initiative.
Parker said Southeastern recycling coordinator Ben Taylor came up with the ‘Trayless Tuesday” name for the Auxiliary Services informational campaign that begins Oct. 21. Flyers and posters have messages such as “You Don’t Really Need One, Right?” and provide statistical justification to the anticipated reaction “Dude, Where’s My Tray?” The informational materials are all printed on recycled paper, Parker added.
“Phasing out trays one day a week gives our diners time to adjust to the planned change,” Parker said. “We’re confident that, for those who may be a little reluctant to make the switch, their comfort level with the idea will grow once they understand how a small sacrifice on their part helps reduce waste, energy and pollutants.”
Going trayless is one of a number of Auxiliary Services’ sustainable initiatives. The Follett Bookstore is adopting green practices to go along with its Southeastern green-and-gold merchandise. In addition to replacing shelving and lighting with recyclable or energy-efficient versions, the store also offers recycled paper “green books” in lieu of “blue books” – the blank booklets that have long been a staple for college exam-taking. The store also encourages the shift away from plastic shopping bags by selling reusable totes.
During a meeting earlier this semester with the Auxiliary Services Student Advisory Board, Parker measured student response to the sustainability plans. “Students were overwhelmingly receptive to the initiatives being considered,” she said.
A follow-up meeting with the advisory board and Green Logic, a Southeastern student organization dedicated to environmental causes, is scheduled for Oct. 23. At the meeting ARAMARK and Auxiliary Services will recruit student organizations to wear “Think Green” t-shirts to help promote “Trayless Tuesdays” and to ban together to participate in the 2009 national college “Recyclemania” competition.
“We are encouraging everyone to join us on the ‘Go Green’ bandwagon,” Parker said.