The salad bar is not the only thing green in Wilson Hall.
Trayless weekends and new, reusable food carriers are just a few of the announced steps that Parkhurst Dining Services has initiated on campus to make the food service provider more environmentally friendly.
And yes, the elimination of Styrofoam products, which goes along with the addition of a reusable mug for drinks, are also in the works.
“We are working to partner with Barnes and Noble to start a reusable mug program,” said Tony Williams, Parkhurst Dining Services general manager, of the next announcement. “Our customers will be able to purchase the mug at the book store and then fill it up at the cafeteria for a discount.”
The moves are part of company-wide initiatives but also in response to campus feedback here and elsewhere.
Already Parkhurst has started using biodegradable containers for its on-the-go products. Since last May, recycle bins have been added to the cafeteria’s disposal area.
“The University and Parkhurst are working together to get a new dish machine and going completely “China
” in the near future,” said Williams of the steps needed to eliminate Styrofoam and use reusable plates, cups, and flatware.
While reducing environmental impact is serious business, Parkhurst has also been trying to have fun.
The popular theme meals, Hemisflavors, have returned and features cultural cuisine. A Parkhurst sponsored s’mores night with hot chocolate for study break drew 600 students, three times the anticipated crowd. And a recent October Fest theme and an upcoming Halloween theme meal with a pumpkin carving contest, add to the atmosphere.
While manning a survey table recently and handing out free cookies to participants, Cindy Medeiros, director of board operations, explained that Parkhurst takes its feedback seriously.
“Students said in a survey last year that they wanted more home-style foods. So, we added taco Tuesday, more pasta, meat loaf, and chicken pot pie,” said Medeiros, who started in May after owning her own restaurant for 10 years and serving as the former executive chef at Wellsley College
. “Food quality is very important to me and Parkhurst.”
That’s one of the reasons the satellite stands in Whitecar Hall and the McNeil STC now have a dedicated retail supervisor to keep them freshly stocked.
“The more involvement we have from the students and feedback from all, the more we can accomplish our goals of going green and constantly improving,” said Williams.