Stop Food Waste Day was not only a great success, but also an important first step in understanding food waste and communicating on campus. My goal for the event was to have the message behind Stop Food Waste Day resonate with at least one student and that hope was soon exceeded. By talking to students throughout the day I found that the Purchase Community supports a sustainable way to deal with food waste. This was a big part for me
because an event and idea like this can’t get traction without the public's support.
The day started out well. My boss, Jesuina, and myself set up the station in Purchase Dining Hall, also known as D-Hall. We put out the buttons and stickers we had, set up the bins with
garbage bags and posted signage telling people to throw their food waste in the bins.
At 9:30am the doors opened for Breakfast and students started to slowly but surely file into D-Hall. Students asked about the event and took part in removing their waste into the bins to be weighed. As the day went on and we collected more waste, people started to ask what this was all about. I talked to them about how we were trying to raise awareness for conscious consumption of food on campus and hopefully move Purchase in a sustainable direction. This resonated with people and one or two even asked why Purchase didn’t already compost all their food waste or have composting be more accessible on campus. This led to conversations about The Rocket and how much compost it can process, what more composting on campus would entail and how another big part of this is that only taking what you can eat decreases the amount of waste produced.
In all we didn’t waste as much food as I initially thought. Over the course of Breakfast and Lunch we wasted about 40 lb. of food. We were lucky in the sense that we saw a decrease in food waste for that day but are also aware that that was only one day of a whole school year.
The day ended with bringing all waste we had collected to the Rocket to be process by Michael, Purchase College's Compost Master. This was an important first step towards a more sustainable Purchase. Being a conscious consumer of food can be achieved and become the norm on campus.
In my vision, I see a Purchase community with compost bins scattered around campus, in Residential Halls, in apartments and in all the Food Courts on campus. My vision for a more sustainable Purchase requires hard work and a community taking part, but is none the less attainable.