By Eric Witiw

We had a busy day this past Monday with surveying both lunch and dinner and then performing our first focus group at Rieber Hall 3rd floor North. The lunch shifts have collectively been a little slower and less crowded, so we generally yield lower numbers of completed surveys during these meals. Dinner, on the other hand, has been considerably busier and requires some more organization as a team to make sure that everything runs smoothly. De Neve is a moderately popular dining location, but we plan to compare it to B-Plate, which significantly more popular among students on the Hill. We chose to survey De Neve first so that we could better plan to collect results from B-Plate. One issue that we came across is that some diners feel guilty or uncomfortable with leaving their plates on the table for us to clear. Communication has proven to be important as we need to assure the diners that they understand the importance of us clearing the plates (so that we can photograph the food waste to associate with their survey answers) without influencing how they might answer the questions.

We also ran our first focus group on Monday at the sustainability-themed learning community located in Rieber Hall. We had more students show up than we expected and they were so engaged that we ended up going well over our allotted time. We discussed topics such as issues with food waste from a student’s perspective and how we could best educate others so that more people know where they can begin to help fight food waste. We got a positive response and are hoping to survey other dorm floors that are not as committed to sustainability in the future to get more information on how to focus our efforts to make an impact on the food being wasted on the hill.