Stacks on Stacks on Stacks
By Danna Creager
After moving from De Neve to B-Plate with our surveys, it has become obvious that the signage we aim to create in the future will most likely have to differ between the two. Not only is the dining hall set up differently, but students also act differently when gathering and consuming food. The art of stacking plates has to be much more careful in B-Plate than in De Neve because our team has experienced that, in general, people take more plates in B-Plate. A possible explanation could be the smaller portions served at B-Plate.
Although we have not thoroughly delved into analyzing the pictures and pairing them with the survey results, we have noticed various trends by clearing participants’ plates. The most frequently wasted food items are uneaten fruits and salads. In fact, some people take but do not eat entire, unpeeled bananas. Due to health and safety regulations, Dining Services is unable to take that banana back; therefore, this banana gets wasted and thrown into the pulper to be composted. We also noticed several Dining Services employees’ interest in our project. Some already know what we are doing, while others have approached us to inquire further about the purpose of surveying. In terms of obstacles, we still see some resistance towards the idea of us clearing students’ plates for them. Our team was surprised at how uncomfortable some people felt about an act that we perceived as a great incentive. Most of the time people are open to it, but we still get a handful of surveys each meal period from students who will not allow us to clear their plates. Regardless, we are seeing the number of surveys that have corresponding food waste photographs increase significantly from those taken at De Neve.
Our current priorities are focused on finishing data collection, analyzing the data, quantifying food waste, discussing possibilities for the short film, and holding an additional focus group (or groups). We only have one final day left to survey in B-Plate before we can get started on our data analysis. A major component of that will be quantifying food waste shown in the pictures we have taken over the past few weeks. We have brainstormed several possibilities, but it seems like it could be a slight challenge comparing De Neve to B-Plate food waste amounts since dishes are different sizes and the food is fairly different. In terms of the film, we are hoping that the representative from the media team will join us in our stakeholder meeting this upcoming Tuesday. We also expect to hold our next focus group in the beginning of Spring quarter. Overall, our team is progressing at an excellent rate to meet our project goals and we look forward to what our data collection results will show.