Who Wastes More? The Quest to Answering the Million-Dollar Question

By Jocelyn Garcia

This week we worked with Charles, the Associates Director of Dining Services, and Emma, our stakeholder, on finalizing the details of our dining hall survey. With this survey, we want to explore any potential correlations between food waste production and student demographics, such as one’s year in school and meal plan. We condensed our potential list of questions to our top 8 choices and are working diligently on the rhetoric and presentation of these questions. We plan to start surveying dining guests this upcoming Wednesday for both lunch and dinner meal periods to target the largest population sizes. To incentivize guests to participate, we will be clearing their plates upon completion of the survey. Charles provided us with dining hall counts for both De Neve and Bplate to have an idea of how many surveys to aim for. As a result, we decided to set the goal to survey at least five percent of dining guests during each meal period. In addition, Charles recommended switching locations from Covel to De Neve to explore the effects of self-serve stations on food waste, primarily focusing on De Neve’s newest addition, The Flex Bar.

Along with surveying dining hall guests, we are also organizing meetings with focus groups to present our project and discuss what signage draws their attention. This meeting will discuss what messages are most effective to educate guests on the effects of food waste and ways to reduce their waste. Stay tuned for more updates on these focus groups!