Sodexo is introducing a new “plate-scraping” initiative at McConnell Hall that will finally allow them to fulfill their pledge to go trayless.
In efforts to reduce water consumption, Sodexo agreed with the Student Union at the beginning of the last school year to stop using trays in McConnell Hall. But because their conveyor system that carries dirty plates to the kitchen requires trays, some are still being used.
“The way that it looks now and the way that it functions now is not ideal,” said Tim Thornton, the general manager of Sodexo.
That’s why McConnell Hall is getting an environmentally-conscious makeover in the near future.
“We’re going to put a self-scraping station in … it’s going to be a food separation,” said Thornton.
The new design will replace the current method. Students will first empty whatever remaining food they have into compost bins and whatever remaining liquid into a sink. There will then be a place, likely small bins, for dirty plates and silverware.
“What’s going to happen is there’s going to be a double-sided cabinetry section made. They will be mirror images of each other on each side to accommodate the traffic at peak periods. There’s going to be a five-foot knee wall separating it from the dining hall,” Thornton said.
Thornton said that the exact date for the revamp is unknown at this point.
“The construction portion of it is dependent on how much sourcing project management has to do. It will be big enough of a project that they won’t really want to do it when students are here. So it could be done at Christmas or it could be done at March break or done at the end of April,” he said.
Thornton believes the change shouldn’t be too difficult for students because another hall on campus is already using a similar method.
“The students at McLeod Hall actually already separate and scrape their own plates; not by request, they just do it. So they don’t use trays at all. They have four or five grey bus bins out and they scrape [their plates] themselves and then we take them into the dish room,” Thornton said.
DKT will be the next hall to be renovated after McConnell.
Despite not doing away with trays entirely, Thornton believes that reducing the number of trays was a step in the right direction.
“If we had 700 or 800 kids in at supper time they would all take a tray before. Now we might push through 100 trays. That’s where the gap is,” said Thornton.
But with the new initiative, they are taking it one step further and filling that gap.