Going tray-less in campus dining halls

Students browse the breakfast options at the official opening of Wilkerson Commons on September 23, 2015. Photo by Nick Nelson/ The Dakota Student

Dakota Student / Nicholas Nelson

Students browse the breakfast options at the official opening of Wilkerson Commons on September 23, 2015. Photo by Nick Nelson/ The Dakota Student

Students of the past would show up to dining halls and fill their trays with pounds of food. The food that our dining hall staff prepared lured students and they were going to try bits of everything. The student’s plates were heaping. With their trays bending in the middle, the students would make their way to their seats. One bite would be taken from each of the different foods and the rest would go to waste. This is obviously an exaggeration, but the picture is clear and a change must be made.

The change started last fall when Wilkerson complex was completed. Starting this semester, each of the dining halls will implement the tray-less action as well. UND did this for multiple reasons.

The first is the fact that students of the past were gaining unnecessary weight. The trays started to allow students to not focus on the fact that they were over-eating. Their stomachs started to grow as big as their eyes. This became an issue to the university about if they were allowing this to happen. The tray-less action taught the students, without them knowing, portion control. Students have been taught that they didn’t need everything on their trays.

Second, they started this action to decrease on waste. The university was wasting too much food and water. At first they didn’t know the best way to address this problem. Eventually they found their way to the dining halls. They thought if they took out trays, not only would it be one, per student, less thing to wash, but it would force the students to stop grabbing so much food. This would decrease the amount of uneaten food and the amount of water used to wash the trays afterwards.

Third, as this branches off of the second and first, the tray-less action means a decrease in cost. The university has a cut in costs for food, especially. Less food is being wasted by students, less water is being used for the trays, and less time is being consumed by employees of the university’s dining hall. All these things lead to a lesser amount of cost for the university.

Some students would believe that this would be a bad thing. If they were still hungry, they would have to walk back to get more. This is just a mere inconvenience to these students, but they keep track of how often they were to get up for more food. Some students don’t realize the environmental benefit to most of the new implementations that are happening around the university. These new changes are the university’s hope of helping the cause in the bigger picture.

Shelby Johnson is the Features Editor for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]