On-Campus Dining Aims for a More Sustainable Future

FGCU+requires+all+students%2C+regardless+of+major%2C+to+take+a+class+focused+on+sustainability.+EN+Photo+by+Julia+Bonavita.

FGCU requires all students, regardless of major, to take a class focused on sustainability. EN Photo by Julia Bonavita.

Ashley Postlewait , Contributing Writer

Every day, hundreds of FGCU students walk in and out of SoVi dining without ever thinking twice about how they are impacting the environment.

They fill their plates to the edge with everything they see and sit down to indulge in their last meal of the day. They talk with their friends, watch a game on the TV and nibble on their food. After they’r satisfied and all that is left is the scraps of food and cutlery that have no use for anymore. Without a second thought, they throw everything in the trash can and walk out.

Since FGCU was founded, it has been an institution that seeks to promote and practice sustainability. This goal has always and will always be a part of the everyday mechanics of the university.

“We as the campus dining want to make sure that we are following the mission to promote and practice sustainability as well,” Director of Marketing for Campus Dining Brent Hite said. “We want to make sure that as the provider of all the food and drinks on campus, we want to provide the most sustainable options that we can.”

Although Hite has only been the director of marketing for three months, he wants to strengthen the initiatives already in place and come up with new ideas. One of the initiatives he’s started in his time here is the Waste Not program.

“Our Waste Not program minimizes the cost and environmental impact of our food waste,” Hite said.

There are Waste Not bins where there is food served. One of the bins is red, which is for food that has to be disposed of, and the other is green, which contains any by-product you are using.

“If you needed to peel a banana, you would throw the peel in the green bin, or if you cut the rough part of meat off, you would throw that in the green bin,” Hite said. “All of the components of this bin are deposited to the Frasier Farm.”

This program is made possible through a partnership with the Frasier Family Farm and seeks to educate students on becoming more aware of the food they consume and the waste they produce.

“Everywhere you go, there is a trash can, but there is also a recycle bin, and in places like SoVi, there are compost bins,” Hite said.

Another program the school offers has been getting a lot of student attention. Hite explained that students use the reusable cup on campus, they get 79 cents off their purchase. Students will save money in the long run when they purchase a cup. Making the switch is also a sustainable and environmentally conscious choice.

“We are such a grassroots sustainable institution because people embrace the mission of promoting and practicing sustainability,” Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Kathleen Crawford said.

Students at FGCU have the privilege of having sustainability components embedded in their classes to learn more about how they impact the environment. The sustainability objectives and initiatives at FGCU, like the goals SoVi dining has established, are among the largest draw-ins for students looking for a greener university.

“The students’ voices are the strongest and the loudest at a university,” Crawford said. “In order to really push the ideas, we need students saying, ‘This is important to me.’”