Creating positive change by getting take-away

Dining Services launch new reusable to-go containers

A new school year typically brings about new changes. New classes, new professors and new activities. 

This year, CNU Dining Services is introducing a more sustainable change to Christopher Newport’s campus.

Reusable to-go containers are now available for students to use at both Regattas and the Commons dining halls.

Unlike the previous to-go boxes seen in the past – which are still available to students if they prefer – these new, reusable containers are sturdier, have slightly more space for food and are more environmentally friendly.

Although the old to-go boxes are a recyclable fiber material, these containers are more toward CNU’s initiative to go more green.

“We got a lot of feedback from students that really were gearing toward going with sustainability,” said Jared Hughes, DSU Assistant Dining Operations Manager. “That’s what really pushed us to go with the reusable containers.”

According to Jen Jones, the Sustainability Coordinator, the idea for the reusable to-go containers was initiated by several students each semester who would ask the Director of Dining Services, Kevin Ososkie, if this was a possibility.

At the end of last year, a student collected data to see how many students would use the containers for their Environmental Studies senior capstone project.

“This story really speaks to the power of what students can do on this campus,” Jones said.

After the first week, CNU Dining Services has approximately 550 of these reusable containers in circulation on campus and has already had to order more because it has been so well received by students.

“This is the thing that excites me so much. This is great and awesome and huge for us but it opens up a world of possibilities,” Jones said. “The student interest really shows that this is something you guys are not just mildly interested in but you demanding as part of your experience.”

Around 150 of the reusable containers are returned to the dining halls each day, washed and ready for use again.

“Our first day it took off really well,” Hughes said. “It’s exceeding our expectations.”

“I have heard so much buzz about this. Everyone is totally pumped about it,” Jones said. “I think it’s a really great model to show how we can all come together and work together for a really positive change on campus.”

Students come in and ask for one of the reusable containers, just like they did with the old recyclable fiber to-go boxes. They can then fill up their container and leave.

When they come back for their next meal, if they are getting their food to-go again, students return the container they previous took and get a freshly washed one.

If they choose to eat in, they return the old container and receive a token. This token serves as a marker and is used to redeem another reusable container the next time they get their meal to-go.

If students lose their reusable container or token, they can receive a second one for free. After they have lost their two allotted containers, students must purchase another one for $10 if they wish to use the new reusable containers.

 This is a long-term initiative that CNU Dining Services hopes to possibly expand upon in the future. 

“I don’t see any end to it. I don’t see any reason why we would stop the program. We hope that it grows,” Hughes said.

~Emma Dixon, CNUTV Managing Editor~

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