By Marika Garland
Every year students take plates and plastic cups out of Peirce Hall, and every year the College pays to replenish the supply. Starting this year, however, when the cups disappear, the College will no longer replace them, according to Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman.
“There’s a fine line between you wanting to serve every student and take care of them [and] putting more money and more money into something that there doesn’t seem to be an end to,” AVI Resident Director Damon Remillard said.
Over the past several years, the College has faced problems with students taking and failing to return plates and cups from Peirce, Kohlman said. To counteract this loss, the College has historically spent the money necessary to replace these missing items, but these costs are increasing. “Every year, you’re going to spend some money [on plates and cups] because of breakage and what-not,” Kohlman said. “It should be around $8,000.”
Last year, however, this number reached $47,000, which included $8,000 to replace cups alone due to the loss of 4,200 cups over the course of the year, according to Kohlman. “This year when the cups are gone, we’re not spending $8,000 again on cups,” he said. “So when the hard cups go away, whatever’s here is what’s going to be here. The people who come early will get cups, and for the people who come later, there’ll be no cups.”
Many students believe Kenyon’s meal plan allows them to take plates and dishes out of Peirce, but this is not the case, according to Remillard.
“Technically, nothing is supposed to leave the building,” he said. “I get it – people need food to go; people are in a hurry. If everyone just followed the program of bringing it back, we’re all good, but it just doesn’t happen that way.” So far this year, approximately 600 cups have already gone missing, leaving the College with 4,100 cups remaining.
Remillard, who has been at Kenyon for four years, said the cups seem to be disappearing at a faster rate this year than they have in the past. One possible reason he proposed for this issue was the lack of paper cups for cold beverages in Peirce this year, which is a change from past years. “With the removal of them, it’s been very positive because we’re purchasing less paper products,” he said.
“Paper cups just go in the landfill,” Kohlman said. “It’s just a waste.” The College still provides paper cups for hot drinks in Peirce, but these cups are biodegradable, unlike the paper cups previously available for cold beverages, according to Remillard.
Remillard said he has looked into purchasing reusable to-go containers for students in an attempt to stop the dishes from disappearing, but this potential solution could potentially create additional problems. If students had to-go containers, “anyone could stock-pile anything they wanted to,” he said. “That’s not what the program’s based off of.” He added that purchasing these containers would be a $13,000 investment, and there would be no guarantee that students would actually use them.
Kohlman and Remillard both urged students to stop removing dishes and cups from Peirce and to return anything they do take. “It would make a huge difference, and it would be wonderful for us,” Remillard said. “I think it’s got to be something that students believe in and is self-governed. Ultimately, it affects you.”
“By the end of the semester, my guess is we’ll be down to 1,500 [cups],” Kohlman said. “The more we can bring awareness to that issue, the better.”