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AVI Considers Limiting Disposable Cups

AVI Considers Limiting Disposable Cups

By Julie France

Students use Peirces paper cups to hold everything from tea or coffee to lasagna. Despite their popularity, however, AVI is considering drastically limiting their supply for next year.

Its just an idea thats been thrown around because there has been, approximately, a 19 percent increase in the cost of paper products this year, said Chair of the Housing and Dining Committee Rachel Walsh 12.

This increase is not necessarily because students are drinking more hot beverages. AVI Resident Director Damon Remillard estimated that 17 percent of the increase is attributable to increased paper cup use, since, according to Walsh, students are using them for other purposes than beverages.

Last year, AVI took away disposable cold cups. The hope was that it would save not only money, but resources, because you are throwing away all that paper every day, Remillard said. Unfortunately, what weve seen is just a lot more of the tumblers get taken out and not replaced.

Despite the increase in paper cup costs and the risk of losing more plastic cups and mugs, AVI will still most likely proceed with the cut in the quantity of paper hot cups. Weve just been a little unique in having these paper products, but its just a waste, Remillard said. I am relying on the student to bring their own thermos.

Most other colleges offer disposable beverage cups, though Denison University notably does not.

Everywhere I have been, they provide … some level of quantity of carry-out cups. Its just that we provide unlimited numbers of cups, Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said.

AVI hopes the proposed restrictions on paper cups will help allocate funds along with encouraging ecological responsibility. Anywhere we can manage those costs better means fewer increases in fees to students in that area, Kohlman said.

The constant need to replace stolen or missing plastic cups also contributes to funding concerns.

The big thing is if we werent spending tens of thousands of dollars every year replacing cups, dishes and silverware, wed have more flexibility to provide other types of carry-out stuff, Kohlman said.

In the last year alone, AVI spent $47,000 replacing lost dishes and silverware. This figure is large, considering a liberal arts school of our size will generally spend $8,000, maybe $10,000 … on cups, plates and silverware for the whole year, Remillard said.

AVI also provides dining services to the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. Though Mount Union has a considerably higher number of students enrolled, with about 2,250 students in comparison to Kenyons 1,640 students, that branch of AVI spends less on replacing dishes and silverware. Danielle Bair, AVI resident director at the University of Mount Union, said, On average, we spend $11,800 each year to replace lost or broken dishes.

In contrast, AVI at Kenyon spent more than $10,000 on cups alone at the beginning of the school year.

Peirce Dining Hall itself may be one reason for this drastic difference. In our case, its a wonderful building. Its a really cool spot, but the student has the ability to leave from around seven or eight exits, Remillard said.

Mount Union, however, has only one entrance and one exit, according to Bair.

Kenyon also has a more relaxed policy when it comes to removing items from the dining areas.

AVI also caters to MaloneUniversity, which enforces its strict expectation to not remove any food, drinks or utensils from the dining commons on its dining website.

Mount Union also has a harsher policy than Kenyons: We have a strict policy that small wares can not leave our Dining Commons, Bair said.

Unfortunately, this trend of theft has been a problem for Kenyon for several years. [Even] alumni come back for reunion weekend and take cups and plates out of here, Kohlman said.

Additionally, dishes left at Pierce drop-off stations throughout the campus academic and residence halls are generally unused. Theres someone on the AVI staff that collects them, but Im not quite sure how often they are being collected, Walsh said. If you leave something thats disgusting and starting to mold … and if its in Maintenances way, [Maintenance] will dispose of it, Walsh said.

Manager of Facility Services Gary Sweeney, however, said, We dont do anything with them … we call AVI to request that they take them.

Still, more than half [of the dishes] we never find, which either means that they were taken home, which I dont know why they would want them, or thrown away. We see so many items in [the] garbage, Remillard said.

AVI encourages the student body to bring back dishes themselves to help alleviate the AVI budgeting crisis.

The Housing and Dining Committee plans to meet again to brainstorm and display all of our ideas to Damon Remillard just to give more student perspective on the issue, Walsh said. I suggested possibly only [having] hot paper cups in the morning.

No matter the result of the decision, some aspect of dining will change in order to fit within AVIs budget, otherwise student costs will almost certainly increase, Remillard said.

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