By David McCabe
The battlefield in Kenyons culture wars may have gotten smaller this week.
Upon returning to campus, students found themselves facing the consequence of an economic and ecological decision made over the summer: the trays that had long carried plates of creamy polenta and bowls of tomato soup were gone from Peirce Hall. In past years, trays were available except on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
For years, AVI Foodsystems administrators said, the company has been losing money as students take utensils and plates out of Peirce Hall and fail to return them. Damon Remillard, AVIs resident director at Kenyon, estimated it takes $40,000 annually to replace lost items.
I can beg and plead, I can come up with ideas, I can have panels, Remillard said, but until the culture changes in a perfect world Id love to say everyones going to bring it back, but that doesnt happen so until that changes, we need to find a way to ease the cost of all of this.
Originally, Remillard said, he presented Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman and Manager of Business Services Fred Linger with the idea of removing the to-go coffee cups in the servery. After that option was turned down, Remillard suggested getting rid of the trays which he said would save money and provide environmental benefits.
That was evident Sunday night, as AVI workers unloaded the dishes from the carousel where they are deposited by students and loaded them into a dishwasher that looked less like a Whirlpool and more like the machine that x-rays carry-on bags at an airport.
In the past, as the trays made their way through, water would splash out of the machine, wasting both water and the energy required to heat it, according to Michael Hogancamp, a chef with AVI.
Still, around 20 trays are kept on reserve in cases of emergency. Hogancamp was unsure of the whereabouts of the old trays, but suggested they could be recycled.
But what, some students asked quietly, of the athletes? True: Kenyons athletes have a reputation for en masse transportation of multiple plates of chicken parmesan and even more glasses of blue Powerade.
And yet, as a trio of Kenyon football players ate dinner in Peirces Great Hall, it seemed not to be a problem.
Sure, they conceded, the situation wasnt ideal but it was hardly a travesty.
Well, I mean, I would hope that there is a purpose behind it. And the College has had certain values, and if this is in accordance with what they think, then Im fine with it, said Daniel Waters 14, a linebacker who said he had been known to load up a tray with two plates, two cups and a dessert portion. At first when I saw that the trays were gone I was pretty upset about it, but when you put it into perspective, its really not that bad to just make a couple trips back and forth.
[starbox id=”david mccabe”]