Resident Director of AVI Christopher Wisbey said he ordered 1,000 cups over spring break. Now, they are all gone.
Manager of Business Services Fred Linger remembers when the budget for dining utensils in Peirce was $15,000 for the 2010 academic year. In 2018, the College spent $25,000 on replacing plates, bowls and cups — and Director of AVI Christopher Wisbey suggested that number may go up to $30,000 next year.
In Wisbey’s view, the students are forcing that number to go up.
“We have probably less than 150 cups in house right now for a campus of 1,600 students,” Wisbey said. “So you can obviously tell that that doesn’t work out.”
AVI has switched to disposable bowls and cups for the rest of year because students have taken dishes without returning them, according to a statement issued via Facebook on April 19th. Wisbey said the change was necessary because AVI no longer has enough dishes for students who come for Kenyon summer camps. At the beginning of the year, he said AVI had about 2,000 cups. Wisbey also said he has only $4,000 left of the $25,000 he allocated for replacing dishes in Peirce.
“It’s disappointing where, you know, it’s not our fault that we don’t have dishes. It’s the students’ fault that we don’t have dishes,” Wisbey said. “If students wouldn’t take our stuff, then we wouldn’t be using plastic and paper.”
Wisbey said that he has been working with students to make sure that students return more dishes in the future. Erin Keleske ’18, a member of the Environmental Campus Organization, has also been thinking of ways to curb dish and cup theft. She said the theft of Peirce cups directly impacts the community.
“It’s bad for the environment, it costs a ton of money and is a health threat,” Keleske said. “People frequently bring peanut butter or fish out of the dining hall and leave them in bins in random hallways and stairwells, posing a threat for students, staff and visitors with food allergies.”
Keleske said that there are a few options to help combat this issue. AVI cannot afford to place workers at every door to make sure students don’t walk out with cups. Instead she wants the community to make sure students don’t take them into other buildings. That would mean Community Advisors checking for cups during room checks, a no-tolerance policy in the modular units and enforcement from faculty in academic buildings. This rule is already technically in place, but that the College needs to do more to enforce it, according to Keleske. The Board of Trustees also talked about the issue of stolen cups and how much the College spends on replacing them at their Spring meeting.
Ultimately, Keleske said it is up to the community to stop taking dishes from Peirce.
“At the end of the day, this is more than just an issue of logistics and busy schedules. It’s an issue of privilege,” she said. “There are dish return bins inside of Peirce because people were too lazy to walk to dish return and were throwing them in the garbage can on their way out of the building. That’s insane to me.”