For here or to go?: Reusable containers to aid on-the-go students

By Katie Zeck

Students have long awaited the time when they would be able to take food out of Dalys and that time is finally here, with a few exceptions.
This week, Rider has soft-launched a new take-out container program called the “Green To-Go Club.”

An eco-conscious student utilizes the new, reusable take-out containers to transport her lunch from Cranberry’s. Aramark initiated the sustainability project to assist rushed students.

The program has been in the works since the renewal of Rider’s contract with Aramark, the university’s food service provider.
“When we went into a new contract with Aramark we began looking into new ideas that would benefit the students and address the dining issues that they brought up,” said Jan Friedman-Krupnick, vice president of Student Affairs. “One of the issues brought up was the limited hours of the dining halls, which we have addressed with the extended hours at Dalys. The other issues dealt with that of taking food out of Dalys.”
The Rider News asked on its Facebook page what students thought of the new take-out containers and the response was generally positive.
“I think it is a good idea,” said sophomore Katie Freier. “[Students] will be able to grab a sandwich if they have a late class that night and Dalys is closed [by the time their class is finished].”
According to Friedman-Krupnick, the program was designed so that students who were too busy during the day to stop in and eat would still be able to have a meal. To participate in the program, students first go to the front desk at Dalys and fill out a contract. The student will hand over his or her student ID and receive a keychain and a reusable take-out container. The student then has 15 minutes to collect a meal, retrieve his or her ID and leave with the food. When returning the container, the student will get his or her keychain back so that he or she can use a container again at that point, or at another time.
According to the “To-Go Club Policies & Guidelines” given to the students when they sign up for the program, Rider states that they “reserve the right to inspect the contents of each container” and students are “responsible for their key chain during Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks” and will be charged a “$5 fee for any lost key chains, containers or damaged containers.”
The policies and guidelines explain rules of the To-Go Club. Aramark will also be issuing an email within the next few weeks to the entire student body, giving a detailed description of the exact workings of the program.
Students also appreciated the idea of getting more for their money in terms of the average cost to have a meal plan, which is about $2,240 per semester, according to the Rider website.
“It’s a good idea because we spend so much [money on our meal plan] but waste a lot, so the containers would save food,” senior Caroline Quan said.

In addition to Dalys, the take-out program will also be in effect at Cranberry’s for sustainability reasons.
“The Eco-Reps came to us asking if we could use china in Cranberry’s instead of to-go boxes as a way to make Cranberry’s more sustainable by decreasing the amount of trash produced in the dining facility,” Friedman-Krupmick said. “However, there is currently not enough space in the dish room at Cranberry’s to allow for the use of china.”
Because of this, Aramark has decided to also implement the take-out container program in Cranberry’s and would work the same way that it does in Dalys.
Friedman-Krupnick added that research for the program began last spring when every Rider student with a meal plan was sent a survey asking what they wanted from their food service provider.
Student focus groups were also used as a way to determine that this type of take-out program was what students wanted.
“We also learned from similar programs Aramark started on other campuses,” Friedman-Krupnick said. “We wanted our students to have the same opportunity.”

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One Comment

  1. hmmm this is very interesting. and I’m no expert, but would switching to china really help? a lot of water still goes into washing the dishes, no, so it may be trading in one problem for another? what if cranberry’s sold reusable “green” plastic [see through?] containers of some sort that students could wash themselves and bring with them when they go for a slight discount on food?

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