Dining halls go trayless starting in January

Erin Reback

Dining Services is planning on “going trayless” in Donahue Hall and Dougherty Hall starting in January. The effort has been in effect in the St. Mary’s dining hall since August.

Removing trays from the “all you can eat” dining halls is one way Villanova is becoming more environmentally conscious. The lack of trays means less water will be wasted, fewer cleaning chemicals will be used and less food will be piled high but go uneaten.

“It is a great and positive thing,” said Tim Dietzler, director of Dining Services. “We hope students embrace the change.”

Besides environmental benefits, cutting out trays helps Villanova save money.

“Going trayless in St. Mary’s has helped offset rising food costs,” Dietzler said.

Dining Services is hopeful that going trayless will mean less food will need to be bought and prepared, which will also offset rising food costs.

Eventually, Dining Services hopes to expand the trayless effort to other popular dining areas such, as the Belle Air Terrace.

“We started in St. Mary’s and are moving to Donahue and Dougherty because we want to make a big impact immediately,” Dietzler said. “Belle Air Terrace is more grab-and-go, so less trays are used there than in dining halls.”

Dietzler reported that the majority of students did not notice the missing trays in St. Mary’s.

“A few people submitted speak-out cards asking where the trays went,” Dietzler said. “We explain why we have gone trayless, and people have generally been satisfied with the answer.”

Dining Services is making efforts to alert the student body of the changes coming to Donahue and Dougherty. Written signs explaining why the trays were removed and the environmental benefits of their absence will be placed where the trays once stood.

The school plans on storing the excess trays not because it is worried the trayless effort will fail but because the trays might be needed in the future.

“We might recycle them or give them away,” Dietzler said.

Dining Services has also been responsible for other on-campus changes.

Reel Divine now hosts a small market, and the old ice-cream station has been replaced by FreshÃns. These changes are a direct result of student desires.

“We knew that students wanted a market on Main Campus, and ice-cream sales were falling,” Dietzler said. “We wanted to add convenience and give the students what they wanted.”

Overall, the response to the changes has been positive.

“The location is great,” says Katie Burnett, a sophomore living in Sheehan Hall. “It’s nice not to have to walk to South or West to buy groceries.”

Other changes have already been implemented in an effort to make the University more environmentally sound. Last year, the Corner Grille and Italian Kitchen began participating in a compost program that reduced waste to just 10 trash bags per day.

“We want all students to be educated on the environmental benefits of composting and recycling,” Dietzler said.