Collegiate Soft Count

Saint Mary’s College of Indiana recently weighed food waste at a meal, as you can see in this local news report. They got 268 pounds, which means absolutely nothing without some context like the number of students.

I thought it’d be fun to try to figure that out. So…1,628 St. Mary’s students x 81 percent live on campus = 1,318.7 undergrads.

Let’s say 75 percent of those on campus ate in the dining hall that meal. That gives us 989 students. Rounding up to 1,000 for math purposes, that’s .268 pounds of waste per person = 4 ounces = 1/4 pound.

So the average St. Mary’s student wastes a quarter pound of food at each meal. After that public confession, what’s the penance? Nada. How about a pat on the back from the director of food services, instead:

The students here do a great job with what they take, what they eat and the way we serve it helps in that, so, it’s not a huge number but it’s good for student awareness.’

image courtesy of Norman Leventhal Map Center at the BPLFor an even less official tally of collegiate food waste, we turn to California’s Sonoma State University. There, an anonymous dining worker wrote an editorial that speculated:

I wouldn’t be surprised if we threw out more food in one night than Africa eats in a year.

Holy crap, a continent worth of food waste! Wow.

While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, making low-ish income workers buy the same hot foods they then must throw away is perfectly ridiculous. But at least they get free bagels!

This entry was posted in College. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.