For starters, after literally years of back and forth, and planning, and safety obstacles, and student interest, the UVa chapter of the Campus Kitchens Project is officially up and running with its first delivery of food to the Charlottesville Salvation Army this past Sunday. The executive team will coordinate its large network of student volunteers to receive food deliveries, prep food in Runk, and deliver it to the Salvation Army in time for lunch every Sunday. Everyone involved in the lengthy approval process deserves major kudos for sticking it out and seeing this project finally get off the ground. Despite the difficulties implementing the program, the benefits - diverting more food waste from the landfill, connecting students with the underserved members of the Charlottesville community outside of the University bubble, establishing a philanthropic relationship between UVa Dining (and eventually other food service organizations) and deserving non-profits - obviously far outweigh the potential bureacratic drawbacks. I for one am excited to see Campus Kitchens become a well established link between UVa and Charlottesville!
In other, also waste diversion, news, the student group Greening Greeks has worked with me to set up a reusable to-go box pilot program at the Kappa Delta sorority house. Fraternities and sororities use catering companies to provide their houses with dinners on weeknights, and the caterers' general protocol for those that can't make it to the meal is to package food up for them in styrofoam containers. Even if there's just an average of a dozen absent sorority or fraternity members per meal, that's multiplied by the large number of sororities and fraternities at UVa -- and that starts adding up quickly. In an effort to combat that rampant waste, I introduced fifteen reusable to-go containers to KD on Monday. For the rest of this semester, KD's catering company will use those boxes to pack up leftovers, and rather than discarding them after a single use, the girls will simply stick the boxes in the house dishwasher and catering will use them again the next day. Hopefully this will be the start of a more significant trend within UVa's Greek community to reduce its environmental impact.