UNK Aims to Reduce Food Waste

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

A student driven project has University of Nebraska - Kearney students thinking twice about what and how much they put on their plate.

This week, the University is holding events for 'Project Clean Plate', an effort to reduce food waste at campus dining halls.

Student Laura Juenemann is secretary and treasurer of UNK's Residence Hall Association, as well as head of the sustainability committee. She says,"we just hope to make the students more aware of what they're eating and how much they're taking. Hopefully they'll be aware of that and cut down."

UNK student Jordan Duff says he sees a lot of food go to waste. The buffet-style dining hall allows students to grab as much as they like.

"I see people grab a bunch of plates and they'll eat what fills them. Then there is like a lot left over and no one eats it, so it's a waste of food for us," said Duff.

That's exactly what the project is trying to curb. Throughout the week, the program encourages students to be mindful of their choices and portions. Tuesday, plate and portion examples were on display to help guide students with proper amounts. Residence Hall Association Adviser Jen Kacere says this program is possible at UNK because of determined students.

"This is student driven, which I think is the neatest part about this project because students have come and said 'we want to do this'," said Kacere.

Next week, students will track the percentage of accumulated food waste, hoping it has decreased from the previous week. Kacere says she thinks that UNK's student body will gain a new level of awareness.

"We really want to see students reduce how much their taking on their plates, making sure what their stomach is feeling is what their eyes are seeing so that we aren't wasting liquid or food that we have been," said Kacere.

UNK's goal is to reduce waste by 86 pounds and for each pound of waste reduced, UNK Dining Services will donate non-perishable food items to a Kearney food bank.

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