Going green costs students green

Reusable to-go boxes in the Boyd Dining Hall, part of President Miller’s go green initiative, cost students $5 each.

This year, the cafeteria has made a change in its carry-out option. Instead of offering disposable, Styrofoam to-go boxes, the school made the decision to offer reusable, plastic to-go boxes instead. There is a catch though. Each student needs to make a one-time payment of five dollars before using a to-go box. After paying once, the next time students come to the cafeteria they can bring the same box that they used previously and use it again, or exchange it for another one.

I do like this idea for a couple of reasons. First of all, this idea helps save the environment. The idea encourages reusing boxes instead of creating waste. Not a lot of people are doing this, which negatively impacts the environment. I do not always take care of the environment in the best way either. To-go boxes are a good way for everyone to take care of the world because they are reusing these boxes. It is important for people to take care of the environment. Since these boxes cost money that some students may not want to pay, this could lead to more students eating together in the cafeteria. Because of this, the boxes give students more time to socialize with others and relax for a bit while eating a meal together. Students also often communicate outside of the cafeteria, but when people are gathered around the table or in line getting their meal, it is a different and more calming experience.

Although there are pros to this idea, there are also cons. First of all, students are already paying a lot of money to come here and the tuition rises every year. Making students pay an extra five dollars to get a to-go box is not fair. Not everyone can afford to go here. A lot of people use financial aid, or have jobs and take classes at the same time to pay for tuition and that still may not help them a lot depending on their situation. Students already pay for their meal plan when they pay the room and board fee. Shouldn’t the cost of the to-go boxes be included in this?

It is also unfair because students may not always be carrying money with them. If they need a to-go box at one of these times, this will force them to skip a meal, or to get food from the Grille. Students can also use flex dollars provided through the school, but some students may not have any available. If students stopped coming to the cafeteria, all of the food would go to waste.

If students got their food from the Grille for lunch and dinner from Monday-Friday, then that would not be healthy. The cafeteria and the Grille do not offer the healthiest options but at least the cafeteria offers fewer fried options. If students start skipping lunch and dinner, then that will affect them in more than one way. If I skip a meal, I usually feel dizzy and sleepy. If students start skipping meals on a daily basis, then that could affect them the same way or worse.

I also do not like these to-go boxes because students do not always have free time to sit around and socialize if they do not have five dollars. It is easier for some students to grab a to-go box and return to studying after they get their meal. While students could study in the cafeteria, it would be difficult because of how loud the environment is. Think about it, how free are students during midterms and finals? When midterms and finals are coming, everyone I know starts to fill a good portion of their days with projects, papers, or studying for their exams.

Ultimately, the school should have put more thought into this idea before they started doing it. Yes, it has great motives behind it, but it has flaws as well. This is a college, students usually strive to get the best grades and sometimes students have such a busy schedule that they do not have time to sit around and eat even if it is only for half an hour.

I hope the school reconsiders what they are doing and stops making students pay an additional five dollars to use these boxes before it starts to affect people.

Farah Haidari