During the four-day campus shutdown from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, the University of Dallas delivered meals to hundreds of on-campus residents. Not all of the meals were taken, however, leading to massive food pile-ups.
According to an email sent on Wednesday evening from Seth Oldham, director of student affairs, a schedule was established for meal delivery for residents in the dorms during the campus closure. Three delivery time slots were specified for breakfast, lunch and dinner with enough time for Aramark catering to deliver to the six traditional residence halls and Clark Hall.
Residence Coordinator Nathan Ramsey said in an email that due to meals being delivered to the six traditional student dorms before Clark, Aramark delivered to Clark lobby towards the end of the time slots. Students were advised to take one a to-go box each and eat it individually in their rooms before grabbing seconds or thirds.
Other non-resident students with a meal plan were able to retrieve their packaged meals from the café.
Sophomore Vera Fontenot, a resident of Clark, relied on Aramark catering for all of her meals during the campus closure. After eating her meals in her room, she observed many remaining meal packages in the Clark lobby.
“There was usually piles of leftovers down in the lobby,” Fontenot said.
Another Clark resident, sophomore Claire Kirby, tends to skip breakfast due to her schedule so she did not rely on the breakfast meals. For the most part, Kirby depended on Aramark catering for the majority of her meals, but she also had other food available.
“For dinner one night I had food in my room,” Kirby said.
Many students preferred to order takeout food rather than eat the provided Aramark meals, which students were permitted to do.
During the campus closure, Kirby recalled seeing “so many pizza delivery cars outside of Clark.”
Madonna resident, freshman James Latour, also observed students opting out of eating the Aramark food and ordering takeout instead.
Latour was studying in the Madonna lounge Friday morning when he heard the Aramark employees say they had to deliver about 50 meal boxes. Following the meal, Latour claimed he heard that about half of the meals were taken.
“[After] every meal there were leftovers,” Latour said. In Clark Hall, where hundreds of meals were delivered to the residents, Aramark employees attempted to offer extra food to passerbys.
Junior Dalayna Marji was offered a stack of brownies by Aramark employees as they tried to give away uneaten desserts.
“They were passing out leftovers to people who wanted them so people could get seconds and thirds, so that definitely helped mitigate [food waste],” Fontenot said.
The president of the environmental conservation organization (ECO), Greg Vanderheiden, commented on the large amount of leftovers in the dorms.
“Obviously it is better to reduce waste wherever we can, so it would have been great if there weren’t any food wasted at the residence halls, but I’m not willing to condemn Aramark for the waste,” Vanderheiden said.
“It sucks that so much food was wasted, but considering that we know very little about what happened behind the scenes with Aramark, that they accommodated us surprisingly well considering the circumstances, and that [they have] been very willing to cooperate with UD in the past on reducing their environmental impact, I am very willing to forgive them.”
Aramark catering continues to provide meals for students in isolation or quarantine in the residence halls.