The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Regulate dining hall waste

Some Questions: Why is there so much waste in the dining hall? Do we really want to be generating so much gourmet hog slop? Are we living according to our admissions-team pamphlet, book-store-swag endorsed values?

Now, while it’s eternally in vogue for college students to rail against ‘the (preferably suited) man,’ I think it’s time that we focus our classically-honed, critical eyes on ourselves. Putting food on d’hall trays that we won’t (potentially physically cannot) eat cannot be earnestly blamed on the administration, the ‘system,’ the Matrix or even MK-ULTRA. That action stems from individual choices and we’re all complicit to some degree. Now that the horse-pill has been ingested, let us reenter the ‘what now?’ phase of our fractal thought process.

How can we improve our current practices? Primarily, we should promote an awareness campaign within our own thoughts. Sounds weird, right? Yes it’s weird, but let us keep in mind the words of the sage-‘ haters goin hate, players goin play’- verily, yo. Let’s think about some basic, practical ideas for our campaign: “Getting seconds takes but seconds and therefore I don’t have to visually recreate Thanksgiving each time I enter Dick Williams turf before I take my seat.” Sounds reasonable, eh? How about: “It’s not economically advisable to reinforce thoughtless, wasteful practices because this only increases the final cost for me/otherpeople/everyone…this argument is also known as… prices affect prices affect prices.” Doesn’t this seem pragmatic, reasonable? Seriously though, I want a response, I don’t know.

As an appeal to individual responsibility, I realize that this argument will, with youthful celerity, ricochet from the ear folds of most readers. I further realize, gentle reader, that certain selfish, slothful souls will retort “mind your own beeswax” or “get a job.” To that I say “fair enough” and “please send me your address so that I may forward you my resume, I hope you, sir, will find it most agreeable.” Even so, keep in mind that I am not demanding that you instantly become a saint, leave this ‘rat-race’ behind and join a commune inconveniently distant from a decent cup of coffee. I am merely asking that you yourself actively question your own practices in order to live a more responsible life. In the word of Thomas J. Watson, “THINK.” Does current gluttony yield a greater benefit or cost to your intestinal tract, your mind, your pocketbook, your peer student workers, your administrator’s overhead costs, your college, your Grinnell or your world? I think we can do better by each of us striving to become more aware of the total repercussions of our choices and thereby realizing greater responsibility.

That said, don’t beat yourself up about it. Perfection is a direction, not a destination. I wish not to condemn any person and realize that we all make mistakes, we are all imperfect beings. (ADVICE: cover your mouth to stifle the unavoidable gasp) Even me.

No worries. Just love, convoluted jokes and a healthy dose of insanity,

—Phil Hagen ’10

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