Give Trayless a Try
Did you know that, according to Mark Daniels, general manager of Andrews University Dining Services, Andrews University students waste 2,650 pounds of food every week? What if this problem could be solved by a slight adjustment to the everyday choices we make?
Next Monday, Jan. 23, will commence the first Food Waste Awareness Week at Andrews University. Through the entirety of the week, mini exhibits and challenges will aim to raise awareness of how much food Andrews University students waste at the cafeteria every single day. One of these challenges provides students with the chance to go trayless—a decision students can make at every meal which allows them to reduce the food they take to that which they can carry.
Going trayless is a concept spreading across American universities, as an Amarak study has shown that campuses that go trayless end up wasting 30 percent less food per person. Sparked by this research, sisters Isabelle Hwang (sophomore, biology, pre-medicine) and Irene Hwang (senior, biochemistry, pre-dentistry) are the masterminds behind the Food Waste Awareness Week initiative and the Trayless Challenge at Andrews.
According to Irene, after returning from a semester as a student missionary, her yearning to take action and enact Christian service and stewardship continued upon arrival in the U.S. After visiting Harbor for Hope, a Seventh-day Adventist church in Benton Harbor, and seeing the reality of starving families across the St. Joseph River, Irene was frustrated when she saw the amount of food wasted on the tray conveyer at Andrews’ cafeteria every day.
“It seems ridiculous that though we are a Christian campus and we are so near to people who are in need we live wasteful and indifferent lifestyles,” Irene said.
Isabelle decided to become an Andrews University Student Association (AUSA) Senator in order to gain ground for the type of project the sisters are attempting to achieve. As they secured support and funding from AUSA, the J.N. Andrews Honors Program and friends, the sisters had a conversation with Mark Daniels, general manager of Andrews University Dining Services, in order to attain a realistic outcome that Andrews could achieve, raising not only money but awareness.
“It’s one thing to raise money for Benton Harbor but it’s another thing to permanently change our attitude,” Isabelle said.
“We actually have a huge obligation, especially as God’s church to take care of those around us and be responsible for the resources that we have,” Irene added.
After speaking with Daniels, the sisters brainstormed options that would field interest from students across campus and encourage actual changes in the way people think and behave. They ultimately decided upon the awareness campaign, that which effectuates plans for next week’s Food Waste Awareness Week.
From January 24 to 27, Food Waste Awareness Week will feature a commitment poster for those participating in the Trayless Challenge and a tower of cups in the cafeteria representing food wasted over the course of the week. On Tuesday, Jan. 31, the J.N. Andrews Honors Program will be hosting a Tuesday choice featuring Just Eat It, a documentary about food waste.
“My hope is that the Trayless Challenge and Food Waste Awareness Week will be a baby step for Andrews to permanently go trayless and become a more environmentally-friendly campus.”
For more information, like and join the Food Waste Awareness Week page on Facebook.