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When Our Eyes Are Bigger Than Our Bellies

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNCG chapter.



The campus meal plan, flex and the buffet style meal swipes. Food galore and sometimes our eyes are bigger than our bellies.

I interviewed Don Nilson, the director of operations for Spartan Dining about food waste as well as the food recovery network partnership UNCG has with local organizations.

The Food Recovery Network is a 5-year-old UNCG student lead network where leftover food is donated to local organizations such as Urban Ministries, the American Red Cross, and food shelters. Students come to the dining hall twice a week on Monday and Thursday. They collect the food in their containers, weigh the food that will be donated and take the food in their personal vehicles to the local organizations to be dispersed where needed.

UNCG cares about the community and those in need. For instance, UNCG Catering made 600 subs for the performing arts center and had 250 subs left. They decided to call The Food Recovery Network and they were able to give 250 subs to the homeless. On estimate, the cafeteria givens thousands of pounds of food away each year.

However, despite this wonderful network and sustainability in place here at UNCG, many students waste food daily. The system to get rid of food waste, as well as other garbage such as straws and napkins, go into a pulper. In the average week, 3000 pounds of food waste and other waste goes into the pulper. UNCG then pays a Winston-Salem based company to make the pulped waste into compost.

Starting college, I was so pumped for classes, the fun social events and the unlimited ice cream I could get in the caf. Eventually, though, I started piling food up onto my plate and wasting more than half of the total meal that I got. I decided that I would do a five-day long challenge to limit my food waste.


Day 1


Breakfast: successful at no food waste


Lunch: successful at no food waste


Dinner: Mostly successful at no food waste, I got a to go box.


Day 2


Breakfast: not successful at limiting my food waste.


Lunch: I ate my Cracker Barrel leftovers, successful at no food waste.


Dinner: successful at no food waste


Day 3


Breakfast: successful at no food waste


Lunch: successful at no food waste


Dinner: successful at no food


Day 4






Day 5


Breakfast: successful at no food waste


Lunch: Mostly successful at no food waste



I had a Shabbat Dinner, successful at no food waste.

To conclude, food waste is something most do not think of when they stuff their plates. Overall, I am happy with my progress. It was harder than I thought it would be to get a reasonable portion though. From now on, I am going to try my absolute best to get smaller portions and get up to get more food once I am done with my first plate as well as get dessert after my main meal.

Thespian. Feminist. Writer.