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Friday, June 14, 2024
The Observer

GreeND incorporates cause into Lenten Season

The University's environmental club GreeND is incorporating its cause into the Lenten season with a campaign set to launch tonight. Their initiative “Go Trayless for Lent” encourages students to refrain from using trays in the dining halls in the hopes of reducing food waste and therein, carbon emissions.

“When you don’t use a tray, you’re just less likely to put five cups of chocolate milk and three spoonfuls of something that you’re actually not in the mood for, just because it’s there and convenient,” freshman Brooke Ely, a member of the Waste Committee of GreeND and one of the organizers of the campaign, said.

In addition to reducing food waste and the associated financial costs, Ely said the campaign will decrease the amount of dish detergent, water and electricity that is currently used in cleaning soiled trays.

Freshman initiative collaborator Flora Tang, who serves on the Waste Committee as well, said the goal of the campaign is to alert students of their role in generating waste and to foster a dialogue with students concerning how best to address the issue of waste reduction.

“One of the other things we’re trying to do is just to make our students more aware of the environmental impacts of everything that we do,” Tang said.  “I feel like so many of us just take food and use trays without thinking about what is the true cost of the things we are doing.”

Tang said the campaign’s recommendation to give up trays during Lent provides students with an easy way to abate their adverse impacts on the environment in the spirit of the Lenten season.

“I think Lent is about creating small inconveniences for ourselves in order to get closer to God and better serve others — and it’s about service,” Tang said.

The idea for “Go Trayless for Lent” originated from the Waste Committee, a subset of GreeND.  Tang and Ely, along with junior Jessica Peck, who is currently studying abroad in Paris, designed the initiative in the hopes of continually improving Notre Dame's commitment to sustainability.

“We’ve been working on ways to reduce waste, and one of the ways we came up with was basically to encourage people to use trays because it’s one of the most tangible ways to reduce waste,” Tang said. “One tiny thing that you could do during Lent could actually make a huge impact on the environment itself and other people’s lives.”

Although the campaign will initially be associated with the Lenten season, Ely said the committee’s ultimate aim is for students to decrease their usage of trays through the duration of the academic school year.

“There used to be 'Waste-Free Wednesdays,' and we want there to be 'Trayless Tuesdays' or something of that nature where on occasion people will not use their trays to reduce waste,” Ely said.

Tonight, members of GreeND will have a table outside of North Dining Hall to answer questions and raise awareness about the campaign.  Ely said the committee’s current emphasis is on publicizing the campaign and assessing its reception among the student body.

“We’re mainly focusing on getting the word out there and getting people to start thinking about it and trying to get a lot of feedback,” Ely said.