Corban Dining is continuing its effort to go green this year with recycling bins, compostable napkins, and local produce.
The changes follow on the heels of last year’s efforts to reduce water and electricity usage by ridding the cafeteria of trays.
“That was a huge start for the college,” said Tamra Taylor, director of campus dining, “And we’ll keep going forward.”
Taylor said Corban Dining, an affiliate of ARAMARK Corporation, has connected with local producers and suppliers within a 100 mi. radius, such as Willamette Fruit Farms, Fulton Meat Farms, and Sunshine Dairy Foods.
“The companies we work with are very aware that we’re looking at sustainability,” she said.
Corban Dining also now provides compostable napkins. While there is nowhere to compost the napkins and other waste yet, Taylor said, “Marion County is working toward composting food products. We have already started the process, and we hope to be there right when it starts.”
While ARAMARK lists environmental stewardship as a priority on its website, Taylor said the corporation does not force its partners to buy local or compostable products. However, ARAMARK does “want to focus on supporting local businesses,” she said, and provides tools to help its affiliates do so.
The focus on stewardship also stems from Taylor’s own passion for reducing the school’s carbon footprint. She calls it “a community concept,” since everyone benefits at least indirectly from using organic products instead of traditional chemicals.
“We look at our employees, the people we’re feeding,” she says, “And they’re all affected by the negative [effects of chemicals].”
While “there’s been positive reaction and support” for the changes so far, Taylor says most students do not know what all is happening.
“[The napkins are] about the only thing I’ve noticed,” senior Jeff Brown said.
Rachel Brown, who graduated from Corban in May and is currently interning for ARAMARK, said she is developing a Facebook page that will help increase Corban Dining’s visibility on campus and online.
“We’ll be featuring event information, discounts and other incentives that are currently sponsored by ARAMARK,” Brown said. “Hopefully, this will generate some constructive feedback for ARAMARK so they can better serve students’ needs.”
Taylor says she wants students to be aware of “what we are and who we’re buying from,” so they can offer more input and feedback.
“If [students] are not happy with it, we won’t do it,” she says.