Key Members of the Student Assembly met recently and have started to push the idea of removing trays from the SUNY campus dining facilities to support environmentally conscious action. Elected by their peers to represent the 467,000 SUNY students across the state, the Student Assembly’s Environmental Affairs Committee discussed the best practices and standards for SUNY campuses statewide. This announcement comes as part of a larger campaign to push for a more environmentally conscious SUNY.
The SUNY Student Assembly Environmental Affairs committee suggested that all SUNY institutional dinning facilities go tray-less. The committee believes that this action will aid in furthering the environmentally friendly efforts to improve: student health, water and food conservation, and institutional money savings. Director of Environmental Affairs for SUNY Student Assembly Gwendolyn Nieves spoke about a study conducted at the State University at Fredonia and cited from their Waste Assessment that “On average a student will throw out half a pound of food per meal throughout the year. This will collectively turn into 209,000 pounds of food annually (post-consumer), hence costing a SUNY college roughly $750,000 in waste.” The study further indicates that on days when trays were not utilized by students the food waste was reduced by 40 percent.
Kevin Rea, President of the Student Assembly and a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees announced the tray-removal as a part of a broader environmental initiative undertaken by the SUNY Student Assembly. He went on to say, “This will be a great opportunity to become more environmentally conscious in a way that benefits both SUNY and our planet.