The Center for Sustainability has approved a $26,470 grant proposal to evaluate the amount of food waste that Georgia Southern University dining halls produce as well as come up with intervention strategies to help lower food waste amounts.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2014, 38 million tons of food was wasted in the US, 22 million pounds of which came from colleges.
The grant proposed by Evans Afriyie-Gyawu, associate professor in the department of environmental health sciences, will fund project plans that will continue through the spring semester of 2018, with many of the planning phases including food waste data collection and administration of surveys will happening in fall 2017.
Project members will measure food waste in the dining commons and Lakeside on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the fall and spring semester. Their investigative team will then measure students, faculty and kitchen staffs knowledge and attitudes toward food waste at GS.
The results of this project along with discussions to minimize food waste will then be placed on a public forum for all GS students to view after the fall semester.
Student driven intervention strategies will then be evaluated by faculty and will be implemented in the spring if they are deemed to be beneficial to the university.
Plans in the spring include roundtable discussions with students and other stakeholders, development of intervention strategies, the posting of educational forums and an evaluation of the project as a whole.
“It’s definitely a problem, especially with a buffet like that where you can get as much food as you want,” Justin Sapp, freshman civil engineering major said. “As a student you have to be more mentally aware of how much food you are taking and throwing away.”
While this project is in the early stages, the long-term outcome could greatly impact GS by helping to produce less waste.