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Trayless Tuesdays
Students learn to live--and eat--without a cafeteria tray
By Suki Casanave '86G

Attention all diners! Trayless Tuesdays may be the start of a new trend, coming soon to a dining hall near you. The idea is simple: gather your dining hall meal without using a tray—and help save hundreds of gallons of water needed for washing them up. "We're just asking people to do things a little differently," says Andrew Porter '98, area manager for dining services, who reports that washing one tray requires a half gallon of water. And then there's the fact that an empty tray inspires people to fill it up, encouraging them to take more than they can eat—and resulting in leftovers that wind up being thrown away.

Save water. Save food. What's not to like? Some aren't too keen on the juggling act required to get their food to the table. "It's hard enough to make your way through HoCo during rush hour," says sophomore Dennis Faucher, who often eats in Holloway Commons. "Let alone having to do it with no tray while juggling a plate, a cup and silverware." In fact, when Trayless Tuesdays started last spring in Stillings with the intention of raising environmental consciousness, the effort instead inspired a flood of napkin notes to dining hall staff opposing the idea.

Despite decidedly mixed reviews, the initiative returned full force in the fall—Stillings has gone completely trayless this year, and other dining halls are moving in the same direction with their own efforts to discourage tray use. It'll take some education, says Jon Plodzik '89, UNH dining director, but the results will be worth it once diners get used to the idea that they can help reduce overall costs and waste by as much as 30 percent. Besides, fewer trays in the dining rooms could mean more trays on the slopes. (Turns out they make excellent sleds.)

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