Members of student leadership approached students with a short survey. One of the questions on the survey asked, “If Sodexo were to purchase only locally grown or Fair Trade food at Whitworth for the dining hall, would you be willing to pay more in meal plans?” The result: most students would not be willing to pay more for meal plans even if Whitworth purchase only locally grown or Fair Trade food items. However, Sodexo already makes an effort to purchase locally grown or fair trade foods.
“Sodexo recently started a campaign called ‘Get Local in the Dining Hall’ which displays all of the places where Whitworth buys locally,” Sodexo marketing intern Larissa Bitton said.
“Our professionally trained chefs write our menus to take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally in season in the Northwest,” according to the Whitworth Dining website.
Sustainability efforts have been also on the rise in the dining hall. A few years ago, Whitworth got rid of serving trays in order to conserve water being used to wash the trays as well as to reduce the amount of food waste. Within the last couple of years, napkin dispensers have been removed from tables and placed near the eating utensils.
“We do that so students don’t overuse the napkins, and we have ended up using less napkins than in years past,” Bitton said.
According to the Whitworth Dining website, all of the napkins are also made from 100 percent recycled material and less power is used to recycle paper products rather than to make them from virgin material.
Sustainability efforts are happening outside of the dining hall as well. The Mind & Hearth no longer sells bottled water. Students can also find reusable mugs in the coffee shop free to use in place of paper cups for their beverages.
Sodexo continues to strive for a sustainable dining experience. Further efforts depend on student interest, funding and accessibility.
Contact Sasha Siclait at