With Chartwell’s introduction of the Green To-Go food container service this week, gone are the days of students hiding and sneaking food out of Sam’s Place and Freeman Dining Hall.
Many Montclair State students have, at some point found themselves running late on their way to class, work, an internship or appointment with little time to enjoy a sit-down meal at one of the traditional dining halls.
For several years, students have tried to get around this problem by taking food out of the traditional-style dining halls, Sam’s Place and Freeman Dining Hall, to eat on-the-go, since these eateries typically have ready-made food available to students throughout the day with little-to-no wait.
Montclair State did not previously allow students to take food items from traditional dining halls on campus. If a student tried to take food out of Sam’s Place or Freeman Dining Hall, he or she would often be barred at the door by one of the dining hall’s employees and asked to either finish the food inside or dispose of it before exiting.
This policy led students to attempt all sorts of tactics for taking food out of the dining hall surreptitiously, from putting pieces of fruit or cookies in their pockets, to wrapping whole sandwiches or bagels in napkins and wax paper to take to class, to the ever-popular strategy of having a friend be on the lookout for the perfect opportunity to make a speedy exit without being noticed by any of the employees in the dining hall.
This program offers take-out as an option at the dining hall for the first time since the creation of Sam’s Place in 2011 and renovation of Freeman Dining Hall in 2012.
How It Works
According to an informational email, employees at Sam’s Place and Freeman Dining Hall will now ask students who have meal plans through Dining Services whether they want to eat in or take out when they enter the facility.
Students who want to take food out will be given a plastic, green container from a Green To-Go station, which they can fill up with the food that they want to take away.
It’s not enough for students merely to take the containers and leave, however. They also have to return the green to-go boxes to the dining hall the next time that they come and lightly rinse them before they hand them back over to the dining hall employees for further cleaning.
Returned containers will then be washed thoroughly by staff and reused.
Any students who fail to return their containers by the end of the semester will be charged $5.
Why Introduce Green To-Go?
Montclair State Dining Services, in a frequently asked questions pamphlet, listed convenience and sustainability as the major reasoning behind the new program. Students have long wanted to take food out of the dining halls when they are in a hurry and this option will finally grant them that wish without any secrecy.
“We understand the need for our students to take meals on-the-go for dining outside of the resident dining halls to meet with their busy course and work schedules,” said Dining Services.
The containers are especially convenient because they are microwaveable, which allows students to heat up food in their residence halls, even after the dining halls close for the night.
Additionally, since the containers are reusable, they can reduce the amount of waste that might be used if the university were to provide Styrofoam or paper products to allow students to take items freely from the dining halls.
Resident students Zach Haleblian, Nic Zarro, Ryan Morford and Bunmi Toyosi all agreed that allowing students to take food out of the dining halls via Green To-Go was a much-needed and long-overdue addition to dining on campus.
“They waste a lot of food and have over the years,” said Morford about dining at Sam’s Place. “Why waste that much food if you can take it out?”
Morford also recalled “getting yelled at” for taking food out of the dining halls in years past and was happy to know that this will no longer be a problem at the traditional dining halls.
“It’s very convenient for people who don’t live in Machuga [Heights],” said Toyosi. “If it’s snowing, they can bring food to their rooms and not be hungry at night.”