The University of Pittsburgh gives new meaning to "baggage fees"

Published in FSD Update

Students at the University of Pittsburgh have bagged plastic bags, reducing usage by 80% in just one month. At the beginning of February, the dining services team, managed by Sodexo, implemented a quota limiting students to a maximum of 15 bags per semester, or about one bag per week, after environmentally conscious students shared concerns about excess plastic bag usage. Instead, students must BYOB—bring your own bag—when purchasing items at campus facilities. They also can take a bag from “bring a bag, leave a bag” containers near checkout lanes.

Staff monitor plastic bag usage through the existing online cash register system. If students exceed their bag quota within the semester, they will be charged 25 cents for each additional bag. A portion of the proceeds from the campaign will go to Green Fund, a student-run organization focused on environmental and sustainability issues.

In addition to social media announcements, posters were placed in and around facilities where plastic bags are available to inform students of the initiative, and student advocates of the program manned information tables outside dining facilities to answer questions. “It’s the right thing to do,” says Susan Fukushima, resident district manager for Sodexo at Pittsburgh. “It’s important to do anything that we can to be more sustainable on campus.” 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
nutrition facts label

Despite operators’ attempts to communicate nutrition information to guests via cards and labels on the food line, many guests still feel they have no clue what’s in their food. University of Illinois food economist Brenna Ellison shares a few guesses as to why consumers ignore these signs following a recent study on their placement in dining halls.

Q: Who is most likely to read the cards?

A: Students who were already exhibiting more healthy behaviors. So those were the students who track their intake using an app or a food diary. After the first week, we found the rates of people...

Managing Your Business
studient orientation

When an alma mater and an employer are one in the same, it can be a win-win for both the employee and the school. Here’s how two students’ experiences with campus dining—one positive and the other negative—led them on a path to their current jobs.

A Feast to Remember

NC State University’s main campus in Raleigh, N.C. was built on farmland given to the state by Richard Stanhope Pullen; every spring, students gather to celebrate those agricultural roots through Farm Feast, an outdoor celebration with food and music. Design major Christin King remembers her first Farm Feast vividly: “...

People in Foodservice
lucretia chancler

Lucretia Chancler’s roots lie in Louisiana’s St. Landry Parish. She grew up in the parish, and her mother taught in the school district for 33 years—even occasionally teaching young Lucretia. Advanced degrees and a post-grad job took her to Colorado, Georgia and other places, but St. Landry soon called Chancler back home.

In October 2009, Chancler returned to Louisiana to become St. Landry’s supervisor of child nutrition. The parish’s economic makeup is a big driver behind Chancler’s local mission: More than 85% of the 14,000 students at the parish’s 32 schools are eligible for...

Menu Development
chefs council spread

Last October, we published the results of FoodService Director’s first annual Chefs’ Council Menu Trends survey, revealing predictions for menu shake-ups in 2016 . Many of the predictions panned out, including an increase in snacking, ever-spicier flavor profiles, veg-centric plates, fresh-pressed juices and build-your-own options. Now we’re back with next year’s forecast, culled from our panel of 50 Chefs’ Council members—culinarians representing the core segments of noncommercial foodservice. Some of the flavors, ingredients and cuisines expand on current trends, while others go off in...

FSD Resources