There is an article in The New York Times today that talks about a popular dining hall program at Berkeley College at Yale that serves organic and seasonal food. “A Dining Hall Where Students Sneak In” states, “The dining hall is the outgrowth of Yale’s Sustainable Food Project, which was started to support area farmers and promote healthier eating by serving mostly locally produced, seasonal crops and organic ingredients.” Examples include, “fair-trade coffee – hoping to provide higher wages to the laborers who pick the beans – hormone-free and antibiotic-free milk from cows that are allowed to graze, and fresh-cut potato chips from organic potatoes grown in Connecticut.” At the same time, the program isn’t totally doctrinaire — it still offers All-American staples such as Hershey’s chocolate syrup and sodas. As one of the students noted, “There’d be a rebellion if they ran out of blue Gatorade.”

It’s so popular that Yale students from other colleges try and eat there, with varying degrees of success (apparently at Yale you can only eat in the dining hall of the college you’re affiliated with). While administrators note the program is a hit, they also point out that its 50% more expensive for the university than the regular meal program. (It sounds as if Yale is currently subsidizing this experiment and not burdening students with the extra cost.)

Any thoughts on this for Williams? Could Williams students be similarly enticed, and if the program were adopted college-wide, would parents be willing to pay the increased room and board fee?

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