By Jethro Swain
We pay $30,000 to come to this school so we can have the best teachers, the best classrooms, the best facilities, and the best meals, however, holding a humble lunch with a simple menu is something that I would say is very “OES”.
By that I mean that OES has many programs and events to increase our cultural and societal growth and learning. Just to name a few there’s Culture Shock, service learning days during Octoberim and Mt. Hood Climb, and Project Second Wind.
But what about the Humble Lunch? What purpose does it serve? Are we really putting ourselves in the place of those who we’re trying to raise awareness for, or was the Humble Lunch more about the message?
“When SLAC approached me it was about putting ourselves in other people’s shoes,” said General Manager of Bon Appetit, Kelly Cowing. “We’re spoiled with our choices in food with Bon Appetit. To take ourselves out of that and just be offered a few choices is bringing awareness and creating some empathy for those who can only afford a meal of beans and rice, or less.”
On Tuesday, April 11, SLAC and Bon Appetit worked together to make lunch a simple, humble lunch of just brown rice, beans, and some vegetables. There was a lot of backlash from the student body about the lunch. “It’s not quite what I was looking for nutritionally in my lunch that day, so I got a Subway footlong sandwich instead” said Alex O. More students that usual went off campus for lunch. The lunchroom was less active than it normally is.
But for those who did participate, the lunch yielded some good results. “There was very little waste at the end of the day. Normally students and adults both take whatever they want, and we have about 180 lbs. a day of waste. On the Humble Lunch day, we had 40 lbs. of waste,” said Kelly.
The limited options resulted in 450% less food waste. How much of that was determined by the decrease of students in the lunchroom can’t be calculated, but those who kept an open mind were able to finish their food and enjoy it, all of it. “People were more conscious about what they took and so there was less waste at the end,” Kelly said.
After the success of the first Humble Lunch, Kelly hopes it can happen again. “I think it could be really successful. It helps keep ourselves and check every once in awhile. Taking 20-30 minutes every once in a while to put ourselves in other people’s shoes remind us of how good we have it, as well as create a sense of empathy for others.”