Garvey Commons innovation going national

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sodexo flavored water in Garvey Commons

Two innovations tested in the student dining hall – Garvey Commons – are making their way to schools across the country that are served by dining services provider Sodexo.

Flavored water, introduced at St. Cloud State this school year, has proven so popular that Sodexo expects it to appear at many more of the campuses it serves. Six dispensers are filled with layers of ice and cut up fruits and vegetables to create water that tastes of lemons, limes, oranges, cucumbers, mint, apples, strawberries or other seasonal fruits or vegetables. One of the students’ favorites? Cucumber.

Students are drinking their way through approximately 150 gallons a day of the filtered, flavored water, and soda usage is down.

The concept of dining without benefit of trays, first piloted last fall, has been approved by Student Government for the long term. Going trayless saves 650-750 pounds of food and 400-500 gallons of water a day, and use of chemicals like soap and rinse solution is down 10 percent.

Though the trayless approach requires more trips to and from food stands, student reaction has been positive. “Definitely, yes,” responded two-thirds of the students surveyed. “The benefits to the environment outweigh any inconvenience in going without trays.”

Sodexo is now working with the Residence Hall Association to explore ways to use the savings, one possibility being late night service.

St. Cloud State was the first university served by Sodexo in Minnesota where the trayless concept was introduced, but staff expect that their results will lead to similar efforts across the Sodexo system.

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