Thursday, April 26, 2012

Clam shells replace current to-go boxes

By Emma Stenzel
Managing & Advertising Editor

In an effort to become more sustainable, Saint Mary’s University will be eliminating the cafeteria’s disposable to-go boxes and replacing them with reusable “clam shell” containers beginning immediately in the fall semester of the 2012-2013 academic year.

The clam shells, suggested by Students Organizing Sustainability (SOS), were approved by SMU administration who is finalizing details with Chartwells staff, said Chris Kendall, vice president of Student Life.

Kendall said that next fall when, students want to take a meal to go from the cafeteria, they will be charged a one-time $5 deposit for clam shell access for the entire school year. Students must return their used containers in order to receive a new container each time they take a meal to go. If students give their clam shells back after each use without throwing them away or losing them, they will receive their $5 deposit back at the end of the year, said Kendall.

He added that administration still needs to determine how to track checked-out containers, either by monitoring them electronically by swiping student IDs or by exchanging a poker chip for the clam shell.

“This will take some serious cooperation and personal responsibility for people who do this,” said Kendall. “Like any change, it will take a little while to get used to, but I think it will work well. We’ve seen other schools carry this out successfully, so we know it’s possible.”

Founder and President of SOS Tina Swanberg also noted that students will need time to adjust to the change and take more initiative towards responsibility.

“Once this is implemented, I’m afraid of it becoming an inconvenience for everyone, like if they forget to bring it back and then can’t check out a new one,” said Swanberg. “We will just have to find ways to remind ourselves that we have to return the boxes, and
eventually the inconvenience will go away.”

Foam and paper products will not be available for taking meals to go from the cafeteria. Kendall said that clam shells will not be implemented into the Cardinal Club or Cotter Café until later in the school year, if at all.

“This is just another piece of a long series of awareness of our impact on the environment,” said Kendall. “Frankly, I am delighted in the fact that the students are concerned with what we consume and waste. We’re becoming part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

For more information about the clam shells, contact Chris Kendall at or SOS at and visit

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