On Wednesday, October 18th, The Office of Sustainability hosted an event called Sustainability Day. It focused on locally-sourced products and goods. In their latest newsletter they wrote “ (We) are committed to serving the Lesley community as we work together to preserve our natural resources.” Lesley has long become the standard for which colleges practice sustainability. Our buildings have received US Green Building Council Awards and EPA recognition, as well as constantly hosting events such as RecycleMania! and Walk/Bike Day and Sustainability Day.
On October 18, White Hall Dining moved outside, while Bon Appetit highlighted products from farms and producers in New England. There were also multiple local vendors and small businesses promoting their locally sourced goods. In addition there was a free tire pump from Quad Bikes, in order to promote bike riding in the city.
In the past, students have often been critical of White Hall for what they see as a lack of options and an inability to accommodate each student’s needs. However Nicole Cardwell of Bon Appetit does not believe White Hall deserves a negative reputation. In fact, she informed me that they actually use sustainable practices in each of their meals. “Bon Appetit at Lesley puts great care into sourcing the most sustainable ingredients possible every day — [and] not just on Sustainability Day. Our chefs cook from scratch, including all stocks, sauces and salad dressing; they regularly purchase from small, local, owner operated farmers and artisans, such as High Lawn Dairy and Horse Listeners’ Orchard; source seafood according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guidelines for sustainability, and have the furthest reaching animal welfare policies in the food service industry.”
Based on the students I talked with, the Sustainability event made a good impression. Some student expressed the view that Lesley is doing the right thing to focus on sustainability. For example, Xaelel Allen-Caballero told me that “Sustainability means being able to maintain the prosperity of the environment, [by] working together to help keep a balance of natural resources.” But she also said that overall, everyone at Lesley could be doing much more for the environment. But another student, Nick Iadevaio, said that while “it’s nice that Bon Appetit is doing something like this to help the environment, I think there are more important issues with the dining hall– like cleanliness, food options, and over all taste.”
And while many students stopped by to take part in the event, and they seemed to enjoy it, the food was definitely the main event. There were mostly people there just to eat; I don’t know how many of them were also thinking about what needs to be done in their own lives to promote sustainability. Still, it was great to see our school and local businesses coming together, making the effort to keep our students better informed about this important issue.