OZZI Machine Solves Wastefulness at North End Dining

 

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The OZZI machine.

 

The OZZI Machine will allow the switch from disposables to reusables starting next semester at North End Dining at Marist College.

“OZZI is a revolutionary system that eliminates traditional disposable take-out containers for all segments of the foodservice industry by utilizing enhanced technology,” said Tom Wright, the president of OZZI. “OZZI is designed for college and university campus dining centers.”

When a student orders food, the student gives the cashier a ‘token’ in exchange for the reusable, OZZI container that their food will be served in. Upon completion of the student’s meal, they bring the container to the OZZI machine located in the North End Dining facility which scans the container and spits out a token to be used for the student’s next meal. Once the machine is at capacity for containers it can hold, it will alert the staff who will then collect, clean and restock.

“As a college campus with on-going sustainability initiatives, we hope to engage the entirety of the student body and staff members to value and pursue their environmental responsibilities,” said Steve Sansola, director of student affairs at Marist.

Marist College students are estimated to waste 142 pounds of food each year. Beyond the issue of food sitting in the landfill, it is also sitting in plastic containers that can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. From noodle bowls to salads, everything is served in a single-use, disposable container at North End Dining. The OZZI machine will take these away and replace them with reusable containers.

“The impact of that waste is not often considered and therefore we do not even reach the point of thinking about how we can reduce it. That waste is taking up valuable space when stored in a landfill, polluting our air when incinerated, and negatively impacting our environment in all cases,” said Aaron Tod, a Marist College senior initiating the input of OZZI.

With the support of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) on campus and the Marist College Dining Services, the machine is set to be installed this coming June.

“This system pushes students to be aware of and accountable for the amount of waste they are producing and therefore make a personal decision to reduce that by using an OZZI container,” said Kate Cole, Sodexo marketing coordinator.

Whether students will use the machine will be determined next semester.

“I don’t see why everything needs to be on plastic plates and bowls. Most people stay and eat in the North End, so they could just have metal forks and everything else,” said Becci Casas, a Marist College student.

Due to the lack of dishwashing space in the back and students’ tendencies to steal the dishes, this is not possible. The accountability aspect of OZZI with the tokens will help solve the issue of theft.

“North End Dining serves a few thousand meals per week; if everyone were willing to do their part and choose to have their food come in a reusable container, as a Marist community, we could make a significant difference,” said Phoebe Smith, Sodexo sustainability intern.

Sodexo, Marist students, and CSAC are excited about OZZI’s potential to reduce waste on campus while positively impacting the environment.

 

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Single-use plastic noodle bowl at North End.

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Plastic forks and coffee cups used by student Brian at the North End.

 

 

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Students at Higher Risks for Eating Disorders

Twenty percent of women and ten percent of men suffer from eating disorders in college, and social media doesn’t help, according to mental health experts. 

“The core of an eating disorder usually isn’t about being skinny or fat – no matter how much someone tells them they look ok, they might not believe it themselves,” said Emma Shafer, a senior at the University of Southern California suffering from an eating disorder.

There are many types of eating disorders, but all consist of abnormal eating habits usually caused by an obsession with weight, body appearance, and food. As 30 million people have eating disorders in the United States alone, this is a serious issue that can cause many lifelong detrimental health effects and even death.

“Some people may see eating disorders as phases, fads or lifestyle choices, but they’re actually serious mental disorders,” said Alina Petre, a registered dietician at Healthline.

Anorexia nervosa is the most common eating disorder where, generally women, feel they are overweight, even when they are severely underweight. This constant need to be thin breaks people emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

Anthony Cabral said that his “friend developed anorexia during college. She is one of the fastest runners I know, but in order to maintain her records, she has resulted to very unhealthy eating habits.” Cabral said, “I think this is due to unrealistic expectations of the ways bodies should look and the immense amount of pressure on young adults today.”

According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), eating disorders start to develop in people ages 18 to 21. This range reflects most of the college demographic. Today, college puts so much pressure on students to succeed and have an active social life, all while adjusting to a new environment away from home.

Shafer said, “When you move away from home there is a lack of accountability and supervision, lack of consistent and structured meals, as well as stress without having your parents. Also, alcohol and freshman eating definitely contribute to both weight gain and stress around weight gain. Everyone is talking about it and your body is changing as a young person. It’s very hard to adjust. The worry around these subjects can provide a point to fixate on. The beginning of college is so much change in general that it may bring up these behaviors.”

Many people with eating disorders over-exercise, go on extreme diets and try to make themselves throw-up just to lose weight. This increase in stress results in controlled eating or binge eating as the only way for people with these disorders to cope.

In addition, “social media has been shown to increase body dissatisfaction which is a risk factor for eating disorders,” said Lauren Smolar, Director of Programs at the NEDA.

The media portrays women having this “perfect” body. Usually, this is a tall and very skinny girl, but the truth is this is not realistic. Girls are lacking confidence and are trying to change the way they look to represent this body.

“Confidence is something else though that is 100% in your control,” said Victoria Garrick, who overcame her eating disorder and conquered body-image stereotypes. “Try to notice the voice inside of your head, and without judging it or getting upset with yourself, just evaluate if it is helpful or hurtful to who you want to be/what you want to accomplish.”

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Victoria Garrick practicing mindfulness, a tool she used to get over her eating disorder.

Shafer said, “backpacking and hiking fill my cup and allow me to return my confidence when I am not feeling great. Also, yoga, walking with friends, journaling, therapy, music, and podcasts lower my stress and help me cope.”

If you or a loved one is concerned about someone struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out to the NEDA Helpline for support options. Often times, young people can take years to ask for help.

Smolar said, “part of the disorder causes people to feel like they aren’t sick enough or deserving of help. This can make admitting you need support especially challenging but we recommend people seek help as soon as possible.”

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Emma Shafer backpacking in the Sierras.

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Shafer hiking with friends.

Students Devour Meatless Mondays

At the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester, the Marist College Dining Hall added five new vegetarian and vegan initiatives. From Meatless Mondays to vegan smoothies served on “Thirsty Thursdays” the options are tasty and environmentally-friendly.

“There were many requests for a greater vegetarian and vegan presence on our menus, and when students talk, we listen,” said Celeste Gigliotti, Sodexo’s marketing intern.

A vegetarian diet means that someone doesn’t eat meat for moral, religious, or health reasons. Whereas, someone who is a vegan doesn’t use or consume any type of animal product. So, a vegan can’t eat cheese or eggs, whereas most vegetarians do.

“I eat vegan because I believe every life is valuable and I can easily survive without killing animals and the environment,” Sara Craft, a dedicated vegan said. “Being a vegan saves 400,000 gallons of water and 365 animals per person, per year. Growing up with animals I realized that their life is just as valuable as mine and I shouldn’t make another species suffer.”

Livestock agriculture generates more greenhouse gases than cars and trucks combined. That is half of all man-made carbon emissions. Eating a plant-based diet can reduce people’s environmental footprint. This reason, along with many other ethical and economical ones, has converted over 16 million Americans to go vegan or vegetarian. The student feedback from the Fall 2018 Dining Satisfaction Survey reflected that trend. There was an immense level of concern and passion for having more vegetarian and vegan entrees served.

“It’s beneficial to the environment to cut back your meat consumption. The economic benefits lead to when people support local or organic food providers, by frequenting local farmers’ markets or shopping organically,” Gigliotti said. On top of that, “studies have shown that vegetarians and vegans often have lower body mass indexes [BMI’s] than those of meat eaters and they are at a lesser risk for all cancers.”

Sodexo’s addition of Meatless Mondays, vegan smoothie Thursdays, and an avocado toast bar on Friday mornings are just a few of the ways the Dining Hall is getting students interested in eating more veggies. They have even started serving cauliflower wings in North End dining—Millennials favorite vegan trend this year. A twist on traditional chicken wings with fried cauliflower dipped in buffalo sauce instead.

“I love trying all the vegan food options because most of them are new to me. I especially love Meatless Monday,” said Candice Rivera, student supervisor at the Dining Hall. “It is important that people know their options and are able to eat the foods that their diet contains.”

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Students line up at the Meatless Monday station in the Dining Hall.

In addition, the Dining Hall’s Simply Servings station features unique side dishes that are vegan. This week they were serving up vegetable risotto and spinach sautéed with caramelized shallots. In addition, they always offer vegan and vegetarian options during special events. For example, this Valentine’s Day they are offering a full three-course meal, accommodating meat-lovers, lobster enthusiasts, and veggie loyal’s.

“The zucchini noodles, referred to as “zoodles,” were recently featured at Chef’s Table and have been a crowd favorite,” Kate Cole, Sodexo marketing coordinator said. “These options are a collaborative effort between the culinary team and our new on-campus dietitian, Marie Murphy. She received her master’s degree in Nutrition from Hunter College.” Also, “here at Marist, we serve the Beyond Burger in the dining hall on weekends, sister to the impossible burger. These plant-based burgers are critically acclaimed for looking, tasting, and satisfying like beef, as their slogan says.”

If you want to learn more about these initiatives and new meals on campus, follow @MaristEats on Instagram or visit maristdining.com.

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Meatless Monday vegan side dishes.