I would like to respond to Matt Kufta’s Op-Ed piece from April 20. As a leader of EnvOrg and of the Trayless Cafeteria campaign of two years ago, I would like to object to Kufta’s blatant rewriting of history. On the subject of Trayless Tuesday, Kufta writes: “Our feedback was not compiled, heard, and the conversation turned into a holier-than-thou exercise in demonizing those who wanted to keep their trays.”
Throughout the Trayless campaign, EnvOrg and the cafeteria administrators in fact worked very hard to listen and respond to student feedback on the Trayless cafeteria. We tabled every Tuesday (and every trayless day as the project expanded) in order to hear student and comments and to answer student questions. We created our own comment box, and read and transcribed and compiled every comment we received, both positive and negative (if anyone doubts this, I still have the transcripts on my computer and I would be happy to email them to you). Those transcripts were shared with the Dining Services Committee. We also held several open forums to hear student feedback, though few students in either camp attended. Students were also free to voice their concerns on Sodhexo’s own comment board or with Residential Life. Finally, at the end of Winter quarter, which was the pilot period for Trayless, a poll was sponsored by Residential Life in which 533 community members responded (an unprecedented response rate for the College). 69 percent of respondents endorsed Trayless that day. This vote was eventually endorsed by the Dining Services Committee as well as by President Wilson-Oyelaran, and so Trayless became the official policy of the College. While Trayless Tuesday may not have been initially implemented in a democratic manner, the Trayless policy is a result of student endorsement.
Student opinion was heard and taken seriously, and so I would like to remind Mr. Kufta that sometimes in democratic processes, other people win. I encourage students to voice reasoned opposition to sustainability initiatives here on campus (“F#*! you, dirty EnvOrg hippies!” does not count as reasoned), including to Meatless Mondays. However, please remember that there are also reasoned, and possibly more numerous, voices that may disagree with you.
Ellen Bryna Smith K’11