Valentine Hall Takes Measures to Prevent Loss of Supplies
By Maggie Huang '13, Staff Writer
Valentine Dining Hall is going to compile an inventory of dining supplies and try to gather missing supplies and increase student awareness of the shortage.

According to Dining Services Director Charles Thompson, the turnout for missing china, flatware, cups and glasses seems to be the highest in years. The shortage had intensified by the end of last December.

Chef Manager Howie Morrison agreed, citing one instance of shortage. “We purchased 40 dozen cups and in six or seven days, it was all gone,” Morrison said.

Evening Service Leader Scott Shippey affirmed the missing china, flatware and cups. “Halfway through lunch or dinner, we would be short of plates, cups and silverware,” Shippey said, adding that they experienced the most severe shortage for cups.

Val plans to recover the missing supplies by collaborating with Physical Plant custodians, residential counselors and the college administration. Over spring break, the custodians will gather any supplies from dormitory rooms and kitchens. Val will ask residential counselors to inform students about the shortage and encourage the return of the items.

Val plans to announce the numbers from the inventory via table tents or informational banners and work with the Green Amherst Project in spreading awareness. In past years, there had been inventories, but this year, due to the rapid purchase and replacement of dining supplies, no inventory has been compiled.

“We want to let folks know what is happening, in addition to the cost associated with that,” Thompson said.

Val is using funds from the overall dining services budget because it has overspent the china and glass budget due to the cost of purchasing paper plates and replacing china. According to Thompson, this will most likely affect the budget for food, which might lead to the disappearance of the noodle bar, special wraps and other expensive foods.

“The cost of taking china out of the building is ultimately going to cost the students and Amherst College,” Thompson said.

The missing dining supplies will also impact the environment and the operations in Val. More paper plates adds to the waste stream, and the efficiency of the dining hall is reduced. “(The students) keep calling for plates, and we keep running out,” Shippey said. “That puts a strain on the workers in the dish room and things functioning normally.”

Due to the shortage of supplies, the disposables have been reinstated. Shippey speculates that taking away the disposables have led to students taking the mugs.

They have also tried stationing staff at the exits to ensure that students were not taking dining supplies. “Having to put someone at the exit is a ridiculous use of labor,” Thompson said. “We are certainly open to suggestions.”

Thompson encouraged students to not remove supplies from the dining hall in the first place and to use the College travel mug. “The cost of replacing (china, flatware, cups and glasses) affects the masses,” he said.

Students especially feel the effect of the shortage. “It’s harder to find a plate for waffle-making or food in general,” Kim Wilkes ’13 said. “I wish (the dining ware) would sprout little legs and come back or that people would buy more Tupperware.”

Issue 18, Submitted 2010-03-10 05:18:02