University Program Helping To Reduce Campus Food Waste

Jan 10, 2018

Volunteers gather around collected food supplies.

Student budgets are often a juggle between want and necessity. For many, food spending declines as textbook purchases and extra-curricular spending rises. 

The Student Nutrition Access Center office, or SNAC, on Utah State University campus offers students access to a convenient food pantry while also fulfilling a mission of reducing food waste on campus.  

“So SNAC in various forms, first started out in 2010," said Nelda Ault-Dyslin who is with the Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning. "There was a student who realized that there was a need, and at the time, university students weren’t allowed to go to the community food pantry if they needed help. And so this student started up a campus food pantry with the intention of having the university students support it. They didn’t have great success when they first started, but over the years, USU Student Involvement took over and welcomed them into the TSC [Taggart Student Center] and we’ve been growing ever since.”                  

While it is true that some food is lost during the production and processing stages of the supply chain, studies done by the National Resources Defense Council show that 60% of food waste comes from homes and businesses.

Nelda says the program at USU has been a success for many reasons, including enthusiastic assistance from the university’s dining services. The program has been able to save over 1 ton of food every month.

"In the year 2017, we have recovered 23,527lbs. of food,” Ault-Dyslin said.

The program, while helping students and the community, brings to light how much food would otherwise be sent directly to the landfill. Food waste remains a growing problem in the United States, but innovative solutions like the SNAC program are helping to redistribute resources and feed families throughout the county.