Dartmouth’s Green2Go Program is a student driven initiative that reduces dining waste by providing students with reusable take-out containers in select dining facilities.
“I think what is interesting about Green2Go is that it started as a student initiative and it has grown thanks to really good collaboration between students and Dartmouth Dining staff,” says Assistant Director of Sustainability, Jenna Musco. “It’s been really cool to see the continuity, the willingness to keep piloting and trying to get it right!”
For a one-time investment of $4 students purchase a reusable container, fill it with food, and can bring it back to any dining location on campus. Students can exchange their used boxes for clean ones, or a person can take a token—a carabiner—that can be turned in for a box at a later date.
Green2Go launched two years ago when Sustainability Fellow Madison Sabol ‘18, who was working as a Waste Intern in the Sustainability Office at the time, introduced the program in the Class of ‘53 Commons. In the winter of 2018, Abby Bresler ‘21 and Meriam Fouad ‘21 helped pilot an expansion to the Courtyard Cafe.
Fouad says she was excited about an expansion because it was an opportunity to do some ‘on the ground’ work on waste. “There are so many ways to tackle waste,” says Fouad. “I had done a lot of work raising awareness about waste issues prior to Dartmouth and I wanted something that was more structural. Green2Go seemed like a really good fit.”
This year, with the help of Sam Newman ‘22, Bresler and Fouad expanded the program to become the only take out option at the Courtyard Cafe, and they say an expansion to Collis is in the works.
“As a freshman, realizing how student driven change is on campus has been very empowering,” says Newman, who helped design stickers and other visual materials to promote Dining’s transition to Green2Go and gain student support. “I think visual communication is extremely important, especially on a college campus. Stickers are hopefully a way to spark conversation.”
Gaining student support hasn’t been easy. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback on the program-- some good, some bad,” says Bresler. “There is always going to be push back from people when you introduce a change to daily life. When we explain the bigger picture, people start to come around. In the process we’ve also gotten some really helpful ideas from students who had criticism.” Some of these idea include a system that enables student IDs to track when students check containers in and out, and increasing the number of collection sites on campus.
Don Reed, Associate Director of Dartmouth Dining, says he is excited to see Green2Go gaining momentum. “It’s another step in improving our sustainable goals, reducing our carbon footprint, and reducing single use plastics and what is being sent to landfill.” He also says he’s enjoyed engaging students in the process. “It’s been excellent, they have been patient throughout the process. It has gone very well.”
Bresler, Fouad and Newman say they imagine a waste free Dartmouth dining experience in the next 10 years. “All three of us have done visioning exercise where we imagine people coming to tour Dartmouth Dining facilities similar to how people tour Middlebury Biomass plant to learn about sustainable energy,” says Bresler. “We’ve already had students from other colleges reach out to us and Dartmouth Dining to learn about the program. We think Dartmouth is on track to be a leader in sustainable dining.”