Sledding tradition continues in spite of trayless dining


File photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Students enjoy a free day of school in the snow by sledding down the hill behind the Knoll by Richardson Court with dining hall trays. Using trays for sledding is slowly becoming extinct with the Memorial Union being the last dining facility with trays.

Kendra Alley

Iowa State is going trayless as part of the “live green” movement on campus. The dining centers are no longer offering trays to students to carry their food items.

The trayless movement is “part of the push for sustainability on campus,” said Cameron Aisenbrey, communications specialist for the residence halls.

Having various plates opposed to trays has reduced food costs for ISU Dining and has reduced food waste from students by 50 percent.

The trays were used this summer to create a sculpture that was presented at the Iowa State Fair. Iowa State’s theme for the exhibit this year was “Iowa State is Living Green.” The exhibit used the trays to create a tower and described how no longer using the trays has saved the comparable amount of 50,000 meals from being thrown out.

The “live green” movement on campus is very important, but with the trays gone, students are concerned it will hinder an ISU tradition.

What about the sledding?

A long-standing tradition for ISU freshman is borrowing trays from the dining halls and using them to go sledding at the various “hot spots” on campus. The dining centers will no longer have trays to carry on the tradition of tray-sledding.

However, Kathleen Geoffroy, wife of ISU President Gregory Geoffory, is not concerned that the tradition will discontinue.

“In recent years, I have seen fewer and fewer trays being used. There have been more inventive things used — laundry baskets and cardboard boxes,” Geoffroy said. 

Another tradition that has been around for years is sledding at the Knoll — the hill behind the Geoffroys’ house. 

When Geoffroy was asked why she thinks the Knoll is considered a special sledding place she said, “I suppose tradition, the older ones must tell the new students it is a great place to go sledding, and it is by the dorms so if you have a half-hour to take a study break, it is nice.”

Also, if you are lucky Geoffroy is known to bring out cookies to students from time to time.

There are many great sledding places around campus — the Knoll is just one of the sledding traditions.

“My freshman year, we went to the Knoll, and last year when I lived in my sorority house we went to the hill west of Hilton, then to the Alumni Center because the hills are steeper,” said Jessica Pearce, non-degree student in human sciences.

Taking the trays away from the dining center will not stop students from continuing the ISU traditions.

“I go sledding every year definitely. Less frostbite as I get older, though,” said Brad Teplicky, sophomore in mechanical engineering.

Many students have found more creative things to use in current years and will keep the tradition alive by going sledding down the Knoll this winter.