Iowa State Dining introduces to-go containers


Photo: Abigail Barefoot/Iowa State Daily

Stephanie Flattery, sophomore in intergrated studio arts, picks up lunch in a to-go container before returning to class Thursday at Conversations Dining Center.

Karen Jennings

The beginning of the 2010 school year introduced the first to-go option for campus dining centers. Now, at mid-semester, ISU Dining To-Go Containers have begun to gain popularity among students.

ISU Dining managers teamed up to create the To-Go Containers in order to combat Styrofoam alternatives that existed prior to this year.

“I enjoy having [the containers], they’re reusable and I like the reduce, reuse, recycle [philosophy],” said Maggie Shirley, sophomore in psychology.

Along with eliminating unnecessary waste and promoting sustainability, the containers also provide convenience to some students and make dining centers more accessible for them.

“[The containers] are wonderful, because it allows students to run between classes, grab a bite to eat and take them for study groups,” said Jeni Ross, Union Drive Community Center Dining Center manager.

Students have found the additional convenience helpful in utilizing campus dining centers, without having to take time to sit and eat.

“If I have a test with no time to eat, it’s good because I can eat while I study,” Shirley said.

Despite the convenience the containers provide, some students have found the 10-minute time limit allowed to fill them short at times. 

“Ten minutes is a good idea, but when it’s busy it may be an issue,” Shirley said.

Although this problem can take place around peak hours, the limit is in place to keep the experience quick, and make sure students don’t take more than they pay for, Ross said.

“[Students] get 10 minutes to [get their food], which is long enough to get to all of the food venues without sitting to eat another meal,” Ross said.

The containers allow students to utilize their meal plans without restricting them to eating in the dining centers. They’re durable, microwavable and environment-friendly.

“[The containers] become part of your routine, you grab your keys, grab your phone and grab your To-Go Container,” said Chantel Roberts, sustainability coordinator for ISU Dining. “They [also] set an example for students and have a better [environmental] impact.”