Although environmental sustainability was one of the key aspects that student and teachers rated poorly, it seems that the food court restaurants are taking action to improve on this. Take New Fork, for example. “We only use bio-plastics and environmentally sustainable forks and knives, and we’ve replaced plastic straws with renewable bamboo straws”, says an employee from behind the counter. Starbucks is also avoiding the use of paper cups by offering coffee mugs that can be returned once the customer had finished the drink.

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Food court and campus supermarket must be healthier and more sustainable

Students and staff are less satisfied with the supermarket and food court on campus…

Classic kebab

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Fikret Egemen from HAS Kebab

Fikret Egemen, manager at HAS Kebab, boldly stated that he is doing ‘everything possible to reduce waste’. Like New Fork, Egemen has replaced all single waste products with bio-plastics and recyclable paper bowls. He is still finding a way to go fully renewable: “Unfortunately, we haven’t replaced the aluminium tins for kapsalon because the paper bowls burn on the top when placed in the oven. I’m still trying to find a solution for this.” In terms of health, Egeman has also introduced various salads that include healthy food items like bulgur. However, he still defends the classic kebab since ‘the chicken is only grilled – it’s only the added sauce and fries that make the meal unhealthy’.

Neither Sohmi nor Satebar have a concrete plan yet to address sustainability, although they both insist that their food items are fresh and that their meals include a varied selection of vegetables.

Plastic bags

Campus supermarket Spar didn’t want to reveal detailed plans at the moment. “We can’t disclose too much about our future plans. But we’re working on including fresher and healthier products.” According to the spokesperson, Spar is also planning to reduce waste after complaints about the amount of litter coming from the shop.

Inside Spar, Simon was diligently conducting research for his masters in Management counting the number of single use cups and plastics bags used at Spar in his notebook. “I believe that one of the worst things in Spar is the excessive use of plastic bags that students use for the bread and pastries. They use it today, throw it away and pick up a new one the next day.” Giacomo, Marketing Management student, agrees: “I feel that Spar uses way too much plastic. Regarding the food court, I don’t head there too often because it’s got too much of a ‘fast food’ feel for me and it lacks variety.”

Too expensive

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IBCoM student Sebastian with his Starbucks coffee Image credit: Pietro Vigilanza

Whilst slowly sipping coffee from his Starbucks paper cup, IBCoM student Sebastian also had remarks about the current offerings: “Starbucks should do more to promote the fact that they offer mugs – I was slow to react and took a disposable cup. I also think that the only healthy option is New Fork, but it’s way too expensive. I feel that the food options would be better if the Dutch universities adopt a German model where the university takes full responsibility for the food, rather than privately owned restaurants.”

Although hygiene and cleanliness scored a lot higher than last year, not everyone is convinced that the food court is the cleanest place on campus. Alexandra, Masters in Law student, for example, revealed that she had ‘once seen a rat running in the canteen’.

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