Howard University Dining by Sodexo announced on Instagram the impending arrival of new to-go boxes that will be offered in Bethune Annex and Armour J. Blackburn cafes. The to-go boxes are all a part of an initiative to help tackle food insecurity that happens on campus, according to Sodexo marketing manager.
The to-go boxes are 100 percent recyclable and provided by Ozzi, a company that specializes in providing reusable kitchen resources. They can be given to students as they swipe in to eat with dining dollars or otherwise personal finances. Reusable cups are also included with the to-go box.
Chaheed Campbell, Sodexo marketing manager, said the details behind this program have been in the works for a long time.
“We really wanted to put this forward so that students could have an option to take their food to go,” he said. “This is something we’ve been working really hard on for them to get this option.”
The program, officially called “Bison on the Move,” is set to begin in the coming weeks, said Campbell. He said there isn’t yet an official start date.
Once a student receives their box, they’ll also receive a token. This token is used for a machine that cleans the boxes to ensure students can continue to safely use them. Although students can also clean the box themselves, Campbell doesn’t recommend it due to sanitation concerns.
A 2017 study from the National Institutes of Health found among the college students surveyed, “15 percent were food insecure and an additional 16 percent were at risk for food insecurity.” The study also noted students receiving multiple forms of financial aid or experiencing housing problems would be more likely to be food insecure.
Campbell also noted how some students might feel the staff was being strict regarding taking food out of the dining halls, however, it was due to the lack of proper resources.
“In the two years that I’ve been here, it’s been in the works. We’ve just been trying different options for students to fight food insecurity and we finally got the materials to do it,” he said.
Many students find that the to-go boxes becoming an option will be a lot more convenient for their busier schedules.
Nathan Morgan, a sophomore civil engineering major, thinks that it’ll make eating food from the dining halls a lot more accessible.
“It’s going to be great for a lot of the students who don’t get to eat in the dining halls as much and may have more credits [they’re taking each semester], where they may need to eat while they’re in class or in their room,” Morgan said. “I just think it’s an overall great idea.”
Saniya Hall, a sophomore political science major, was eating lunch with Morgan in the Blackburn cafe and agreed as well. She felt that the to-go boxes would lead to a much more convenient way of factoring in eating with her busy schedule this semester.
“It’d be helpful because I have a lot of credits this semester so I feel like being able to come get food and take it with me is more convenient,” Hall said.
The pair eat at both Annex and Blackburn cafes quite often, mentioning that they go to either cafe at least once or twice a day.
Another pair of students that frequent the dining halls often are freshman health science majors Teruno Hyman and Mekhi Garner. The two were eating lunch together and highlighted that they were in the cafe at least three times a day.
“I’m in love with it, I need to go boxes because I’m always eating. It would definitely help because I am busy a lot of the time and it’ll help with getting around places without having to come here,” Hyman said.
Garner mentioned that it would be a lot better if they could take their food with them and continue on with their day. “It would be convenient,” Garner said, “I’m a busy person with just school.”
Copy edited by Alana Matthew