Let’s Eat with Professor Karen Berger

Campus dining is an integral part of our daily lives; it’s where we get three meals a day! As an
environmentally conscious student, I am always looking for ways I can improve how I eat
sustainably. Who better to ask for advice than an environmental science professor?

Professor Karen Berger teaches in the Earth and Environmental Science department and is
Co-Chair of the University Council on Sustainability. Her expertise provides valuable insight on
how we can eat more sustainably and ways we can improve in the future. So let’s eat… with one
of our favorite professors!

We’re heading to Douglass Dining Hall, luckily we’ve caught Professor Berger on a day when
she has enough time between classes to have a sit down meal in the dining hall. She loves the
Street and Asian food stations. On her busier days she chooses to eat at the Faculty Club.

Dining halls are a great way to have an environmentally friendly meal. They don’t use
disposable plates or silverware, except at the Kosher station, so everything is washed and
reused. Beverages come from a machine rather than served in bottles, and the vast array of
stations gives you plenty of choices for your meal. However, Professor Berger cautions on the
stations, she says “ Although you may not like waiting in line multiple times, it’s better to get less
food the first time through the lines so that you are less likely to waste food if you overestimate
your appetite.”

When asked what changes she’s seen in her time here, Professor Berger describes
renovations, removal of trays, and a commitment to purchase local food. She likes the success
of these endeavors, and also likes the recent push toward “plant-forward food options,” as she
frequently eats her meals vegan or vegetarian.

Professor Berger emphasizes that her favorite thing dining has done is the local food program,
which benefits campus, the environment, and the local off campus community. 62% of our food
purchasing is local. Professor Berger hopes to see this program continue to grow, as the
symbiotic relationship has proven extremely beneficial.

With some final thoughts, Professor Berger offers some important advice to our caffeine fueled
campus: Always carry a reusable mug! Not only is it good for the environment and bigger than
the cups offered in the dining hall, but you get a discount at any on-campus coffee shop.

Overall, there is a growing amount of sustainable options on campus. With consciousness as
we eat our meals (and buy our coffee), we can all easily eat a little more sustainably each day.

Go green with Dining Team Green. Want more information on sustainability in dining? Follow
us on facebook , instagram , and twitter @ursustainable. Want to start a conversation? We’d love to hear from you! You can contact us at urdiningteamgreen@gmail.com.

Guest Post written by Phoebe Konecky, Dining Team Green Sustainability Coordinator, Class of
2021

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