Ozzi machines face mixed review from students

The Ozzi machines were installed in the Alumni Memorial Union and Schroeder Hall to promote sustainability in the dining halls.
The Ozzi machines were installed in the Alumni Memorial Union and Schroeder Hall to promote sustainability in the dining halls.

One semester after Marquette Student Government unveiled machines in dining halls to reduce use of disposable to-go containers on campus, MUSG said more than 85,000 containers were averted from ending up in trashcans.

MUSG implemented the Ozzi system this past fall as part of a push to promote sustainability at Marquette.

“From what we’ve seen with the launch this year it’s definitely paid off,” said Seth Haines, a freshman MUSG senator representing Straz Tower. “This is a huge step, and one of the best campus launches in the country for this system.”

Although student representatives have lauded the results so far, some dining hall workers are not as impressed by the machines.

“There’s no disputing how environmentally friendly they are compared to the disposable containers, but as a worker they add a lot more trouble for us,” said Brad DeGarmo, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences who works at the Schroeder dining hall.

All underclassmen were given plastic Ozzi boxes to start the year. Students can take these reusable plastic boxes to the Ozzi machines, insert the box and receive a coin in exchange. The coin can be presented to the cashier at the two dining halls offering the Ozzi service: Alumni Memorial Union and Schroeder Hall. MUSG is in discussion plans to add another machine in Mashuda Hall.

Problems arise when the machines break down, though, which DeGarmo said happens “more often than not.”

Another challenge faced by workers is the difficulty of cleaning the reusable boxes.

“Students don’t empty them,” DeGarmo said. “So you open them and you get a strong wave of nausea because it’s not a pleasant smell. Then you need to individually open them and place them in the washing machine. After that you need to individually dry them because there’s no proper way to dry them, and there’s no room to hang them.”

Students using the containers also complain about the system.

With machines only being located in the AMU and Schroeder, students may have to go out of their way to return the boxes. They also might forget to grab their coin to redeem a box.

“The machines are a real inconvenience and a hassle,” said David Newman, a freshman in the College of Engineering. “They cause the students to really have to go out of their way to find a machine. That’s why I don’t use them.”

Other students are annoyed by the unconventional 9-by-9-inch reusable boxes.

“It’s stupid to have to carry around a big plastic container the whole time,” said Christian Cimino, a freshman in the College of Engineering. “It takes up a lot of space if you want to carry it in your backpack. So I just end up eating at the dining hall anyway.”

Despite the system’s heavy criticism, DeGarmo said he does see its benefit.

“I think it’s worth it in the long run, but as a standpoint right now?” he said. “They’re a pain because not as many kids use them as they should. So we’re still putting out a lot of disposables we shouldn’t be.”