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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

MarqEats: reducing food waste on campus

Launched in fall semester of 2023, the MarqEats program took several months to get started, but now has over 1,000 students signed up to receive alerts.
Photo by Adam Noon

Food redistribution efforts have been making contributions to Marquette and the Milwaukee community through programs like the Food Recovery Network, and now the implementation of the latest contribution: MarqEats.

Launched in fall semester of 2023, the MarqEats program took several months to get started, but now has over 1,000 students signed up to receive alerts.

With MarqEats, students can turn alerts on in CheckMarq to receive notifications that extra food is available from Sodexo Catering in the Alumni Memorial Union, and any student at Marquette is welcome to sign up.

Christine Little, Manager of Campus Food Recovery and Assistance, said the idea began with brainstorming between herself, Student Affairs, Marquette Dining Services and Marquette University Student Government. She said they picked up this idea from similar programs at other universities as a guideline to beginning Marquette’s. Little said Information Technology Services had to build the alert system into the app, and then train catering on how to use it.

The timeframe between alerts sent out and when students can go grab food is determined by approved catering staff after an event who then text details of where the food is, what the food is and how long it will be available.

Little said they follow food safety standards to determine timeframes. She said the longer the food is left to set out, the higher probability of bacteria can grow, which is why they keep the timeframes generally shorter, around 15 minutes.

“Since you don’t know when an alert will be sent out, it makes it fun to be like, ‘Hey, I am here, and I can grab a sandwich for lunch!'” Little wrote in an email.

An example of the text from April 17 when it was sent: “MU Marq Eats: Enjoy chips, dip, veggie platter and sliders, available at AMU 163 now until 7:20 p.m.”

“I hope it continues to make people aware of the food waste and what a huge issue it is. Seeing the leftovers from an event laid out and knowing that it would otherwise get thrown out is sobering,” Little wrote in an email. “If food waste was a country, it would be the world’s third largest producer of carbon emissions, right behind the U.S. and China. Food waste is a huge issue globally, and right here in the U.S.”

Little said she has gotten really positive response from the campus community from the introduction of this system.

MarqEats is not the only program dedicated to the distribution of food on campus, as the Food Recovery Network has also made an impact, recovering over 10,000 lbs of food since 2019. The Food Recovery Network is partnered with college campuses across the U.S, including Tulane University and the University of South Dakota. 

The Food Recovery Network works with Marquette Dining Services to recover surplus food. They have shifts throughout the week at scheduled times with each dining hall and the AMU Brew. From there, the delivery van collects the food and brings it to the Neighborhood Kitchen in Mashuda, where it is repurposed into meals for food insecure populations.

Adam Noon, a senior in the College of Engineering joined FRN during 2020, and FRN was one of the only clubs able to have active volunteers during COVID.

Now, Noon is on the leadership board and responsible for all dining hall managers. He participates in around three shifts per week. FRN has around 20 volunteers working around eight different shifts, using their own van and community service vans.

Noon said his favorite part about being involved is knowing that he is helping his community. He said he loves getting to know the different dining hall managers and employees.

“We overproduce and it’s easier to toss it then find somewhere that can take it. We also don’t understand expiration rates either-It’s in the best interest of the manufacturer to get you to toss food and buy more. Those dates really refer more to perceived quality rather than safety,” Little wrote in an email.

The Food Recovery Network is hosting an end of the semester collection from the Residence Halls called “Move out for Hunger”. The bins will be located in the lobby of each dorm during finals week for students to drop off un-opened, nonperishable food items that they would otherwise throw away.

Little said the Food Recovery Network is recruiting for the fall semester, and anyone interested can reach out to [email protected] to get connected.

Anyone Marquette student can join. Students interested can email [email protected] if interested in becoming a volunteer or shift lead. Students can also participate through events like “Move Out for Hunger.”

This story was written by Trinity Zapotocky. She can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Trinity Zapotocky
Trinity Zapotocky, Assistant News Editor
Trinity Zapotocky is a sophomore studying Communications and Marketing. She is from Naperville, Illinois and is currently the Assistant News Editor for the Marquette Wire. In her free time she enjoys reading, watching Gilmore Girls, going to the gym, and trying new coffee spots. Trinity is excited to cover important news and grow at the Wire this year.

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