In theory, Grab and Go is a great idea – provider of speedy meals for unlimited, swipes, and declining users alike and the solution to brief lunchtimes and long lines at the dining halls. In reality, however, this dining option is far from perfect and has a long way to go in order to be cost-effective for students, eco-friendly, and healthy.
Someone with the 150 pass plan – 800 declining dollars and 150 meal swipes – will often find themselves frequenting Grab and Go during the latter half of the semester, needing to make use of their swipes after burning through too much declining early on. Many identify the downfalls of Grab and Go but continue to use it out of necessity during the time between midday classes – opting to use a surplus of meal swipes rather than spending that sacred declining on better options. The downfalls are obvious to most who use the service, but because unlimited users get it for “free” and other users value it for its speedy nature, these flaws often go ignored.
For one, the wastefulness of Grab and Go is a bitter pill to swallow. When one walks in, they are instantly confronted with a myriad of different wasteful products. Cans of soda, plastic water bottles, little baggies for the cookies, even the bags that Grab and Go shoves its drinks, sandwiches, and bags of cookies into. All of this leads to hundreds upon hundreds of bags and cans to find their way into the garbage system.
Instead of this destructive combo of landfill supplying products, let’s take a different path. Reusable bags are one solution and something a variety of different places have already experimented with to great success. For the drinks, consider allowing people to fill up reusable containers with their swipe instead of being forced to take a can or nothing.
Another issue stems from being forced into either taking a fruit or bag of chips, but having no such alternative for the cookie. The lack of healthy options at the Grab and Go is a clear problem. Even with the small salads they offer, my only other option is to take a single small apple and a bottle of water. The grab a cookie or nothing mentality forces a choice between being hungry a few hours later or breaking a commitment to healthy eating. Instead, Grab and Go should allow a two out of three rule stand so one can take two pieces of fruit. The option to take a bag of chips and a piece of fruit would even be an improvement over the current system, however, the current offering of chips leaves much to be desired on the health front. A baked chip options, or maybe even a selection of carrots and other vegetables, would be a great addition to the service.
Overall, Grab and Go as a service is great and offers a valuable option to the members of the student body, but changes should be made to bring it to a higher standard of eco-friendliness and healthiness for the entire student body.