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MSU Residential and Hospitality Services programs help students go green

This Earth Day, MSU Residential and Hospitality Services, or RHS, is celebrating sustainability accomplishments it’s made over the past two decades.

RHS incorporates sustainability into its strategic vision, implementing programs and initiatives that continually engage students, and makes a priority of educating and engaging Spartans on how to make better choices to preserve the environment. Through initiatives like "Pack Up. Pitch In." and "Clean Plates at State," RHS is able to measure and provide feedback to students on the significant impacts of their participation. 

"Pack Up. Pitch in." is a program designed to capture waste generated as students move into and out of their MSU residence halls. RHS teams with MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities in collecting materials for reuse and recycling.

RHS implements the collection of nonperishable food, which is donated to local organizations. In the spring of 2019, RHS collected and donated more than 6,200 pounds of food to its partners. 

The food waste awareness program, "Clean Plates at State," complements the food collection program. The program measures and weighs the leftover food on patrons’ plates in nine campus dining halls. Over the past year, food waste has reduced from 3.16 ounces per plate to 2.98 ounces per plate — a reduction of 24,982 pounds total.

Another win: more than half of students who visit dining halls voluntarily forgo the use of trays, helping ensure they take only as much as they can eat. 

MSU students care about social responsibility and have a strong desire to see campus become a more sustainable place. To support student success, RHS continues to launch new and innovative programs and events that can engage students who live in MSU residence halls in sustaining their environment.

The Spartan Eco-Rep program has seen overwhelming success with its 10 eco-reps, representing each MSU neighborhood. Being an eco-rep gives students a chance to interact with one another to ensure sustainable behavior while simultaneously growing their social responsibility.

These students gain skills in effectively communicating the sustainability message, event planning, public speaking and collaborating with others. This role enhances their sustainability experience and demonstrates leadership skills to future employers. 

For more information about the programs, visit the RHS website.

By: Carla Iansiti

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