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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Traying costs Aramark 100s of trays

Published: February 11, 2005
Section: News

While students chose many ways to enjoy recent snow days, one popular past time that continued was sledding. It is widely known that the best ad hoc sled for a college student is a cafeteria tray. Theft of trays by Brandeis students for sledding purposes costs Aramark thousands of dollars each year. These costs are passed on to students in dining fees.

Michael Newmark, Director of Operations for Aramark at Brandeis, acknowledges that traying is a common cultural event here. However, he also says that Aramark would like to prevent students from removing trays from dining halls. Our goal is to have enough trays for all of our customers to use them within the dining halls and were hopeful that we wont have a huge amount missing.

When trays are purchased, durability in the dishwashers is considered. There is a big difference, though, between a wash cycle and a student sitting on the tray going sledding down a hill. Even though the students planned to return the trays to the dining hall once they were finished, many of them break and are not usable. Abigail Pratt 08 decided to go sledding last minute, We got trays out of the Boulevard. I thought it would bust apart right away, but it didnt. It lasted several runs and then splintered into pieces.

Dining Services generally orders trays twice a year, depending on need. After a large snowstorm, so many trays will disappear or become unsuitable for use that a new order must be placed. Newmark estimated that Aramark had to bring in a very large order this time at least several hundred trays. While he did not have figures on tray pricing, supply houses offer the standard trays for approximately $3.50 each.

Non-kosher trays are more popular, according to Newmark, because of their rectangular shape. While kosher trays are thicker and more durable, they are also more difficult to obtain. No plans are being made to change how trays are distributed. Newmark reminds students that when trays disappear, the cost of this is passed on to the students in meal plan pricing. Students who complain about the high cost of food may wish to look for sledding alternatives for the next snow storm.