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Thursday, June 1, 2023


No penalty for borrowers of dining hall dishes

Student grabs some silverware before sitting down to eat in Cougar Woods.  |  Hannah Laamoumi/The Daily Cougar

Student grabs some silverware before sitting down to eat in Cougar Woods. | Hannah Laamoumi/The Daily Cougar

Students “borrowing” dishware from Cougar Woods and Moody Towers Fresh Food Co. has prompted UH Dining Services to begin a dish amnesty program as a response to a dish shortage. The program encourages students to return any borrowed dishware to front registers without any questions being asked and without facing penalties.

“When dishes and utensils are taken outside of the dining hall it causes delays in our ability to re-stock our stations as the remaining dishes need to be rewashed many times in a meal period,” said UH Dining Operations director Geoffrey Herbert in an email.

The continued and increasing borrowing is disrupting operations in the dining halls, Herbert said. More than 800 plates, bowls, cups and silverware sets have disappeared since the since the beginning of the semester.

After taking dishes last year, psychology sophomore Corinne Green said she would not do it again this year because of the shortage.

“It was after a fire drill, and I didn’t want to have to wait to go back into the cafeteria to eat more,” Corinne said.

“I just took what I needed and took it up to my room and I used it. I think I kept it until the end of the year, but at that time, they weren’t having a problem with dishes being lost. I don’t think I would do it now because they obviously have a shortage.”

Both dining facilities operate under sustainability initiatives and try to avoid the use of styrofoam and reduce paper cup waste, Hebert said. With more dishes disappearing from these facilities, they have had to revert to the use of disposable cups, plates and bowls to keep up with demand during heavy dining periods.

“This trend begins at the start of every semester, but we really begin to have shortages about a month into the semester,” Herbert said.

“If this trend continues to occur and we are unable to recover the dishware we may have to evaluate other options. We ask that students return the dishware or utilize the reusable to-go program.”

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