Dining hall cup size changes a positive inconvenience

South Campus Dining Hall. (Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

For years, the standard cup size at the UConn dining halls has been 16 ounces. However, Dining Services is now in the process of replacing these with 12-ounce cups in an effort to reduce liquid waste. Dining Services knows this waste exists, although it has been difficult to pinpoint exactly how much is produced. Regardless, a smaller cup size will help students keep their liquid waste down by effectively forcing them to serve themselves smaller portions.

At least on the surface, students are not exactly in love with this idea. Obviously, a smaller cup size means more trips to get a refill, and no one is in favor of more work for themselves. Having to get up one or two extra times a meal may not sound like a big deal, and that’s because it’s not. It’s minor. While students will complain because it’s something to talk about, most probably don’t really care. This is especially true when the benefits of the change are considered.

Cutting down on waste is a really important issue. It may be cliche to state, but the food and water thrown away by people like college students could go a long way towards alleviating hunger in poorer communities. Additionally, it makes economic sense for UConn to cut down on waste. The less waste there is, the less money UConn is throwing away. In a larger sense, preventing waste also lowers the amount of trash in already crowded landfills and dumps. While fruits and vegetables may decompose, more manufactured foods/drinks, as well as containers such as wrappers, will not.

Cutting down the cup size by four ounces is not going to single-handedly solve world hunger and thirst. But as with any issue, there are many different steps that need to be taken by a variety of groups to make a change. Students at UConn who care about these problems should be pleased with these new cups. Furthermore, we would do well to reflect on the waste we produce in our lives and make efforts to cut down. If you have one last drink before leaving the dining hall, maybe only fill your cup half way. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. You can always go up for seconds. The more people who make conscious decisions in this area, the better the results.


Jacob Kowalski is opinion editor for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at jacob.kowalski@uconn.edu.