You walk into Snelling Dining Hall, put your number in, make a right (or left) to grab a tray and you stop. There’s empty space where the trays should be.

What is this? Did the lunch rush cause all of the trays to disappear? Is it a third Snowpacalypse and Food Services is trying to prevent us from “sledding” again?

The answer is no and no.

That trayless trial that people endured last spring is here and it’s no longer a trial. It’s here to stay. UGA dining halls have now gone trayless.

Of course, since I work in a dining hall, the entire first week of classes I was stopped and asked, “Where are the trays?” “Excuse me? Are there going to be more trays put out anytime soon?” and my personal favorite “Where are you guys hiding the trays?”

People never fail to make me laugh when it comes to something standing between them and their food.

But, I think I know the reasoning behind their questions. They’re not seeing the overall purpose of going tray-less.

UGA dining halls

Photo by Henry Taylor

College students are inherently tired; there’s just no way around it. We study all day (some of us) and then just want to relax when we go to the dining hall. We just don’t want to have to get up five different times when we want more food.

At least that’s the way I think of it. I am in class for hours at a time, and the very last thing that I want to do is make more than one trip to get food.

But, then you have to really think about it. Because of the overwhelming desire to not get up more than one time, you get less food. By getting less food, you waste less food, which is the whole point of this change.

Allison Brannen, the public relations coordinator for Food Services, says that the goal was to “increase sustainability on campus, decrease food and water waste, and encourage cost savings,” and the response has been very positive.

UGA dining halls

Photo by Henry Taylor

Even though it took some getting used to when the semester first began because upperclassmen have only known the dining halls with trays, people are starting to enjoy it.

“I’m 100% on board because I have so much unnecessary stuff on my tray, so now it’s like whatever I get, it’s worth getting. It even saves space at the table,” Kenneth Cochran, a fourth year finance and marketing major from Atlanta, said.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I have a group of people to eat with and space is an issue, making someone leave is the solution (Kidding…or am I?). But, it’s nice to know that keeping friends is more of a possibility because of tray-less dining.

UGA is conserving a lot of water and food because of this change, and it’s here to stay.

We’re all saving the planet with[out] one tray at a time