Foodservice corporation Aramark has caused a student uproar due to the company’s issues with sustainability and their inability to provide healthier, greener and larger variety of food items for students. The common eating spaces of Handschumacher Dining Hall, Urban Eatery and Northside Dining Terrace are the most frequented campus spots and main suppliers of food at Drexel University.
This past Wednesday, Drexel’s Socialist Club along with Drexel Students for Bernie Sanders and Fossil Free Drexel conducted a “Die-In” in front of Urban Eatery. The “Die-In” consisted of students pretending to play dead as a representation of what the future looks like for all of society.
The Die-In lasted for one full minute. To play on the historical police method, the protestors’ bodies were outlined with chalk on the cement outside the north entrance of Urban Eatery. This was to symbolize the damage done by Aramark. They were spectated by bystanders and had a single participant join in on the protest at the very end.
Phil Porter, the Vice President of Grassroots Organizing for “Drexel For Bernie Sanders,” said “their utensil selection and the things they use to serve food is not sustainable, even if with [Drexel’s] competitors, Drexel is one of the last using Aramark as a food provider.” He further explains that the contract between Drexel and Aramark was made in 2016, and that the university is one of the last in Philadelphia still using Aramark as its main food provider.
Aramark states their inclusion of sustainability is with the distributor The Common Market. Aramark states, “The Common Market, a nonprofit regional food distributor with a mission to connect communities with good food from sustainable family farms, to provide a bi-weekly Farm Stand to students. Students can utilize their dining plans to purchase local, seasonal produce.”
However, these student organizations state the opposite.
“Right now we are trying to send a message that this is our lives, this is our climate, this is our ecology and you can’t throw that away because it’s cheaper to sell one type of food over another. We’re trying to get them to be more sustainable in their meal practices and if not we are going to move forwards and try to get Drexel to not renew the contract [with Aramark],” Porter states. “We all acted like we were dead and chalked our bodies. It’s a very serious thing because in the next 10 years we really might be feeling the hurt of all this. If we don’t make the changes right now… I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it’s not going to be good.”
For more information, students are able to search on Facebook and DragonLink for Drexel’s Socialist, Drexel Students for Bernie Sanders and Fossil Free Drexel.