The Main Campus Residents’ Council (MCRC) and Queen’s Housing and Hospitality Services are throwing a party to keep students from throwing food in the cafeterias on St. Patrick’s Day.
Students have had an unsanctioned food fight in Leonard Hall cafeteria every St. Patrick’s Day for more than five years.
In 2004, Queen’s shut down Leonard cafeteria for two days after a food fight caused about $10,000 in damage.
“Last year, we did a whole program around food waste and hunger in the community,” Housing and Hospitality Services Director Bruce Griffiths said. “This year, we’re doing an entertainment act for St. Patty’s, hoping to redirect student activity. We’re trying to make it a fun night anyway, and deliver the message that food waste is wrong.”
Queen’s won’t have additional cafeteria staff on St. Patrick’s Day but there will be a security officer, Griffiths said.
“If 400 people decide to have a food fight, it requires an awful lot of staff to stop that from happening,” he said. “The security is mostly for first-aid measures.”
Griffiths said if a food fight occurs, he estimates there would be about $2,000 to $3,000 worth of damage, adding that the cost is covered by the food budget from Housing Services which is funded though student fees.
“This isn’t a cost to Sodexo,” he said.
Sodexo provides food for Queen’s cafeterias and retail outlets.
“For those that think they’re hurting some corporation, it comes to the Queen’s Hospitality and Housing food budget and there’s a lot we can do with $3,000 that’s better for the students,” he said.
Griffiths said if the food fight occurs, Housing and Hospitality Services would bill students caught in the act.
MCRC Green Team Sustainability Co-ordinator Yan Yu said he’s working with QSAUCE, a group of students who started a Leonard Sing-A-Long initiative, to raise awareness about alternatives to a food fight.
According to their Facebook page, QSAUCE aims to host “fun, public, ridiculous” events on campus. They started a sing-a-long in Leonard cafeteria on Nov. 10. Students sang “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys.
“We hope that through word-of-mouth and Facebook, people will see that this is really not something they want to get into, in addition to seeing the moral need to not causing so much food and cutlery waste, especially in light of recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile,” Yu said.
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