The Sobering Reason Harvard Students Are Stuffing Their Backpacks Full Of Food

Harvard students have become doomsday preppers

Image via YouTube

Prepping for a food desert doesn’t just happen in apocalyptic novels. It’s currently happening on the idyllic campus at Harvard University. In anticipation of the dining-services-worker strike that began last Wednesday, students were stuffing their backpacks full of whatever dining hall staples they could get their hands on—fruit, pastries, bagels, granola bars—in addition to Tupperware containers packed with hot meals from the buffet.

They had plenty of time to prepare, The Harvard Crimson reports, because the Harvard University Dining Services union announced its plan to strike back in September. In fact, the Crimson published a survival guide the day before the strike was set to begin. But what’s really behind all this doomsday prepping? Following months of failing negotiations with school administrators, HUDS, which protects the rights of 750 dining services workers, decided to do something more drastic to secure higher wages and more affordable healthcare.

Specifically, HUDS members seek to work year-round and be paid appropriately for that additional work. Currently, Harvard’s food service employees make an average of $34,000 a year and are laid off during the summer months when few students are on campus. Union spokesperson Tiffany Ten Eyck called for a $35,000 “minimum guaranteed salary” in addition to lower health care costs since the current rates account for about 10 percent of their annual incomes.

With no compromise struck, the strike continues, leaving thousands of students without access to consistent food and a meager interim dining hall workforce of temps, managers, and volunteers. While this may sound like a privileged problem to have, it’s worth noting that more than half of Harvard students attend the university on scholarship and one in five parents of Harvard students make less than a combined $65,000 a year. Without the school’s dining hall services, many students may be hard-pressed to find nourishing meals during the strike, and the longer it lasts, the more dire the situation could become.

As Virginia Woolf once said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” It looks like Harvard administrators need to find a resolution quickly if they hope to sustain some of the country’s brightest young minds.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

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Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

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Solar powered phone charger


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Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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