Conlin gives the cafeteria a new purpose
The topic of waste reduction in school cafeterias has become increasingly popular among students and teachers alike. In the wake of this, one student has found purpose in the dozens of pieces of fruit that get thrown away each day.
Avery Conlin is a junior at LPHS. He enjoys most things art-related, even participating in Art Club, Photography Club, and Drama Club at different points. He plays guitar and has a strong passion for music, but recently he’s been making waves for some of his other endeavors.
Since last year, Conlin has been collecting unwanted fruits from the lunch trays of his peers. It all started out as a joke and a way to simply make sure that food wasn’t going to waste, and it quickly earned him a reputation when students saw him with oranges piled high in his clear backpack; however, Conlin has been grabbing even more attention with his plans of making the fruit into baked goods.
“I was just trying to save it and make sure it didn’t end up in the trash. I figured out I could take something people didn’t want and turn it into something they did want. I enjoy making people happy,” Conlin said.
Conlin has been receiving overwhelming support from his peers as well as most teachers, which has only spurred him on further in his goal of reducing waste in the LPHS cafeteria. Conlin stressed the importance of giving a loaf to the lunchroom staff as a thank you for their support.
“It wouldn’t be possible without them,” Conlin said.
The whole project hasn’t been without its hiccups. While it’s been easy for Conlin to get the fruits from his peers, there have been concerns expressed by administration due to health and safety concerns.
“I’m willing to cooperate as long as I am still able to continue what I am doing. I’m trying to keep it from becoming a big disruption in the lunchroom so that I can continue preventing waste in the school,” Conlin said.
Conlin has always had a love for cooking. Baking with his mom during the holidays is something that he looks back on fondly. It’s been a big part of his life. Conlin has thought about being a chef or baker after he graduates from high school. His unique perspective on food would make him a great bakery owner here in town.
Understanding the significance of reducing food waste is important in cafeterias everywhere. Conlin’s story will hopefully inspire many to take a look at their lunch through a different lens and start making a change.