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Taking stock: A look into the polaris lounge fridge

The variety found within the C-store holds nothing on the sheer volume of food found within the refrigerator in North Quad’s Polaris Lounge. On Dec. 12, 2021, I conducted an investigation into the contents of the Polaris kitchen. Here are the results, and this is what they reveal about us. (Full disclosure: for health and safety reasons, I did wear gloves while looking through the fridge.)

The Polaris fridge is a whole other world: tubs stacked on top of pizza boxes on top of a precariously balanced egg carton. I have never seen loose eggs in a fridge before, so I can definitively say that this experience has changed me. I was surprised by the variety of items available, especially easily perishable items like vegetables, dairy products and chicken breasts. With everyone already gone or just about to head home, I am doubtful that this will all be finished in time. 

As a current North Quad resident myself, I am no stranger to the Polaris kitchen. Throughout the Fall 2021 semester, I cooked/baked in the kitchen twice, and both times, I was greeted by an equally full fridge. I have never witnessed an empty fridge, and the only labels present on any of the items say some variation of “leftovers, please take this!” The Polaris fridge is where leftovers and perfectly good vegetables meet their demise. Personally, I would not use any of the freebies or leftovers. I am especially concerned by the open packet of chicken breasts, which are exposed to the rest of the fridge and potentially contaminating everything else inside. 

When I first started looking into the fridge, I found the random food products amusing. As the trawl continued, however, I became less amused and more worried. I am worried about how much potential food waste is occurring within Polaris kitchen. I understand the desire to donate leftovers to others in the community, but the current methods of doing so are not leading to an effective or efficient outcome. If you want to leave something in the fridge, here are my suggestions:

  1. Leave a note for when the item was put in the fridge; and specify if the item is free to take (not everyone has a fridge in their dorms to store food)
    2. All items (especially animal products) should be in air-tight bags/properly sealed as to not contaminate other food products (opened butter should not be touching the shelves of the fridge)
    3. Open plates of food should be wrapped in clingfilm or tinfoil
    4. If you see something old, toss it out! (The thanksgiving leftovers should have been tossed out long ago)

Though the future of the food in Polaris may seem dismal, there is still hope. The majority of the food I found was not moldy or unreasonably past its sell-by date, and as I have walked home to my dorm after classes, I have regularly seen people cooking in the kitchen. Not everything goes to waste, and we have the ability to ensure that even less of it will be thrown in the trash. 

Polaris is a space regularly frequented by freshmen from both North and Massell, and it is important that we come together as a community to take care of it, clean up after ourselves, and make the campus a better place. And please, do not leave your loose eggs in the fridge. 

 

Fruits, vegetables, and herbs/spices

3 loose garlic cloves

1 entire garlic head

1 green apple (appeared to be from dining hall)

1 container of olives

1 baby spinach bundle

1 tomato

5 clementines

1 broccoli florets

1 entire bag of yellow potatoes

2 eggplants

2 green bell peppers

1 ginger 

1 brussels sprouts bag

1 chives bag

 

Dairy products

6 sticks of butter 

2 whipped cream cheese spread

1 goat cheese

1 ricotta

1 grated parmesan cheese

1 light cream cheese

1 chocolate milk

1 shredded mild cheddar cheese 

1 heavy whipping cream

1 fresh mozzarella pearls

 

Plant-based dairy products

2 tubs of dairy free butter 

1 organic soy milk

1 non-dairy chocolate oat beverage

1 almond milk pudding

1 vegan mac and cheese tub

 

Sauces 

1 Ray’s secret sauce 

1 ragù jar

1 mild chunky salsa

1 medium salsa

 

Animal products

7 boneless chicken breasts

 

Non-dairy animal by-products

2 loose eggs 

5 cartons of eggs

 

Grains

1 premium Italian bread

1 butter bread loaf

2 pizza boxes (both containing pizza)

 

Miscellaneous 

3 tinfoil-wrapped mystery items 

1 C-store Greek salad

Half of an applesauce tub

1 spiced chai black tea concentrate 

1 tinfoil-wrapped tin labeled “thanksgiving leftovers” 

5 or so bites of cake left on plate

1 sparkling apple cider

1 dirty, yet empty, pot with lid and spoon

1 bowl

1 plate of what appears to be potato home fries

1 Arizona Green tea 

1 Sweet noodle kugel from Brandeis Hillel

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