Organisation - May 23, 2019


Vincent Oostvogels

For a moment, I thought I had a scoop. I had just got an email saying that the caterer in one of the university buildings was no longer giving a discount to customers who brought their own cups for hot drinks. That discount was introduced 18 months ago by all the caterers for sustainability reasons. It was suggested perhaps I could write about that.

I’d never got an email like this before. And it was anonymous too. At least, I am assuming Bananakiller447 is not someone’s real name. Whatever — the reader is always king and I was getting dangerously close to the deadline for this column. Of course I could write about that!

I could totally picture it. In the very month in which universities had been exposed as socially unsafe working environments and the Dutch government had announced it would be increasing the interest rate on student loans, we were even being diddled out of our little sustainability discount. Now there would be a mass protest with everyone defecting with their stained mugs to the buildings where you were still rewarded for reuse. A scandal in the making.

Now we're even being diddled out of our little sustainability discount

Nothing could be further from the truth. I went to the building in question and got the usual discount. Several coffees later, it was clear that the scheme was still in effect in the other buildings too. What, then, was Bananakiller447 going on about? He — I suspect it’s a he — has not yet replied to the email in which I put this question, and I doubt whether he ever will. So we will never know.

The caterers have been warned at any rate: their discount policy is being closely monitored.

Vincent Oostvogels (22) is exploring the delicate interface between nature management and food production through his two Master’s programmes, Forest and Nature Conservation and Animal Sciences