The Ordal Dining Hall serves as a welcoming meeting place for campus, but the shape of the cereal bowls has become a subject of contention and debate.
All bowls are used to hold and portion food. Choosing a defective shape and design has implications on the students, workers and environment.
All of the cereal bowls in the dining hall are shaped like an upside-down cone. This design maximizes the storage of the bowls, allowing them to fit inside one another like a glove. However, these shapes do not maximize the amount of food in the bowl.
A normal bowl is shaped like a semi-sphere, and the consumer can fill the entire area with food. This design difference means the bowl is optimized for holding and containing food but takes up more space in storage and cannot be stacked closely together.
Meanwhile, the dining hall bowl design is inefficient for holding food but an effective design for the storage of the bowl.
Since a bowl’s main function is to hold food, however, the design that would allow for the most food to be held should be favored.
Not only does the shape play into the amount of food held, but it also contributes to other problems, such as hassles for students and a negative environmental impact.
The dining hall’s inefficient bowl design limits the amount of food students can fill the bowls with. This either leads to the students having to refill their bowls more often or the students settling for smaller portions than desired.
The small portions create a chain reaction of other negative impacts besides an annoyance for students. Small portions mean more trips to get food and more time spent in the dining hall. Just like everyone says, “time is money.”
More food runs cause an increase in the number of dishes used and subsequently cleaned. As the volume of dishes that need cleaning increases, more water must be used, which damages the environment.
A more conventional bowl shape, like the semi-circular shape, offers a simple solution
to the impractical-bowl domino effect.
Using the more typical bowl shape would allow for more food to be held per use. This in turn would reduce the number of times students need to get up to get food. Normal bowls would save students’ time and decrease the number of dishes used, thus reducing both the amount of water needed for washing and the negative impact on the environment.