With Lunch, It’s Our Turn to Do Better


Photo by Kinga Lopatin for Unsplash

Geovanni Lopez, Editor In-Chief

The Benedict News has always provided an outlet for students to voice their opinions and speak out on issues in the community, facilitated greatly by the student-run nature of SBP itself. As someone with leadership positions — as the editor-in-chief of The Benedict News and as Group Leader of Fr. Valerian — I felt an obligation to advocate for an improvement to our school lunch. That’s why we’ve reported on complaints about our lunch food and conducted surveys both about that and about ways that the food provider, Maschio’s, wants to improve offerings.

This is a central subject, something I found essential to our everyday lives. Judging from the great response of the rest of the student body, most agreed with this sentiment.

It is that same obligation that induces me to point out the repercussions of complacency. We are wasting food and we need to stop. And, as Fr. Ed has said at Convo, it would make sense to look into different packaging for the lunches.

 It is hypocritical of us to be persistent and proactive towards finding solutions to problems affecting us created by others and then taking on a laissez-faire attitude towards the problems which we’ve created for ourselves. 

Whether the cause of this problem is an oversight in the system used to gather lunch counts or worse, a conscious choice by those delivering the information to take advantage of the system, it is our actions towards finding solutions or lack thereof which represent our moral stance on this issue. 

We are a school that looks to provide an opportunity to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. To juxtapose that with our actions of wasting food creates a serious contradiction in our values as a school. How does this look to those from our surrounding community in Newark? Or let’s not even go that far. How does this behavior strike those less fortunate in our own school that maybe do not feel comfortable enough to call us out on it?

It is important to recognize that we have a privilege at St. Benedict’s Prep. We possess the privilege of being heard by those in authority and having influence and control over our lives. This is a privilege because it is not something so easily handed out to people who look like us outside these walls.

Too often now — here — privilege is being used to wield advantages for individuals that do not benefit the whole. This is not proper behavior.

Our privilege as students to have a voice has been used and should continue to be used as a tool for the overall benefit of the community. However, when our motivation to use this tool solely comes down to only wanting to make something better for ourselves, we come alarmingly close to reaching selfish intentions. 

The isolated and routinized lifestyle emerging from the pandemic has already created a more self-centered, individualistic ambience at our school which has been highlighted by many members of the community and admitted to by some of my own peers. There is an easily crossable line between individualism and selfishness. The latter poses a dangerous threat to our community if continued.

It is with enormous concern for the integrity of the school to which I call on all students for action. Let it not be selfishness and greed that blinds us from seeing our own mistakes. We should be giving accurate lunch counts and being more mindful of the food we throw out. We should be thinking of realistic ways of lowering the amount of non-recyclable trash we produce. The same drive and enterprise that we used to look for solutions to our lunch quality should be used to tackle the problems of food waste and trash pillage affecting us today.