Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies

Degree Program

Interdisciplinary Studies concentration in Sustainability, MS

Committee Chair

Markowitz, Lisa

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Storey, Angela

Committee Member

Storey, Angela

Committee Member

DeCaro, Daniel

Author's Keywords

higher education; student attitudes; campus waste


Food waste is an ongoing problem in the complex global food system. College campuses are in a unique position to address food waste through reducing it in their own food systems and by encouraging students to develop behaviors to reduce and divert waste from landfills. In this thesis project I seek to understand how students consider food waste and their attitudes and ideas about reducing it. To this end, I observed student behaviors and waste in University of Louisville’s all-you-care-to-eat dining hall and weighed plate waste there. I conducted informational interviews with University and Aramark employees, along with semi-structured interviews with students. These findings point to ways that messages connecting healthfulness and personal cost to food waste could potentially reach more students harboring underlying beliefs about the adverse environmental and social impacts of food waste. Moreover, the University could be much more vigilant in promoting and coordinating waste reduction efforts.