By Clare Newman

Recently, because of understaffing problems thrust upon Grinnell College through no fault of their own that they have absolutely no feasible way of solving, Dining Services has been forced (perhaps through violent means?) to use compostable dishware for some meals. This dishware includes thick paper plates in multiple sizes, small styrofoam bowls, and compostable plastic cutlery in shades of cream and black. The college sent out a campus memo noting that “styrofoam is, in fact, compostable. You don’t have such a good memory, do you?” In the same memo, the administration lamented that they can’t go back to using normal plates until students solve the understaffing issue. The memo stated emphatically that understaffing will remain a huge problem until students stop being so selfish and ungrateful. This point was backed up with quotes from extensive research by ELMG* showing that what the college pays student workers is actually the highest of any business in town, and students should stop making things up for attention. Deven Darnell ‘22 commented “I had thought that styrofoam was impossible to recycle or compost, but I don’t know how I got that silly idea into my head! The college knows best, and they only have our best interests at heart.”

Signs put up by the college addressing student concerns about the amount of waste being produced because of the insurmountable understaffing issue showed a cartoon Scarlet the Squirrel saying “You’re being kind of paranoid, all of this is getting composted correctly. Have you been taking your meds? You’re making things up again.” As well as other similar posters where scarlet claims “This understaffing problem is all YOUR fault! Sign up right now and stop acting so crazy!” An infographic produced by the college and ELMG* was printed and displayed on posterboard in the HSSC atrium this week. Titled “Aren’t You a Humanities Major? What Do You Know About Math? You Just Love Trying To Throw Us Off Track, Don’t You,” the infographic showed many colorful and overlapping flowcharts, graphs, tables, word clouds, and venn diagrams. From what Leona Weaver-Stanton ‘23 understood from the poster, she says “the endowment didn’t actually even grow by much at all, I was just being hysterical and overreacting when I said the school can afford to pay us more.” Weaver-Stanton explained that the infographic showed in a way that even her “silly little french major brain could understand” that all of the growth the endowment experienced amounted to “barely over a million dollars.” Additionally, all this money is “all locked up in these contracts from donors that says what it can go to, and everywhere there was growth is in a contract that doesn’t allow it to be used for anything that could benefit students or improve their lives in any way.” Weaver-Stanton continued “So really it’s not even the college’s fault at all. Scarlet the squirrel is right-” Weaver-Stanton points to one of the college’s flyers on the wall behind her “-students are getting so worked up over nothing, and we should all be apologizing to the admin for being paranoid and overreacting, when instead we should be grateful.” 

The college’s memos, posters, and infographics have been working, more students have signed up to work in the dining hall. Colin Washington ‘25 quit his part time job at Saint’s Rest in town so he could pick up as many shifts as possible in the dining hall. “Sure I miss the tips, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee, but I’ve been being so greedy, and honestly mean, for working at Saint’s instead of in the dining hall. This understaffing problem is my fault, you know? Grinnell College cannot do anything to solve it, or even lessen it.” Washington is hopeful more students will come to their senses like he did and join him in Dining Services. However, until that day, he whistles while he works, stocking the gluten free station without having had any food safety training and without supervision. 


*Exaggerated Lies for Monetary Gain, a labor research think tank based in New York City, subsidiary of Proskauer Rose LLP