Students with their own KeepCups, bowls or flasks will be able to avail of free hot water in six campus cafes and restaurants from next Monday.
The move comes after negotiations between Trinity’s catering organisation and student leaders, and will see six eateries – including a new cafe set to open in the Hamilton next week – offering free hot water to those with their own containers.
The Buttery, Dining Hall, Perch, Forum and Áras an Phiarsaigh’s Coffee Dock, all of which are operated by Trinity Catering, will also provide the service.
Students who use restaurant crockery will pay 10 cent for hot water, to cover washing costs, while those using paper cups will be charged 50 cent “in an effort to encourage more sustainable practice”.
Speaking to The University Times, Gisèle Scanlon, the vice-president of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) and the person who first flagged the issue, said the move will “help the students whom I serve in the postgraduate community”.
Students, she added, “are on tight budgets and postgraduates spend a lot of time on campus and free hot water will help them out”.
In an email sent to Scanlon last week, Moira O’Brien, the College’s catering manager, wrote that “all main catering outlets … will provide hot water free of charge to all students, providing students use a ‘keep cup’, flask or their own container/bowl”.
“Trinity Catering is pleased to be able to respond to student feedback,” O’Brien continued, “and we endeavour to improve the student experience in this way”.
Because items like sugar, milk and stirrers are an expense to Trinity Catering, O’Brien wrote, “we will continue to monitor the uptake of this new agreement going forward”.
In a statement to The University Times, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union Welfare Officer Aisling Leen said: “I’m delighted that college catering have been so obliging in bringing about this small but important change.”
“This will help out many students, especially those who commute or spend long hours on campus”, she added.
In December 2019, environmental group Plastic Free TCD was nominated for a Red Cross Award for its work in eliminating single-use plastics in campus restaurants. It also launched an online petition to launch a plastic-free Trinity Ball in 2020.