“Where there is wealth, there is waste

Where there is waste, people will glean.”

Cris Shirley and I had the idea during reading period, when each college is trying to outdo the others with decadent study breaks serving cheesecake imported from New York, sushi from Miya’s and full three-course southern meals, to start eating for free. We started a Google calender where we added our colleges’ events, a few other friends did the same and we gorged ourselves. It was immediately apparent that there was way more to be gleaned then we had expected. We showed up late to see entire troughs of Thai entrees being left next to trash cans when too few students managed to pry themselves from the library. Reading week ended but things never slowed down: art show openings, colloquiums, undergraduate organizational meetings. I once we took home enough Zaroka’s tikka masala to make 30 meals. We froze it in ziplock bags and ate it for weeks; it wouldn’t disappear. It was like a Hanukkah miracle, the meal that lasted eight weeks. It seems like the easiest funding to get in campus is for food to bring people to your events. The Yale Students for Whatever were little concerned for ordering the appropriate amount of food, and since Yale’s pockets are like whoa, they invariably erred on the side of excess, ordering enough for 40 when 10 show up; we cleaned house.

This year, we’ve expanded. Join our online community. You set up your phone to receive text messages 30 minutes before an event on the Google calendar (which anyone can edit). So at 5:30 p.m., you might get a text that says: Free Miya’s Sushi @ 6 p.m., Saybrook Common Room: Presentation on Japan’s salmon farms. With that and Twitter, you can get an alert of who’s serving what for free, and when.

The idea is a cooperative effort to glean what our campus wastes; join up, e-mail me and we’ll put you in.