Compliments at Commencement

I came across this brief mention of Bon Appétit Management Company in a graduation speech given at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and I couldn’t help but feel like a parent sitting in the audience, humble and proud.  Dr. Jim Farrell, a professor of history and American Studies at St. Olaf, encouraged the students to “learn the beauty of language, learn the moral ecology of everyday life,” and he also said:

I hope you’re learning how small decisions make a big difference. Too often, we opt out of a good cause or a good action by saying that ‘it’s no big deal.’ But many of our most pressing problems are the product of billions of decisions that are no big deal.

Three times a day, in Stav Hall, Bon Appétit has also been teaching you how small decisions make a big difference. Each of us drinks a glass or two of milk a day, but all of us together drink about 250 gallons. Over the course of a year, that’s about $300,000 worth of milk that comes from the Hastings Dairy, a Minnesota business that delivers hormone-free and antibiotic-free milk to campus. We get good milk, we put our money in the local economy, and—most importantly—we put our money where our values are.

The same sort of thing is true of the STOGROW farm, St. Olaf’s organic garden. Three years ago, when she was getting started, your classmate Day Burtness asked Bon Appétit if they’d be willing to buy any organic vegetables she might grow. They said, ‘Sure, we’ll buy all of them,’ and they started a productive partnership that culminated last week with a $3000 award to STOGROW from national Bon Appétit for doing the kind of work that brings good food—and not just food that tastes good—to consumers like us.”

It makes me proud that there are people like Professor Farrell who truly understand and embody the values and services of Bon Appétit.  I’m humbled that he supports us to the extent of including us in a speech given to graduating students, their friends and family members and school faculty.  To me, this is sustainability working from within by changing the thoughts and actions of our future generations.

Congratulations to graduates at all of our colleges and best wishes for a bright and successful future!

Katherine Kwon, Communications Project Manager