College to convert dining hall to cage-free

by Heidi Moeller / Beacon Staff • February 23, 2011

Five months after students and alumni began protesting, college officials said yesterday that most eggs will be cage-free sometime next month.

Though the college announced last Thursday on its website that only whole made to order eggs served at breakfast would be cage-free. But Director of Media Relations Carole McFall confirmed yesterday that eggs cooked into omelets and scrambled eggs will also be cage-free shortly after spring break.

McFall said in an e-mail that certain pre-packaged foods will not make the switch, but the business services department will continue to search for vendors that can supply cage-free- egg-based products.

McFall did not confirm whether the hard-boiled eggs served at the dining hall in 80 Boylston St. will be cage-free.

More than 1,400 students signed a petition last semester demanding a ban on eggs from battery-cage farms.

Alumnus David Coman-Hidy, who graduated last year, lead the five-month campaign between the administration and students to have Aramark dining services supply Emerson with cage-free eggs.

“We’re glad that Emerson has made the switch,” Coman-Hidy said. “We wish that it had come sooner. It’s really exciting that they’re joining other schools in fighting animal cruelty and environmental destruction.”

Last month, Coman-Hidy urged 64 alumni donors to sign letters stating they would not make any donations to the college until it went completely cage-free. According to Coman-Hidy, in 2009 the total donations from those 64 alumni was approximately $45,000. He said that while the signed letters were never sent to the school, college officials did hear about them.

“Some of the alumni wrote personal messages of disgust and anger,” Coman-Hidy said. “It was really great for us to get that much support.”

Sarah Cadorette, who graduated in December, participated in the cage-free campaign. She said she was disappointed with the announcement made by college officials on Feb. 17.

“The way they responded to the students and alumni was intentionally misleading,” said Cadorette, a former editor at the Beacon.

After seeing the press release stating that all raw whole eggs would be cage-free, Cadorette said she sent e-mails to college officials asking them to change the headline ‘Emerson dining hall switches to cage-free eggs’ to something more truthful.

“I’m really glad that is has passed,” Cadorette said.