Students gathered on the Valentine Dining Hall Quadrangle to protest the college’s recently announced removal of ice cream cones from the dining hall.
“We couldn’t find sustainable, organic, and locally-produced ice cream cones that fit into our budget,” said Jill Fuches, director of dining services at the college. “Students will have to pipe the ice cream directly into their palms.”
When students brought up concerns about how quickly body heat would melt the ice cream, Fuches said, “Well, better lap it up quick. Or you can just latch your mouth around the spout and pipe it right in — Covid cases are at an all time low!”
Motivated by ongoing college-wide budget cuts, this change follows prior months’ removal of reusable dining ware, including plates and bowls, utensils, and glasses. While students must bring their own dining ware — and now ice cream cones — due to “the depreciation rate of dining materials for the college being too high for Amherst to afford with students only paying $37.91 per meal,” as reported in an email from President Taylor Swift Moore last month, tables and chairs are still provided by the college.
“Taking away our dish ware is one thing,” said Ophelia Lee ’25E, one of the student organizers of the boycott. “But now the cones? Bro, that’s the last straw.”
“How am I supposed to have my vanilla-Oatly-ice-cream-with-rainbow-sprinkles-and-balsamic-vinagrette girl dinner, now?” added Gerald Benjamin ’26.
Students at the boycott held up signs saying, “Stop the Cone-spiracy!” and “CONE ERASURE!” as they chanted, “Leave alone our ice cream cones! Leave alone our ice cream cones!” The men’s football team came together to read a poem written by team captain Chadwick Carleton ’24 titled “Testosterone for Ice Cream Cones,” bringing the attendees to tears just as former president Biddy Martin arrived on a horse in support of the protest. The petition to bring back ice cream cones is currently at 4,339 signatures and this number is only rising, with staff and faculty, alumni, parents, and even President Swift Moore’s mother adding their names.
Apart from Fuches’ comments above, neither the college nor dining services has released an official statement in response to the protest. They have, however, announced that they will begin phasing out their compostable napkins in the next few weeks in an effort to further reduce waste and meet their sustainability goals, and students will be prohibited from bringing their own single-use napkins into Val. Instead, students are encouraged to purchase college-approved microfiber towelettes, now on sale in a variety of purples at Mammoth Market and Wheely Mammoths for $13.99 each.