Updated: Sept. 2, 11:50 a.m. to correct an explanation for the clip given out by Elon Dining. Elon News Network regrets this error.

The word “free” caught the attention of Elon students walking outside Lakeside today. 

Elon Dining is kicking off the school year by setting up different venue tents and giving out drink samples. The companies that set up shop include UpDog Kombucha, Sunshine Beverages, Smittys among many others. 

Casey Claflin is the guest experience manager fro Elon Dining. He organized the local vendors and placed them around the Iconic Plaza. 

“This is our big welcome back program,” Claflin said. “Most of the vendors here actually have someone here who works for the company, in some cases the founder of the company, so there’s no better person to communicate that vision and their product on campus.” 

Elon Dining Sustainability also introduced the new reusable dining hall trays at a table. Elon Dining Sustainability Coordinator Caroline Reddick claims these new dining trays will help with a campus-wide sustainability initiative. Reddick was at a table explaining how these new trays work.  

She explained to new students that Elon Dining Services will offer the sustainable to-go container to all students with a meal plan. Reddick says students can ask dining hall staff to wash the tray. If students don't want to take a clean box the next time they visit the dining hall, students instead can take a clip with them to hang on to. Once a student wants other clean box, they can then trade the clip for a fresh container.