Ben Borgers

Donating forks to the dining hall

May 29, 2024

A year and a half ago, the dining hall would run out of forks every evening. My roommates and I would inevitably have to eat with spoons.

Finally, I decided to do something about it: I bought 180 forks.

But I had to make sure that my altruism would be commemorated. So I bought metal letter stamps on Amazon, and my roommate and I stamped our initials onto the back of every fork: a “B” for Ben, or an “H” for Henry.

Then, I had to quietly enter my forks into circulation.

For months, I would bring packs of 12 forks to the dining hall and spread them across my friends’ plates at the end of the meal before the dishes were returned.

But with the end of the year fast-approaching, and over 100 forks left, I went with the nuclear option: bringing all the remaining forks at once, and depositing them into a fresh bucket at the silverware station when no one was looking.

For the months that followed, I would look around and every once in a while see someone eating with one of my forks. (The design is a little different, so you can spot it from a distance.)

Sometimes I would even look down while eating and realize that I had by chance grabbed one of my forks for myself.

I’m not sure whether I can take all the credit, but Dewick stopped having fork shortages. They did start running out of knives soon thereafter, but I decided that my generosity could only go so far.

Since I no longer live on-campus, I haven’t gone to a dining hall in a year.

But a few months ago, while eating at my girlfriend’s apartment, I flipped over my fork and found this:

The tenants who lived there the year before must have gone to Dewick and stolen some of the university’s silverware for themselves.

“Generosity is like a boomerang; when you give [forks] with an open heart, [forks] always find their way back to you.”