Amherst Magazine

Tally Me Banana

Here’s a weighty question: How many pounds of bananas does Valentine Dining Hall go through in a single year?
After the college posted that very question on its Facebook page, more than 40 people contributed guesses. Responses ranged from 1,500 pounds (not even close) to 47,000 pounds (very warm) to 100,000 pounds (way too many).

One poster said he multiplied the weight of a banana (source: the International Banana Association) by the number of students, faculty and staff, and then, assuming three bananas per person per week that Valentine is open, settled on exactly 61,486.7486 pounds of bananas per year.

Sadly (not only for him and but also for the International Banana Association), he overestimated the popularity of bananas on campus.

Not to fear, though: another poster, Rhea Ghosh ’10, guessed the exact amount—49,000 pounds. Here was her reasoning: “Just in case you’re curious, I Googled the average weight of a banana—7 ounces, or 7/16 pounds—settled on 40 weeks (or 280 days) as the amount of time Valentine would be in use during the year including school and camps, and decided that approximately one quarter of the student body (hoping that the faculty and staff banana-eaters would even out some other off-base assumption), or 400 students, ate bananas every day. 7/16 x 400 x 280 = 49,000. Thankfully for me it seems that banana eaters consume in round numbers.”