U Wisconsin–Madison Launches Reusable Takeout Container Program
Beginning in fall 2018, the university's dining services started a reusable to-go container program in order to reduce single-use disposable waste in dining facilities. Tokens for the containers are $5 each. After containers have been used, students can return them via a vending machine-like drop-off where, in exchange, they are given a new token.
U Connecticut Dining Stops Using Plastic Grocery Bags
Plastic bags are no longer used at Grab & Go locations on campus, a decision made by the university's Department of Dining Services in collaboration with a zero waste campaign. Brown paper bags that are 100 percent recyclable and reusable will now be available at the cost of ten cents each. Dining Services will be working with the zero waste group this semester to establish drop-off containers for paper bags that can then be reused by other customers at no cost. Additionally, reusable pocket size shopping bags will be available for sale.
New England HEIs Receive $250K for Local Food Solutions
The Henry P. Kendall Foundation announced the 2018 winners of the New England Food Vision prize, a $250,000 award designed to raise awareness of the environmental, economic and health impacts of our food choices, support regional agricultural resiliency, and use the purchasing power of institutions to influence consumers. Institutions were asked to partner with a peer institution to identify collaborative solutions to offer more regionally-produced food on their menus. Five winning teams will receive a $250,000 prize to implement their proposed projects.
EPA Announces Food Recovery Challenge Winners
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Challenge highlights outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food. California State University, Northridge and University of Texas at Arlington, Texas were 2018 national winners. In addition to national awards, EPA regional offices across the country provided recognition to Food Recovery Challenge participants for outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food. Regional winners include Boston College, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Skidmore College, and the University of Pittsburgh.
St. Joseph's College Switches to Biodegradable Straws
The college recently switched from plastic straws to biodegradable straws through an agreement between Student Government, the college’s Mission-Aligned Businesses, and Sustainable Enterprises. Additionally, in an effort to reduce single-use cups, one of the college's coffee stations now offers free coffee to students and employees who bring their own reusable cups.
Maharishi U Management Students Tackle Local Food Insecurity
The new program, “Global Solutions: Consciousness and the Challenges of the 21st Century,” engages students in projects that range from encouraging farmers and gardeners to grow extra food to contacting retailers to reclaim unsold food rather than having it go into a landfill.
U Montreal Reduces Leftover Food Waste
In an effort to reduce food waste, the university's food service provider launched a new project to sell meals, sandwiches, salads and other surplus food at cost to students living in residence.
Cleveland State U Begins Campaign to Reduce Plastic Straw Use
CSU Dining implemented a new initiative to reduce the amount of plastic and single-use waste generated on campus. The “Skip the Straw” program, which began in early November, gives straws only for select beverages such as a smoothie. Most retail outlets will keep straws behind the counter and made available by request only.
U Maryland Begins Emergency Meal Initiative
The university launched the Emergency Meal Fund following growing recognition of the variety of challenges faced by food-insecure students, such as physical health problems, lower self-esteem, anxiety and depression. A partnership between the Student Government Association and Dining Services, the program offers 10 meals in any of the university’s three dining halls to students in crisis.
Georgia Tech Pilots Using Wastewater to Grow Vegetables
A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant totaling $5 million over five years will enable the university to pilot a hydroponic growing system using domestic wastewater extracted from the campus sewer system. The overall goal is to show that using the nutrients and water resources from domestic wastewater in an urban controlled environment agriculture system is socially, environmentally and financially sustainable and can easily be replicated in other cities.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Opens Free Store
The Cougar Cupboard is a new initiative that stocks food and important hygiene products free of charge for students. Patrons of the cupboard receive enough food for each family member residing in their household to eat for approximately three days.
St. Thomas Aquinas College Earns Fair Trade Designation
The college recently announced its official designation as a Fair Trade College as part of the national initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns to engage college and university students in issues of global poverty. This student-led initiative at the college began as a small independent study and grew into a collaborative team of students, faculty and administrators that worked to meet the campus certification requirements through further incorporating Fair Trade principles into our curriculum and serving fair trade products at campus dining facilities.
U Manitoba Launches Single-Use Cup Reduction Campaign
Following a waste audit that resulted in a public disposable cup display to raise awareness for how many cups are used, the Office of Sustainability launched a Choose to Refuse Single-Use Cups campaign in an effort to reduce the nearly 1.2 million disposable coffee cups used in an academic year.
U Texas Dallas Begins Post-Consumer Composting
In addition to pre-consumer food waste from meal preparation, now students in one dining hall will be able to scrape everything from their plates, including food waste and napkins, into composting bins before placing their plates, cups and utensils in the dish return area. The university will use an outside contractor for composting. The transition was aided by prior changes including eliminating trays, straws and plastic foam cups.
U Texas Dallas Implements Post-Consumer Composting
Building on its pre-consumer food composting program, the university recently set up its dining hall so that students can scrape their plate, including napkins, into a collection bin. Aiding the reduction of food waste, the dining hall does not use trays, eliminated straws and foam cups, and works with a student chapter of Food Recovery Network to collect leftovers from campus dining locations for those struggling to avoid hunger.
U New Hampshire Opens Aquaponic Greenhouse Facility
Under construction for two years, the new aquaponics research facility at the university's Kingman Research Farm will allow scientists to evaluate hydroponic plants grown in a recirculating aquaculture system with nutrients from the food fed to fish. Using three identical greenhouses, researchers aim to develop an economically sustainable aquaculture production system design.
Chartwells Higher Education Announces Its Commitment to Sourcing Fair Trade Products
Chartwells Higher Education, in conjunction with Fair Trade Campaigns, recently announced its commitment to sourcing Fair Trade products at all 280 Chartwells locations across the U.S. As part of this commitment, Chartwells Higher Education began offering Fair Trade Certified food and beverage items such as coffee and tea, chocolate, energy bars, sugar and bananas in each of its dining operations this fall.
Trinity College Formalizes Composting Program
Expanding the former, student-led program, the college will begin working with an outside contractor in November to collect food scraps eight times per month. Implementation of this expanded program puts the college's dining hall closer toward its goal of getting Green Restaurant certified.
Southern Oregon U Signs Real Food Commitment
By signing up for the Real Food Challenge, the university agreed that at least 20 percent of its food budget by 2023 will be spent on “real food”. To get there, the university will establish a transparent reporting system and file an annual progress report to evaluate its food purchasing practices; create a food systems working group that will develop a “real food" policy and multi-year action plan; and increase awareness of ecologically sustainable, humane and socially equitable food systems.
U Waterloo Opens Vegan-Vegetarian Restaurant
The university's first restaurant dedicated to vegan and vegetarian cuisine, called FRSH, focuses all menu items on low-impact options such as salads, flatbreads and hot bowls. Though a couple dishes contain dairy, all menu items feature plant-based proteins. The change comes after students and employees expressed increasing interest in more vegan and vegetarian options on campus.
U College Cork Opens Plastic-Free Cafe
(Ireland) The university's Bio Green Cafe was renovated in August 2018 and reopened as a plastic-free cafe after having implementing a number of strategies to totally eliminate all single-use plastic. Measures include replacing plastic drink bottles with glass and cans, removing disposable cutlery and plastic sauce packets, using ceramic mugs for hot beverages, and eliminating plastic-wrapped snacks.
Princeton U Dining Diversifies Food & Reduces Plastic Use
The culinary team spent the summer reworking all the menus in the Frist Food Gallery with the goal of including healthier, globally diverse menu options. Plastic water bottles were replaced by refillable cups, glass bottles and several types of carton water. Plastic bags were replaced by paper bags, now available by request. Silverware were moved to a more prominent position and for to-go orders, plant-based utensils are given. Paper and plastic straws are now available at the cashier stations upon request.
Rice U Dining Expands Inclusive Dining Options
This semester the university is debuting its plant-based charcuterie program, which seeks to make a variety of meat-and-dairy-free foods such as sausage, cheese, corned beef and pastrami. By using the term plant-based rather than vegan, the university hopes to appeal to those that don't consider themselves vegan.
Campaign Calls on Food Contractors to Invest in Real Food
The Community Coalition for Real Meals recently launched a nationwide campaign urging the higher education divisions of Aramark, Compass Group and Sodexo to commit to serve 25 percent "Real Food" as defined by Real Food Challenge, reduce carbon emissions and industrial animal products, invest in racial justice and equity, and increase transparency and accountability. The coalition will publish report cards on the progress of each company. The coalition is a grassroots alliance of farmers, ranchers, fishers, food workers, students and environmental advocates.
Lehigh U to Phase Out Plastic Straws
The university will be replacing plastic straws with paper ones across campus by Sept. 11. Plastic straw bans have raised concern among disability rights groups, which is why the university decided against a ban. Dining services staff will provide reasonable access to plastic straws for people who need them.
Sonoma State U Bans Plastic Straws
The university is enacting California's Assembly Bill 1884, which prohibits any sit-down food facility from providing single-use plastic straws to consumers unless requested by the customer. Culinary services will switch to paper straws.
Baylor U Removes Plastic Straws From Cafeterias
This semester the university pulled plastic straws from routine use in cafeterias operating in Baylor’s four residence halls. Students wanting a plastic straw must request one. Straws will be available for take-out orders.
George Washington U Expands Dining Representative Program
There are now six GW Dining representatives who tweet information about on-campus dining options for students with dietary restrictions. GW Dining debuted the dining representative program last September, using students with specific diets – Kosher, vegan and vegetarian, Halal and gluten-free – to advertise dining vendors and meal options for students.
Pace U Moves Toward Plastic-Free Campus
The university's Elisabeth Haub School of Law will no longer use non-reusable water bottles, plastic straws, disposable plates or cutlery. Instead, paper straws, china and metal flatware will be used in the cafeteria. In addition, at all of its programs, the school will not use paper or plastic products and will provide water-bottle fill stations rather than individual plastic water bottles.
Rollins College Bans Straws
Plastic straws have now been removed from all food services on campus. Paper and pasta straws will be available upon request and cups now have lids with openings to drink from directly.
Ithaca College to Pilot Peer Program That Addresses Hunger
Students will soon have the option to anonymously donate their allotted guest passes on their college meal plan to fellow students facing food insecurity. The initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with Swipe Out Hunger, an organization that partners with higher education institutions to address student hunger. The program will begin with a yearlong trial phase, during which the college's Student Financial Services will collect data, including the number of passes donated and the number used, in order to assess its effectiveness.
Danville Area CC Sustainability Land Learning Lab Receives Grant
The $20,000 gift from the Arconic Foundation includes funds to improve the honey bee project with new bees and hives, bee suits, and honey harvest equipment. Another portion of the funds will provide tools to aid in production and curriculum such as a solar powered remote weather station and agricultural drone. Finally, the grant provides funds for equipment to improve working conditions at the lab – a utility vehicle and gas generator.
Slippery Rock U Dining Installs Hydroponic Garden
Chefs in Boozel Dining Hall can now use fresh herbs and vegetables in their daily menu thanks to a new indoor, soilless growing system. The hydroponic garden was installed in partnership with a business that focuses on indoor gardening and STEM education for restaurants and institutional dining halls.
Vanderbilt U Dining Reduces Meat Purchases & Plastic Waste
In addition to offering more plant-based options, such as a "cauliflower steak" and a wheat- and potato-protein burger, the university's dining facilities are also reducing the amount of beef used in burgers by replacing about a quarter of it with mushrooms. This is expected to reduce their meat purchases by about 700 pounds per month. Plastic straws, cold cup lids and plastic bags will be phased out in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
U Edinburgh Charges for Disposable Cups
(U.K.) As of August 2018, all hot drink prices in university cafes will be lowered to show the price customers will pay if they bring their own reusable cup, while customers without cups will be charged a small fee to purchase a disposable cup. This reverses the previous pricing structure in which all hot drinks prices were for disposable cups, with customers who brought a reusable cup receiving a discount.
Georgia Southern U Dining Offers Farm-to-Table Program
Thanks to a new in-house partnership, the farm-to-table program will feature food from the university's aquaponics farm, the Foram Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center. The aquaponics system is located in an approximately 4100-square-foot greenhouse that supports student and faculty research in multiple departments.
Penn State U Receives $50K for Student Farm
The $50,000 from the university's Auxiliary & Business Services will be used to support paid student interns and an assistant farm manager at the university's Student Farm, which is in the third year of operation. Led by members of the Student Farm Club and housed within Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, the Student Farm gives students from across the university hands-on experience in all facets of farming and running a business.
Bucknell U Diverts Food to Animals in Behavior Program
Since last fall, Bucknell University Dining has donated excess fruit and vegetable cuttings to its Animal Behavior Program, which is used to supplement the diets of the roughly 50 primates housed on campus. The donated food has allowed the Animal Behavior Program to cut its supplemental food budget in half.
NACUFS Highlights Dining Sustainability Award Winners
The annual National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards recognize and honor member institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability, specifically as it relates to campus dining operations. The overall winner was Harvard University, which also earned Silver in Waste Management. Boston College earned top honors in Outreach and Education, Carleton University earned first place in Waste Management, and the University of Rochester earned top place in Procurement Practices.
Duke U Bans Disposable Plastics
All 34 dining locations on the university’s campus are now required to no longer carry single-use plastic carryout bags, plastic hot and cold beverage cups, plastic straws, and plastic utensils. In recent years, Duke Dining has also eliminated its use of bleached paper products and Styrofoam. Dining venues will now use paper bags and utensils, and straws and drinkware made from a Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plant-based substance with properties similar to traditional, oil-based plastics.
U Manchester Wins 2018 'Sustainable Business Award' for Food Services
(U.K.) The university's hospitality and events team was recently awarded with the Cateys' Sustainable Business Award, organized by The Caterer. The Cateys are a U.K. hospitality and catering award program that showcases innovative brands and trail-blazing people from across hotels, restaurants, foodservice and pubs and bars.