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.

Stony Brook U Joins County in Eliminating Plastic Straws

The university recently signed onto a county-wide initiative aimed at eliminating plastic straws. Instead of plastic, all campus dining locations other than Starbucks will now offer special straws made of polylactic acid.

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.

Marquette U Eliminates Plastic Straws

The university is currently in the process of replacing plastic straws with paper straws at retail dining locations across campus.

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.

Maharishi U Student Farm Launches CSA

Students studying regenerative organic agriculture started a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and are providing 20 memberships to community members. For $320, CSA members will receive a weekly box of fresh vegetables during the 16-week growing season.

SUNY New Paltz Creates Two Faculty Sustainability Funds

The two new funds are the Campus Auxiliary Services Sustainability Endowment Fund, and the Campus Auxiliary Services Sustainability Expendable Fund. The overall purpose of both funds is to empower New Paltz faculty members to develop course curricula that include sustainable lessons and activities that draw on the rich agricultural resources and infrastructure of the Hudson Valley.

Dartmouth College Introduces Paper Straws

Dartmouth Dining Services has transitioned from the use of standard plastic straws to red-and-white-striped biodegradable paper straws in an effort attain a higher certification level in the Green Restaurant Association program.

Lynn U Becomes Fair Trade Certified

The university recently announced its official designation as a Fair Trade University, having completed the requirements in less than three months. Lynn met five essential requirements, which included making Fair Trade products available on campus and passing a Fair Trade resolution.

Southern Oregon U Implements Meatless Monday

In celebration of Earth Day, the university recently implemented quarterly Meatless Mondays in its main dining hall with hopes to expand the program on a monthly or weekly basis pending student feedback. The meatless proposal was headed by the Ecology and Sustainability Resource Center (ECOS,) who helped with advertising the event and demonstrating the pros and cons of meat consumption.

U Maryland Students Develop Educational Recycling App

In an effort to reduce contamination in recycling and compost bins, three university students created an app, Recyclify, that teaches users how to properly separate their waste. The app provides users with a full list of recyclable and compostable items from each restaurant at the food court. It tracks students' recycling behavior and awards points that are redeemable for discounts at certain restaurants.

U Maryland Pilots Compostable Paper Straws

During the month of April, the Maryland Dairy at the Stamp Student Union piloted using compostable paper straws. The pilot program was initiated by the general manager and supported by the student-led group Sustainable Ocean Alliance.

UK's National Union of Students Awards $140K to Student Projects

(U.K.) The National Union of Students' (NUS) Student Eats Program recently awarded over $138,000 (100,000 British pounds) to projects at nine universities in an effort to help scale-up programs that help students to grow food and develop food-based social enterprises.

California State U System Creates Healthy Food Working Group

In an effort to offer healthier food options on campus for students, the California State Universities' Food Systems Working Group convened had its inaugural meeting in March. The meeting was attended by students, professors, technical experts, dining management staff, food producers and administrators from all 23 campuses and their respective communities. Their goal is to get more real food, defined as local- and community-based, fair trade, ecologically sound and humane, on CSU campuses.

Acadia U to Eliminate Plastic Straws

At the request of students, Chartwells, Acadia’s food service provider, committed to eliminating plastic straws from retail and dining hall operations. ASU food and bar services have also reduced straws in operations as part of a campaign led by several students in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.

Arizona State U Becomes Fair Trade-Designated University

The university joins 47 other universities and 533 university retailers pledge to provide Fair Trade products, including coffee, tea, chocolate, textiles and more.

Cornell U Adopts New Standards for Healthy Dining

As part of the university's participation in the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, Cornell Dining is focusing on whole, minimally processed food and transparency in menu items. More than 50 changes have been made, such as: eliminating trans fats, MSG, and artificial food coloring; serving whole muscle meat with no soy protein fillers; and avoiding artificial additives in pepperoni, breakfast sausage, most deli meats and pizza.

Ocean County College Launches Food Pantry

Helping Hands is the college's first food pantry, which seeks to create food security for students at the community college.

U California Merced Receives Grant for Food Reduction Program

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery will issue the university $100,000 over three years to develop and implement a mobile food-waste prevention and storage distribution center that diverts food waste from the landfill.

Cleveland State U Transitions to Compostable Tableware

The university's Dining Services recently announced that they will be transitioning to 100 percent plant-based compostable cups, plates and utensils in all dining facilities and for catered campus events.

Culver Academies Begins Food Recovery Program

Culver is now repackaging its leftover food, freezing it, and then providing it to three different agencies for distribution to elderly in the area.

Northern Arizona U Pilots Reusable Containers

In an effort to reduce waste and recycling, the university implemented a program in January 2018 to gauge student interest in using reusable containers. Students pay a one-time fee of $5 for a container that can be used at several dining facilities. The NAU Green Fund spearheaded the campaign to get the container system on campus.

U Colorado Boulder Installs Vertical, Aeroponic Greenhouse

The new greenhouse is equipped with 140 towers, each of which contains 44 plants that are watered through a tube in the middle. The harvested greens go from the towers to a washing station a few feet away then to the salad bar at Village Center dining hall.

Princeton U Pilots Food Waste Biodigester

Beginning in February 2018, the university will pilot an in-vessel aerobic digester that will convert a portion of campus food waste into a soil amendment for university grounds, while serving as a living laboratory for multi-disciplinary investigations into all aspects of food waste conversion.

Meal Exchange Releases Food Report Card for Ontario Universities

The Campus Food Report Card released by Meal Exchange measures the success of Ontario universities in providing locally-grown, sustainable, healthy and accessible food as rated by students, foodservice staff and campus administrators at 21 campuses across the province.

North Carolina State U Uses Compostable Cups

Through a new partnership between the University Sustainability Office and Waste Reduction and Recycling, NC State Dining started using compostable cups in early January at two major dining locations on campus. This expands an existing compostable selection at the student union that includes napkins, to-go containers and single-use bamboo plates.

Colorado State U Receives $50K for Campus Sustainability & Water Research

The $50,000 grant will be split between campus sustainability research and collaboration, and STEM opportunities for diverse and underrepresented students. The university's National Western Center Sustainability Team will use $37,500 to develop innovations in water, energy, food systems, and health and recreation, and improve the natural environment. The second part of the grant, $12,500, supports the CSU Water Fellows program. First-generation CSU students from diverse and often underrepresented backgrounds will team with neighboring high school students to work on water issues.

Cornell U Living Lab Waste Project Reduces Contamination

The student club WasteNot prototyped designs for waste sorting signage that is more user-friendly and inclusive of the international community by featuring clear directions in several languages and visual cues. In the first pilot with the redesigned signage, total contamination dropped by 10 percent for landfill, 17 percent for recycling and 19 percent for compost. Plans are underway to roll out piloted designs across campus facilities.

Cornell U Launches Food Security Grocery Store

Based on results of a Cornell University survey indicating a high percentage of students were regularly without access to food, the Center for Transformative Action launched Anabel's Grocery to provide nutritious, affordable food that includes low-priced meals, daily meal kits and fresh staples. The store is student-led and has served over 1,000 students in the first semester of operations. The store also offers educational programs around quality food, food choices, wellness and positive social change.

U Virginia to Open Community Food Space

The Morven Food Lab at the university's Morven Farm will be both a physical space and an organizational structure that aims to bring together food-related initiatives across the university, including the UVA Food Collaborative, the University’s Sustainable Food Strategy Task Force, the Morven Summer Institute and the Morven Kitchen Garden, and from within the community.

U Montreal Launches Support Program for Fair Trade

The university launched a financial support program designed to encourage and support the promotion of fair trade and campus outreach on fair trade issues by allocating $2,000 toward select projects. The Fair Trade Student Initiatives Project is managed by students and funded by the Sustainability Office and students association.

Lehigh U Signs Real Food Campus Commitment

By signing the Real Food Campus Commitment, the university pledges to purchase at least 20 percent of its food annually from local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane sources by 2020. Becoming a signatory is aligned with the food purchasing goal captured in its 2020 Campus Sustainability Plan.

Northwestern U Introduces Reusable Cup Vending

The Cats Cups program aims to reduce the amount of waste from disposable cups and glasses by giving students the option to fill a specially designed reusable bottle. Students can purchase the cup with unlimited refills for $65.

Duke U Vendors Address Food Insecurity With $5 Lunch Option

A new Duke Dining program was introduced this fall that seeks to address the inaccessibility and cost of West Campus dining for first-year and low socioeconomic students. Called Daily Devil Deals, the program ensures that every vendor on Duke’s campus offers a lunch option for $5 or less.

Southern Oregon U Introduces Dish Loan Program

The Sustainability Resource Center at Southern Oregon launched a new program to loan reusable dishes and utensils for free at campus events in an effort to move toward zero waste events.