Duke U, Unity College & U Texas Austin Win Top Honors for Dining Practices
The National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards recognize and honor institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability in campus dining operations. The 2017 grand prize winner is Unity College, who also won top honors in the Waste Management category followed by Oregon State University and Georgia State University, respectively. The first, second and third place winners in Outreach and Education are respectively University of Texas at Austin, University of Massachusetts Amherst and College of Saint Benedict. In the Procurement Practices category, Duke University, University of Montana and Purdue University ranked first, second and third place respectively.
U Michigan Serves Campus Farm Produce
The university's campus farm was able to begin supplying its produce to on-campus dining halls after attaining its USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) food safety certification in June. This effort was in part made possible by the addition of a covered produce wash station built by volunteers and student farmers. Students volunteers work at the farm each week, engaging in hands-on learning about sustainable farming, the environment, equality and issues of justice surrounding food.
U College London Pilots Paper Cup Recycling
(U.K.) The two month pilot is intended to determine the viability of rolling out a permanent paper cup recycling service. During the pilot, paper cups, including those used for coffee and soft drinks, will be collected separately and taken to a mill where the polymer plastic liner will be separated so all the paper fiber can be recovered and recycled.
Dartmouth College Deploys Reusable To-Go Containers
After two years of research and assistance from the Dartmouth Office of Sustainability and Dartmouth Dining Services, a student helped launch the Green2Go food takeout program, which replaces the disposable to-go containers with reusable ones. The program involves a one-time payment of $4 for a reusable container. Used containers can be dropped off at any dining location on campus.
U California Merced Launches Food Exchange & Engagement Program
To help address issues ranging from food waste to food insecurity and resource scarcity, the university recently launched CropMobster Merced County, an online food and agricultural exchange and community engagement program. CropMobster, an online platform introduced in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013, aims to bring together farmers, producers, hunger relief organizations and community members. Part of the program's funding comes from the UC Office of the President as part of its ongoing Global Food Initiative.
U Vermont Reaches Real Food Challenge Goal Three Years Early
In an April 17 announcement, members of the Real Food Challenge and UVM Dining confirmed the university is serving 21 percent "real food", three years ahead of its goal of 20 percent by 2020. It has established a new goal of 25 percent "real food" as determined by the Real Food Challenge by 2020.
U Montreal Receives Fair Trade Campus Designation
The university recently earned the Fair Trade Campus designation by serving certified Fair Trade coffee at all locations where coffee is served and offering three certified Fair Trade tea choices and one chocolate option at every food service outlet.
U Connecticut Dining Halls Attain Green Restaurant Certification
All eight residential dining units at the university were recently certified as “Green Restaurants” by the Green Restaurant Association, a designation given to facilities that meet several standards in conserving energy and water, reducing food waste, and reducing and recycling waste
St. John's U Receives Fair Trade Designation
Meeting the requirements set forth by Fair Trade Campaigns, a grassroots movement mobilizing campuses to embed Fair Trade practices and principles into policy, the university recently earned the designation after three years of working toward that end.
Williams College Students Turn Leftovers Into Donations
Leftover meals that went unserved in the dining halls are now being gathered up by students, packaged into meals and delivered by volunteers from several different student organizations under an umbrella initiative known as "The Campus Kitchens Project," a leading national nonprofit empowering students to fight hunger and food waste. Student volunteers pick up food three nights a week from campus dining halls, chill the food for 24 hours, and then package the meals for deliveries to multiple affordable housing communities.
U Maryland Farm Registers 30K Pounds of Food in Three Years
Located about 15 miles from the university, the campus farm concluded its three-year pilot program in late 2016 registering more than 29,000 pounds of vegetables, the majority of which went directly to campus dining halls. Six thousand pounds of produce were donated to hunger relief organizations, including the Campus Pantry, a program that provides emergency food to university students, faculty and staff.
U Saskatchewan Looks to Tackle Food Waste With Food Dehydrator
A new food waste dehydrator now aids composting at the university by producing a semi-composted material that will be added to existing outdoor compost piles and landscaping materials. The liquid removed from the food waste can be used as a fertilizer in campus flower beds. An estimated 2,500 pounds of food waste will be diverted from the landfill weekly.
Capilano U Gets Fair Trade Campus Designation
Canadian Fair Trade Campus recently honored the university with the designation after it's dining services provider, Chartwells, and the university’s food and beverage services group committed to a wide range of ethically-sourced food and beverage offerings and an educational component that highlights the impact that responsible buying has on producers and their communities.
Auburn U Introduces Aquaponics-Grown Food
The aquaponics project, a collaborative effort among a local fishery and two university units, gives students a hands-on educational experience while providing Campus Dining with locally grown food. A 1,600-acre, local fishery is used to raise tilapia, and the discharge water is used to used to supply nutrients to plants like cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes as part of the project.
Wilfrid Laurier U Gets Fair Trade Designation
University staff spent the past year developing a fair trade steering committee, making changes to product availability and working with retail managers and vendors. Under the designation, all food outlets operated by university and its Students’ Union in Brantford and Waterloo will serve fair trade certified coffee, and fair trade certified options for tea and chocolate bars.
Northland College Aims to be Regional Food Hub
Working toward providing 80 percent locally grown food by 2020, the college is currently constructing a Food Systems Center, which will include a food-processing lab, composting system, demonstration gardens, a high tunnel greenhouse, an orchard and academic programming.
McHenry County College Earns Certified Green Restaurant Status
The college's cafeteria recently earned Level 2 Green Restaurant Certification from the Green Restaurant Association, an international nonprofit organization helping restaurants become more sustainable. McHenry uses vegetables from its Horticulture Department and has eliminated the use of Styrofoam.
Georgia State U Dining Facilities Receive Green Restaurant Certification
Two dining facilities have been named as Three Star Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association, an international nonprofit organization helping restaurants become more sustainable. One of the dining halls applied 56 environmental steps from the Green Restaurant Association’s rating system, while the other implemented 51 steps. Both dining commons received their highest marks in the waste reduction category along with recycling and composting efforts that keep up to 90 percent of PantherDining’s waste out of landfills annually.
U California, Davis & Ursinus College Win EPA Food Recovery Challenge
The University of California, Davis was recognized for its efforts to actively prevent and reduce food waste. UC Davis staff proactively gather, track and analyze metrics on a regular basis to identify opportunities to reduce waste further. Ursinus College is the winner in the Colleges and Universities data-driven section, achieving the highest percent increases in their sector comparing year-to-year data. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Challenge highlights outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food in various sectors of the U.S.
Hope College Dining Services Provider Awards Certification
The college's dining services provider, Creative Dining Services, awarded the college a Gold certification as part of the providers Sustainability and Ecological Engagement and Development program, which awards points in the categories of non-food waste, food waste, energy and water, and sourcing. Initiatives pursued at the college include trayless dining, which reduces food waste, water use, detergents and energy for cleaning, using food waste for compost and procuring local food.
U Texas El Paso Introduces Eco-Takeout Program
The student-driven Eco-Takeouts program is an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of plastic foam by replacing disposable takeout boxes with reusable containers at different eateries throughout campus. Participants in the Eco-Takeouts program are issued a token, which can then be taken to a participating dining location on campus in exchange for an to-go container. Once the participant is done with the container, they can exchange it for a new token and repeat the process.
Marist College Dining Becomes REAL Certified
The college's Dining Services by Sodexo recently received the United States Healthful Food Council's certification for Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL). To become REAL Certified, operators must satisfy prerequisites and earn sufficient points in the areas of nutrition, preparation and sourcing, and demonstrate going above and beyond in dining services.
Smith College Signs 'Real Food Challenge'
The college signed onto the Real Food Challenge in October 2016, pledging 20 percent of the food provided on campus will meet sustainability and fairness standards set by the Real Food Challenge organization by 2020. Students, whom the college's president credits for leading the effort to get Smith to join the Real Food Challenge, have been working for three years to research food practices and raise awareness of sustainable food issues on campus.
Rice U Dining Halls Receive Sustainable Restaurant Certification
All six of the university's undergraduate dining halls were recently named Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association. The Green Restaurant Association evaluates restaurants and awards points in seven sustainability categories: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable durable goods and building materials, sustainable food, energy, reusables and environmentally preferable disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction.
Dalhousie U Adopts Sustainable Food Plan
The newly released framework from the university's Food Services and Office of Sustainability supports and adheres to the vision and principles identified in the Dalhousie University Sustainability Plan. The plan is primarily focused on but not limited to the food procurement, preparation, kitchen operation and end use, for which there are 11 goals spanning these four areas.
Sacred Heart U Earns REAL Certification
The university earned the Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) certification from United States Healthful Food Council for its foodservice providers' commitment to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.
U Saskatchewan Plants Rooftop Garden
The urban garden project currently underway is part of the university's Department of Plant Sciences, through which a class on urban food production is offered. The food is sold to Culinary Services, who supplies food waste back to the university's compost that is used in the garden to create a closed loop.
North Carolina State U Welcomes Aquaponics to Student Union
Thanks to the NC State Sustainability Fund, the university's Talley Student Union is now home to a student-designed and maintained, 800-gallon aquaponics system, a closed-loop food production method, featuring a tank of up to 15 fish and two shallow planting containers that will grow tomatoes and salad greens in water.
U Virginia Dining Partners with Student-Led Agricultural Organization
Starting in fall 2016, the new partnership enables students to use their meal plans to choose between the pre-built snack boxes and produce boxes available from Greens to Grounds, a nonprofit, student-run agricultural organization that is dedicated to making fresh, local food accessible to students.
Indiana U-Purdue U to Obtain Zero Waste Athletic Facility
The university's Natatorium will be ready to operate as a zero-waste athletic facility in June, becoming the first athletic facility in Indiana to achieve zero-waste goals and hosting the first Olympic event to have the zero-waste designation. Being a zero-waste venue means that by weight, 90 percent of all waste must be recycled or composted. Only 10 percent may be disposed of as trash.
Northern Arizona U Begins Food Scrap Composting
In addition to implementing the EPA's Food Recovery Challenge that diverts and tracks organic waste and the Food Recovery Network that helps move food to food banks, a new student-led collaboration at the university yielded machines that grind and dehydrate food waste so that it can be more easily composted and used in campus landscaping.
U California Los Angeles Becomes Fair Trade University
Fair Trade Colleges and Universities announced that after three years of working on the designation, the university received the title of Fair Trade University. The process involved forming a committee, offering Fair Trade products through campus dining outlets, and catering and hosting educational events on campus.
NACUFS Announces Sustainability Award Winners
The National Association of College & University Food Services announced the 2016 awardees for its four categories. Outreach and Engagement winners are Brown University Dining Services (Gold), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Silver) and Virginia Tech University (Bronze). Waste Management winners are Princeton University (Gold), Colorado State University (Silver) and Johnson County Community College (Bronze). Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in the Procurement Practices category are, respectively, Harvard University Dining Services, University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Green Champion Student winner is Sarah Leann Ross at Colorado State University.
Tennessee Technological U Becomes REAL Certified
The REAL, or Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership, Certification from the United States Healthful Food Council uses a points-based system, implemented with assistance from independent, third-party registered dietitians and is based on nutritional benefit, food quality and experience, procurement from safe and high quality sources, and food that enables better choices.
Auburn U Opens Certified Gluten-Free Restaurant
University students with gluten intolerance now have access to Plains to Plate, a locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant that is now certified gluten-free and is the first retail concept on a college campus to achieve a Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) certification, a part of the Gluten Intolerance Group.
Washington U St. Louis Releases Report on Bottled Water Ban
The new report indicates that bottled beverage sales at the university have plummeted 39 percent since 2009, a reduction of 567,000 bottles in the 2014-15 academic year relative to the 2008-09 academic year. The school initiated the ban as part of its comprehensive efforts to reduce its environmental impact.
Cornell U Hosts Diet Education Events
The university will have a series of events designed to help participants improve their diet and reduce carbon emissions associated with food. The events will feature plant-based dishes and prizes for attendees.
Brandeis U Hosts Food and Sustainability Dialogue
Students recently organized a series of panel discussions for interested participants to discuss what role food choices can make in fighting climate change. Called the Brandeis Food Tank: The Think Tank on Food and Sustainability, the series explored food production, insecurity, waste, diets and education.
EPA 2015 Food Recovery Challenge Announces Regional Winners
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the five universities winners of the 2015 Food Recovery Challenge as California State University, Northridge; Northern Arizona University; Rochester Institute of Technology; University of Arizona; and University of California, Davis. These institutions pledged to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results.
Penn State Students Help Peers Make Healthy Food Choices
Thanks to a new blog, the RHEAL Deal (Residential Healthy Eating and Living Deal), university student nutrition assistants communicate weekly posts highlighting healthy items in the dining commons. The blog posts include information about the nutrients in the featured food, different ways it can be prepared and where it can be found in the dining commons. Food that meets the healthy qualifications of RHEAL are also marked by a carrot icon on the entrée card.
Lehigh U Restaurant Earns Green Certification
Sodexo-operated Rathbone Student Restaurant has officially been named a two-star certified green restaurant after meeting environmental standards of The Green Restaurant Association. The standards provide a way to measure a restaurant’s environmental accomplishments, while providing a path for next steps each restaurant can take towards increased environmental sustainability.
Washington State U Becomes Marine Stewardship Council Certified
As of February, the school became the first university in Washington state, and one of a dozen institutions of higher education around the country, to obtain the certification, which means that seafood products are sourced from a sustainable and well-managed fishery and is traceable from ocean to plate.
U Delaware Implements Meatless Monday
As part of its commitment to provide students, faculty and staff with healthy, sustainable fare, the university's Dining Services now offers meat-free meals daily and will participate in Meatless Monday by increasing awareness of available meatless options on campus.
Sterling College Reports 76 Percent Sustainable Food
The college, known for growing 20 percent of its own food, was recently honored by Real Food Challenge for growing or procuring 76 percent of its food that is local, sustainable, humane and fair-trade. According to Real Food Challenge, the next highest ranked institution eats only 34 percent "real food". The Real Food Challenge survey the college used to determine its "real food" content also revealed the college eats 54 percent local food, defined as food that comes from either large farms within a 150-mile radius of campus or small farms within a 250-mile radius.
Portland State U Reduces Food Waste Through Visual Display
The Food Waste Buffet is a new initiative of the university's Campus Sustainability Office and Aramark that is aimed at educating students about healthy, responsible eating and reducing rood waste. A display of all uneaten food from students' lunch plates, the Food Waste Buffet was also accompanied by an intervention program that encouraged students to ask for a sample before deciding to get a whole serving.
Chatham U Farm Receives Organic Certification
The university’s Eden Hall Farm has received a Certificate of Organic Operation from Pennsylvania Certified Organic, which guarantees that the farm is compliant with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program and that products grown on the farm meet all organic standards. This certification allows Eden Hall campus to continue its expansion as a teaching tool for students interested in organic certification and for local growers wanting to know more about the certification process.
U California Davis Becomes REAL Certified
The United States Healthful Food Council recently announced that the university is the second university in the U.S. to be audited and certified for Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL). Modeled after USGBC LEED, REAL Certified uses a point-based system, implemented with assistance from independent, third-party registered dietitians, based on nutritional benefit, food preparation that enhances food quality and experience, procurement from safe and high quality sources, and food that enables better choices. Stanford University was the first REAL Certified university.