Student Interest Drives New Food Pulper at Oberlin College

Oberlin College (OH) is installing a machine that pulps and condenses food waste in its largest dining hall after several years of research and student input. The ground and drained food waste, collected from food prep to post-consumer scraps, will be used as compost at a nearby farm. In its second phase, the pulper will grind up disposable, compostable containers offered for carry-out food.

Davidson College Launches Local Food Cart

Davidson College's (NC) Food Club has launched a mobile cart to provide local food to the campus community. The Food Cart sells locally produced pasta noodles, peaches, apples, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and pastries that club members purchase from the local farmers market.

Boston College Students Call for Fair Trade

As a result of student petitioning, Boston College's (MA) Dining and Facilities has announced the pilot sale of fair trade bananas in two campus locations. If they sell well, the college plans to make fair trade bananas the standard for all dining halls on campus. Also in this article, the college has announced the pilot of a student-developed Power Dashboard. Operating in select residence halls, the dashboard allows students to constantly monitor their daily energy use. The developers hope that making energy use visible, accessible and real to students will motivate them to decrease their energy consumption through simple lifestyle modifications.

Students Champion Sustainable Meat Procurement on Campus

A recent Inside Higher Ed article reports a "growing cultural movement" of students trying to get sustainable meat, or less meat, on campuses. The article profiles student group efforts at Wesleyan University (CT), Bowdoin College (ME) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill toward local, pasture-raised meat suppliers and weekly meat-free days. Challenges to the movement, says the article, include pro-meat student protests to meat-free days and safety, equipment and process regulations required by large food providers that aren't feasible for smaller producers who raise their animals humanely.

Appalachian State U Develops 'Always Local' List

Appalachian State University's (NC) Food Services has developed a dynamic "Always Local" list of products that can be found in its dining facilities. The university created an "Always Local" icon for students, faculty and staff to identify items that were grown and/or produced within 250 miles of the university. The list currently contains more than 25 vendors.

U Montana Dining Services Receives Sustainability Recognition

The University of Montana's Dining Services was recently recognized by the Western Sustainability Exchange for meeting or exceeding the organization's sustainable business standards for restaurants. The university received a Certificate of Sustainability by purchasing more than $612,000 of local food this year. A significant portion of that money was spent on purchasing beef from eastern Montana through the university's Farm to College Program. The certificate also recognizes that the university spent 16 percent of its total budget on Montana foods, reduced food waste in the main dining room through its trayless program, and decreased solid food waste by 90 percent using a food pulper and waste dehydration system.

Cal Poly Pomona Students to Conduct Campus Restaurant Audit

Students and faculty at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona are conducting an environmental audit of the university's Collins College of Hospitality Management restaurant. Food sourcing, food waste and energy, and water consumption will be studied closely. The restaurant operates as a classroom where undergraduates can learn all aspects of a hospitality business. Each quarter, a lunch class and a dinner class operate the restaurant, which is open to the public. The restaurant currently features a culinary garden, energy- and water-efficient equipment, and some locally sourced food.

U Arizona Students Harvest Mesquite Pods for Dining Services

The University of Arizona has begun harvesting mesquite pods from campus trees. The student-led project has volunteers fanning out across campus twice a week to harvest the pods, which ripen to make flour. Campus chefs are working on recipes that will use the flour including scones and cookies. The project will also work to educate the community about the nutritional benefits of eating mesquite products, as well as appreciate it as a sustainable practice.

Messiah College Creates Sunflower Power Project

Messiah College (PA) has launched the Sunflower Project, a plan to squeeze the oil out of the sunflower seeds to be used in the campus dining hall and biofuel. The college is growing five acres of sunflower plants for cooking oil. Once it is used in the dining hall, it will be converted to fuel for campus vehicles. The college expects to produce 500 gallons of oil. The college has been recycling cooking oil for the last three years to power some of its vehicles and heat some of its buildings.

U South Florida Dining Services Eliminates Styrofoam

The University of South Florida's Dining Services has eliminated Styrofoam take-out boxes in campus dining halls in favor of reusable to-go boxes. The plastic containers are offered to students for a $4 refundable deposit. The university purchased 7,500 reusable containers for $17,000 but has saved $23,000 by not using Styrofoam. With the reduction of plastic foam, the university aims to reduce carbon emissions and landfill space.

U Guelph to Debut Produce Processing Room

The University of Guelph (ON) is finalizing plans to build a produce processing room on campus, which will allow for the preparation of more vegetables procured from local farmers and suppliers. Since 2009, the university has doubled its purchases from a local produce auction and as a result about 45 percent of produce is local. The university aims to grow this percent as the on-campus processing capacity increases.

U California Berkeley Earns Sustainable Seafood Certification

The University of California, Berkeley's Cal Dining has become the first public university in the nation to be awarded a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for its commitment to seafood sustainability. The MSC ecolabel designates seafood that can be traced through every step of the supply chain to show it has not contributed to the environmental problem of overfishing. To be certified by the MSC, a dining program must be able to prove that the seafood comes from an MSC-certified supplier.

U Winnipeg Local Food Initiative Influences City Food Scene

Two years after University of Winnipeg President Lloyd Axworthy's decision to buy out the contract of the university's large, multinational catering firm and establish its own culinary company, the university has revolutionized the local food scene in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Diversity Foods, in partnership with local nonprofit SEED Winnipeg, was mandated to serve organic, locally grown food of an ethnically diverse variety, and to employ inner-city residents as its primary labor force. As a result, the food is so popular that the university's executive chef is the city's most in-demand caterer and the school's buying power has persuaded suppliers to finally provide sustainable, organic products to the city, once deemed too small a market to justify such deliveries. Local farmers have increased production and the city's menus have changed as a result. This summer, the university will open a fine dining restaurant open to the public.

AP Covers Student Emphasis on Sustainable Food

Higher education students' leanings toward sustainable, locally produced foods is highlighted in a recent article by the Associated Press that was picked up by media outlets nationwide including The Washington Post, MSNBC Today, Boston Globe and the San Francisco Examiner. “I think our generation or just people in general are becoming more conscious about the quality of what they eat, where it comes from and if it’s sustainable,” says a Wesleyan University (CT) sophomore in the article. Bon Appetit Management Co., Wesleyan’s food service provider, lets students use university-issued dining points toward its student-run cheese co-op, as it also does for students on other campuses for farmers’ markets, says the article. The piece also features student demand for seasonable produce at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley's Student Food Collective, "the flagship example in a national effort to train collegians to start their own food co-ops emphasizing healthy, local food in student-run storefronts, campus cafes and other spots."

U British Columbia Becomes a Fair Trade Campus

As a result of the collaboration between its Engineers Without Borders chapter and Fair Trade Canada, the University of British Columbia has been named a fair trade campus. The university has committed to purchasing fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate and tropical fruit from producers who guarantee higher social, environmental and pay standards for farmers and workers. The university also worked with students to develop sustainable purchasing principles, a code of conduct for suppliers and has added fair trade products to the menus of more than 20 campus food outlets.

U Maine Dining Services Emphasizes Local Food

The University of Maine’s Black Bear Dining has switched its five-year contract in order to have access to more local food. Through Sysco’s purchasing partner, Farm Fresh Connections, clients have the ability to connect with localized farmers and vendors through one source rather than individually. Black Bear Dining has increased its offering of Maine-grown produce by 50 percent within the past year. To create more awareness about the local food it offers, Black Bear Dining would like to centralize an area that solely offers local food with labels noting the origin of each item.

Bowling Green State U Set to Unveil Green Dining Hall

Bowling Green State University (OH) is months away from the completion of a new dining hall that will seek LEED Silver certification. The materials used in the construction of the new building are harvested within 500 miles and much of the wood salvaged from old barns throughout the countryside. Rainwater run-off will be stored for flushing toilets and meals will be served without trays.

Appalachian State U Weighs Local Food Buying Initiative

Appalachian State University's (NC) Food Services director recently met with 45 local food producers as part of a planned initiative to purchase food produced within a 250-mile radius for the campus. Some of the challenges to overcome before the plan is implemented, as outlined in a recent Office of Sustainability sustainable food report, include the possible higher cost of local food, the state bidding process that favors the lowest bid, the limited production capability of small farms, and the importance of meeting Food Services' timing specifications.

Western Kentucky U Declares A Fair Trade Campus

Western Kentucky University's president announced at the recent United Students for Fair Trade Convergence that the university has declared itself a fair trade university. The declaration, which started in the Student Senate and was later passed by the University Senate, will impact decisions made by dining facilities, catered events, offices and stores, ensuring that products for sale on campus uphold the values of living wages, humane working conditions, no child labor and environmental sustainability.

Yale U Hosts Student Cook-Off to Promote Sustainable Food Sources

Yale University's (CT) dining services department recently partnered with the Yale College Council to organize and host the third annual "Final Cut" student cooking competition. Based on the "Iron Chef" television program, the competition featured wild-caught Alaskan King crab as its sustainable theme ingredient, since U.S. crab fisheries are more rigorously monitored than many other fishing industries. Yale Dining uses the annual event both to communicate about sustainability to the student community, and to get the students actively involved. The winning dish, crab zeppole with spicy lemon whip and pancetta sage crab risotto, will become a regular feature on next year's campus menus.

Campus Trayless Dining Initiatives Continue to Grow

After mainstream media coverage in 2008 and 2009, trayless dining on higher education campuses is back in the media with a controversial spin. Though the practice saves water with less trays to wash and reduces food waste by 25 to 30 percent, according to a 2008 study by food services provider Aramark, the Washington Post reports some student backlash to the idea of no trays. Without the option to load up a tray with the amount of food they want, students at Virginia Tech, Dickinson University (PA) and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have campaigned to bring trays back. Despite this, the trayless trend continues on campuses and more than 20 stories on the practice have been reported in the AASHE Bulletin since 2008. In related news, new competitions among residence hall cafeterias at the University of Colorado at Boulder are encouraging students to take their meals without a tray. While the university isn't enforcing the practice, there has been a noticeable trend among students to go trayless. With a $1,000 sustainability grant, the university is also focusing on a new program that will allow students to reuse to-go containers. For $5, students can purchase a re-usable container that they can bring back in exchange for a token, which can be used for a reusable container the next time they grab a meal on the go.

U Western Sydney Converts Food Waste to Energy with 'Pulpmaster'

The University of Western Sydney (Australia) has installed a food waste to energy recycling system dubbed the "Pulpmaster." The seed fund for the pilot project came from the university's green revolving fund, which provides upfront financing to staff and students for sustainability projects. The Australia-patented Pulpmaster system converts food waste into pulp that is transformed into green energy and/or fertilizer.

Emory U Sets World Record to Raise Sustainable Seafood Awareness

Emory University (GA) set a world record for the longest taco line in an effort to raise awareness for sustainable seafood. Dining Services set out a line of 260 tacos filled with over 80 pounds of fish, including wild Alaskan cod, which is sustainably harvested. In related news, Emory University's student-run Rollins Environmental Health Action Committee has coordinated with Moore Farms and Friends to offer a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) option of local produce, meat and cheese to the campus community.

Sodexo Launches Meatless Monday Initiative

Following pilot programs at more than a dozen schools, food service provider Sodexo has announced plans to launch its Meatless Monday initiative at 650 Sodexo-served campuses this fall. Developed by nonprofit The Monday Campaigns with the assistance of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, the adoption of this public health initiative is part of Sodexo's "Better Tomorrow" plan including commitments to promote health and wellness solutions and protect and restore the environment. The Meatless Monday campaign's primary goal is to reduce Americans' saturated fat consumption by 15 percent and reduce the environmental impacts of industrial meat production.

U Minnesota Morris Unveils Healthy Eating Project

The Morris Healthy Eating Project, a University of Minnesota, Morris-based program, has announced plans to launch a campaign to make locally grown fruits and vegetables and other healthy food options the easy choice on campus and in the community. With obesity rates rising in Minnesota and on campus, the project conducted a food assessment that shows access to fresh fruits and vegetables is lacking at their campus. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota estimates that obesity-related health conditions could cost the state $3.7 billion by 2020. The 95-page assessment outlines the Morris Healthy Eating Project’s vision for a healthier community.

U Pennsylvania Seeks LEED Gold with New Green Cafe

Replacing a smaller cafe that closed in 2009, the University of Pennsylvania has opened Joe's Cafe, a new eatery designed to meet LEED Gold certification. The cafe will recycle or compost 50 percent of its waste by volume including food scraps, utensils, takeout containers and fryer oil. This amount is twice the current total campus baseline of 24 percent. The cafe will purchase food and drink that is seasonal and produced within 150 miles of its site, as well as hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and dairy, Certified Humane eggs, fish sourced from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines, dolphin-safe tuna and certified fair trade and organic coffee. A planned educational program will enlist students and staff to engage and teach cafe visitors about sustainable food.

Northern Arizona U Announces Plans for Green Café

Northern Arizona University has announced plans to open a café focused on community, health, education and sustainability next fall. A group of students, faculty and action research teams in the graduate sustainable communities program have been preparing for the past year to open the café. The café will offer students healthy, environmentally friendly sources of on-campus food and provide a location to spread environmental awareness.

U Florida Dining Halls Adopt Meatless Mondays

The University of Florida has launched the new “Meat-Free Mondays” campaign at campus dining locations. Gator Corner Dining and Fresh Food Company will provide a variety of vegan meal options on Mondays as part of a campaign to educate students on the environmental and health impacts of meat consumption. Aramark, the university’s food supplier, and Gator Dining Services plan to expand the campaign to include a vegetarian menu on request at other campus dining locations.

Virginia Tech Dining Services Launches Farms and Fields Project

Virginia Tech Dining Services has opened its Farm and Fields Project in the Owens Food Court on campus. The project provides students with local, organic and sustainable dining options that incorporate products from both nearby producers and the university’s own farm. The project is continuously working to add a greater variety of food from local sources and has introduced an expanded selection of products including milk and ice cream.

Chippewa Valley Technical College Joins Food Co-op

Chippewa Valley Technical College (WI) has joined the Producers & Buyers Food Co-op, pledging to buy 15 percent of the food needs locally for its campus dining services. The co-op is a Wisconsin-based organization of farmers, institutional buyers, processors and transporters who have joined together to help institutions source local and sustainably produced food. The college hopes its co-op membership will help provide income to local farmers and reduce the amount of energy consumed to transport food to the college.

Pomona College Dining Halls Get Sustainable Makeover

Pomona College’s (CA) dining halls have implemented several changes to their food purchasing and trash disposal systems in an effort to make the college’s food services more sustainable. Initiatives include the expansion of vegetarian, gluten-free, organic and fair trade options and the incorporation of local food into the menu. The compost system has been revamped to include preproduction food scraps and recycling expanded to include all paper, glass, plastic and metal products.

U North Carolina Wilmington Plans to Increase Use of Local Food

In an effort to draw more attention to natural and local produce in its dining options and help students make connections with local farmers, the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Dining Services recently teamed up with local farmers for a campus farmers market. The event resulted in a goal between Dining Services and the Department of Agriculture in Marketing and Food Services to increase the use of locally grown products on campus by 10 percent.

Kansas State U Implements Weekly Sustainable Lunches

Kansas State University’s Campus Ministry has launched a “Real Food Lunch” once a week. The ministry works with the Student Farm Club to provide students with healthy and sustainable food with an emphasis on social justice and the environment. All of the food used for the Real Food lunches is locally grown and the waste is composted. Another goal of the lunches is to create an overlap with other student groups including Students for Environmental Action, Amnesty International and fair trade advocates.

Western Michigan U Dining Services Introduces Fair Trade Coffee

Western Michigan University's Dining Services has introduced Western Grounds, a certified fair trade and USDA-certified organic coffee from an employee-owned company in Michigan. The coffee brand is served in every dining hall and campus cafe as the result of feedback from a spring 2010 student-conducted survey about implementing fair trade coffee on campus.

College of William and Mary Expands Sustainable Dining

The College of William and Mary (VA) has expanded its sustainable dining initiatives. Three sustainability interns have been hired to focus on recycling, composting and forming a connection with local food producers. In partnership with ARAMARK, the college's sustainability team is offering a 10-cent incentive for every reusable to-go box used. The sustainability team is also working on improving local food procurement including a partnership with the Williamsburg Winery, who will plant produce at their facility that will be used in the dining halls. The program has space for 400 more volunteers with 100 students signed up so far.

U Missouri Serves Local Prawns

The University of Missouri's dining services department has begun serving locally harvested prawns at campus dining halls. The shellfish are grown and raised at the Bradford Research and Extension Center, part of the university-owned Agriculture Experiment Stations. The initiative is part of department's goal to increase the amount of local food served on campus which is currently at 11 percent including dairy and meat.

Arizona State U Market Offers Local and Fair Trade Options

To meet the demand of students looking for fresh, healthy and quick dining options, Arizona State University's Sun Devil Dining has announced the opening of its convenience store concept, Provisions on Demand Market. Designed to engage students with the foods they eat, the market offers information about the food's place of origin and nutritional value. Product cues clearly identify food items as vegan, organic, kosher, locally-grown, gluten-free and fair trade.

John Carroll U Revamps Dining Options with Fair Trade

John Carroll University (OH) has revamped its Dining Services with more environmentally friendly options. In addition to providing local produce options to students, the Student Center Barista now offers fair trade products. The college hopes to expand fair trade products to the other dining areas around campus.

Rio Salado College Opens Sustainable Cafe

Rio Salado College (AZ) has opened the doors of Cafe @ Rio, a sustainable campus cafe featuring energy-efficient appliances, trayless dining, and compostable and recyclable food and beverage containers. Featuring food harvested from farms in the community, the cafe will also serve as a sustainable teaching kitchen for students in the Sustainable Food Systems program. The students will study the real food movement and how food is produced and purchased. Vegetables grown as part of the program's Organic Gardening class will be served in the cafe.

American U Converts Waste Vegetable Oil with 'Vegawatt'

American University (DC) has implemented a Vegawatt, a machine that converts waste vegetable oil into electricity and hot water. Using 90 gallons of oil from the university's Terrace Dining Room per week, the Vegawatt will produce enough electricity to avoid 270 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent to the amount produced by 33 American homes in one year.

Truman State U Cafeteria Goes Local

Truman State University's (MO) Ryle Hall cafeteria has begun purchasing local produce grown at a nearby orchard. The initiative has kicked off with apples but the university hopes to expand the program to a larger variety of local food. Dining Services is also advocating for students to grow their own food on the campus farm.

Washington U St. Louis Opens Green Dining Services

Washington University, St. Louis (MO) has opened a new dining facility. Sustainable initiatives include sensor lighting, reusable food boxes and a compost system. Excess food will be donated to a local food bank and the waste oil will be converted to biofuel for dining services vehicles. The university will also place a priority on the use of local food.

Bluffton U Dining Services Goes Green

Bluffton University's (OH) Dining Services has announced plans to become more sustainable. In an effort to reduce food waste and water usage, the department will no longer use trays, and will switch to fair trade coffee and tea. The university will also use paper products and stir sticks made from recycled materials.

Willamette U Student Farm Supplies Dining Services with Produce

Willamette University’s (OR) student farm has begun supplying the campus’ food-service provider, Bon Appétit, with sustainably-grown produce. A group of students interested in farming and sustainable agriculture created the garden a year ago, which now produces lettuce, garlic, arugula, beans, potatoes and peas. Organizers hope the farm will become a community resource by providing a place to conduct sustainable agriculture research and host food-related classes for students and residents.

U Calgary Dining Services Goes Green

In response to campus community input, the University of Calgary’s (AB) Dining Services has begun implementing sustainable initiatives. The university has eliminated Styrofoam containers and will use biodegradable and compostable coffee cups and chlorine-free napkins. Dining Services will also serve fair trade coffee and sustainable seafood.

U Kansas Launches Farm to Cart Program

The University of Kansas’ Dining Services recently debuted the Farm to Cart program, where students and faculty can buy fresh fruits, vegetables and other products from local farms. Students and faculty can check out the Dining Services website, www.union.ku.edu/dining, to see the list of available and upcoming items.

Fairfield U Plants Vegetable and Herb Garden

Fairfield University (CT) has started planting the campus’ first vegetable and herb garden. The garden’s harvest will be used for student dining this fall and stock the shelves of area food pantries this summer. Root vegetables, perennial herbs, hot and sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and pumpkins are among the vegetables that will be planted in 18 raised beds. Faculty, students, staff and alumni will tend the garden.

U Mass Medical Implements Cooking Oil to Biodiesel Program

The University of Massachusetts Medical School has announced a 35 percent reduction in cooking oil use with the implementation of a new oil filtration process that extends the life of the oil. The filter is able to screen out food particles 100 times smaller than the previous system, extending the oil's usable life. When the oil can no longer be used for cooking, it is collected by Baker Commodities, a firm that processes the oil for use as biodiesel.

Ithaca College Reduces Dining Carbon Footprint by 26%

Dining Services at Ithaca College (NY) has reduced its energy bills by 30 percent and carbon footprint by 26 percent through several recent upgrades. Hoods that automatically control fan levels based on kitchen temperature were installed in campus dining halls and the food court, along with walk-in cooler and freezer air curtains and low-flow spray nozzles. Ithaca Dining Services plans to purchase an updated bakery oven that will save $19,500 annually, making the return on investment in 1.8 years.

West Virginia U Dining Services Goes Green

West Virginia University's Dining Services will experiment with various waste reduction techniques this summer before students arrive in the fall. Among the solutions are eliminated trays from most dine-in campus locations and the installation of new light and cooling systems to reduce energy use.