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 Management 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.
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.
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.
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.
Fort Lewis College Receives $355K to Further Food Security
The Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College, along with community partners, have been awarded a $355,000, three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture Local Food Promotion grant to launch a Durango Regional Food Recovery Hub. The initiative will address food insecurity, create secondary markets for farmers, and offer student learning opportunities.
U California Berkeley Partners to Improve Animal Welfare Through Purchasing
Cal Dining at the University of California Berkeley and Farm Forward recently announced the launch of the Leadership Circle, a program that leverages the buying power of institutions to change the way animals are raised for food. Members of the Leadership Circle commit to purchase only third-party certified, higher-welfare products in at least one product category within two years.
Acadia U Becomes Fair Trade Campus
The university's new designation recognizes its commitment to Fair Trade, an alternative approach to business based on partnerships between producers and consumers.
U North Carolina Asheville Earns Green Restaurant & Fair Trade University Status
One of the university's dining halls is now certified as a Three Star Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association. Additionally, the university's Dining Services worked together with a committee of student, faculty and staff volunteers to achieve Fair Trade University designation by Fair Trade Campaigns.
U Nottingham Wins ‘University of the Year’ Accolade From MSC
(U.K.) The university received the honor at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Awards 2017 for serving students with the most MSC-certified seafood. The MSC’s annual awards recognize U.K. retail and foodservice providers for improving the world’s oceans.
North Carolina State U Opens Edible Garden on Rooftop
The university's Student Union hosts a new rooftop garden with raised beds for planting herbs and vegetables that will be used by university dining facilities. The department of horticultural science will also use the garden for experimental pollinator plants and perennials.
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.