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.

U California San Diego Implements Fair Trade Policy

The University of California, San Diego has announced the implementation of a Fair Trade University Policy. The policy promotes both sustainable business and humane farming practices that food and beverage suppliers will be asked to support whenever possible. In cooperation with fair trade authority TransFair, the university will work toward a Fair Trade University designation.

U Waterloo to Debut Fair Trade Eatery

The University of Waterloo (ON) has announced plans to open a new cafe that will offer fair trade and local comestibles. The Waterloo Coffee Company will supply fair trade organic coffee to the still-unnamed eatery. In response to student demand, the cafe will feature a reverse osmosis water station where patrons can fill up their bottles for free. The cafe is set to open in August 2010.

U Massachusetts Amherst Food Service Increases Local Purchases

University of Massachusetts Amherst Dining Services has increased the amount of local foods offered in campus dining halls. 25 percent of its food items were purchased from local farms in 2009, up from eight percent in 2002. The institution has also begun offering twice as much fruit and has cut meat portions by 3 ounces at lunch and 4 ounces at dinner. In addition, UMass has noticed a 20 percent food waste decrease. The University hopes to increase local food purchases by 27 percent in 2010.

Tufts U to Go Trayless this Fall

Tufts University (MA) has announced plans to stop offering trays in two dining centers starting this fall. The initiative is the result of the success of a pilot program that ran this past spring. The pilot recorded an 11.4 percent decrease in electricity use and a 29 percent decrease in food waste.

Kenyon College Announces Food Co-Op

Kenyon College (OH) has announced that, beginning next year, students will be able to participate in a Food Co-Op. The local food cooperative will serve as a sustainable living center, which has room for six student residents, and provide an alternative to the student dining hall. The Co-Op plans to provide a meal made of local ingredients once a week. There are plans to incorporate farming, composting, and hosting guest speakers at the cooperative.

U Nebraska Omaha Switches to Compostable Diningware

The University of Nebraska, Omaha Food Services staff has announced "Go Green - Fall 2010," an initiative to switch containers and serving receptacles (including all flatware and paper goods) the department uses to compostable and bio-degradable PLA (polylactic acid), cornstarch-based, and recycled paper materials starting in August. The change will take place in the campus food court and in all other campus Food Service operations.

Northeastern U Unveils Green Dining Facility

Northeastern University (MA) has unveiled International Village, a 20,000-square-foot, LEED Gold-certified dining facility. The dining hall and retail space are both 3-Star Certified Green Restaurants. The all day breakfast station uses cage-free eggs, milk without artificial growth hormones, and Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea. The dedicated vegetarian and vegan platform uses locally purchased produce, and pork and poultry produced without the use of routine antibiotics is prepared in a variety of dishes. Furthermore, all seafood is purchased in accordance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guidelines for sustainability to protect our oceans and their inhabitants. Integrated green building solutions include high performance, energy-efficient foodservice equipment from HVAC to exhaust hoods, to water consumption and automated lighting controls. Low VOC paints, eco-friendly carpeting, and the integration of recycled content were used throughout the entire facility. In addition, 90 percent of the build-out waste was diverted from landfills and an air quality monitoring system was implemented during construction.

State U New York Fredonia Selects Local Food Supplier

The State University of New York at Fredonia has selected Maplevale Farms, a nearby family-owned corporation, as its primary food-service supplier. Whenever possible, Maplevale Farms purchases products from manufacturers within its 150-mile service area that encompasses Western New York, Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. Dining Services is working with the company to expand their list of local suppliers to provide food and products to the campus.

U California Santa Barbara Switches to Cage-Free Eggs

The University of California, Santa Barbara Dining Services has begun serving eggs from cage-free chickens instead of regularly industry eggs. The switch is being funded by the money saved from going tray-less last quarter.

U Texas Austin Introduces Reusable To-Go Containers

The University of Texas at Austin has introduced reusable to-go containers in campus dining facilities. The initiative, called "eco2go," allows customers to join the program by paying a one-time membership fee of $5. The customer receives a wooden token at one of the eco2go stations. Members then show that token to the line server who will know to serve their meal into the eco‐to‐go container, they then return the rinsed container, to be commercially cleaned and sanitized, at their earliest convenience. When members return the container, they will obtain a token to start the process again. Each time eco2go members use their container, they will receive a five percent discount on their meal.

Santa Barbara City College Offers Fair Trade, Organic Coffee

Santa Barbara City College (CA) students now have a more sustainable option for their caffeine needs. Campus dining halls now offer Green Star Coffee, which is both fair trade and organic. The coffee beans are also roasted by a local coffee company.

U Houston Switches to Reusable To-Go Containers

The University of Houston (TX) Dining Services will no longer offer Styrofoam containers. Instead, customers purchasing a to-go meal will receive a reusable to-go box. The microwavable, plastic containers can be returned, after use, for a voucher to receive a clean container for future visits.

U Maryland Installs Solar Trash Compactor on Campus

University of Maryland Dining Services has installed a trial solar-powered trash compactor outside a late night campus dining facility. The dining hall was notorious for having trash overflow that would not be collected until the early morning hours. The new trash compactor, which the University currently has as a free trial, can compact what eight trash cans would normally hold.

Austin College Introduces Reusable To-Go Containers

Austin College (TX) has partnered with Aramark dining services to replace disposable polystyrene to-go boxes with reusable containers. Beginning February 1, diners will be able to purchase a reusable to-go container for $3. The containers are the same size as the foam boxes they are replacing, and are dishwasher safe. The used container can be rinsed, returned to the dining hall, and exchanged for a clean container. The returned containers will be washed, sanitized, and then made available for reuse. As long as a diner brings in a used container, there is no additional cost to the diner for the next box. Disposable boxes no longer will be available.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Opens Local Foods Dining Option

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has opened a new eatery in one of its dining halls that serves local food. The new dining option, 1.5.0, gets its name from its commitment to only serve food from within 150 miles. Dining services hoped the new eatery would break even in sales, but so far it has exceeded those expectations. Students have been excited to try the new option with items such as sweet potato fries with local honey. The restaurant features a chalkboard menu that will change weekly according to produce and meat availability.