Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.17
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

American University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Hannah Moskowitz
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
No

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, and/or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

AhealthyU brings the Farmers Market to American University every week and has fresh produce delivered through the From the Farmer delivery service.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a vegan dining program that makes diverse, complete-protein vegan options available to every member of the campus community at every meal?:
Yes

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

AU Dining boast an A+ Dean’s List rating from PETA and special recognition from the Humane Society of the United States for vegan and vegetarian options on campus. The main dining hall has a vegan and vegetarian station that utilizes plant based proteins such as tofu, seitan, tempeh, beans, legumes, and pulses. Each station in our dining hall that serves meat has a plant based alternative—for example, the deli features hummus and grilled vegetables. Each menu item is reviewed by our Registered Dietitian and labeled as “vegan” or “vegetarian” to make choosing these options in the dining hall easy and accessible to all students. We celebrate “Meatless Mondays” in our dining hall by replacing our carved meat item with a carved vegetable or vegetable entrée such as Carved Butternut Squash, Beetroots, or Cauliflower. We also feature vegan/vegetarian specials at each station on each day, and use marketing materials, community involvement, and employee engagement to increase participation and awareness of Meatless Monday. Retail food outlets at AU also feature vegan and vegetarian options, and all nutrition information is available for students to access.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

Action stations featuring Vegan Smoothies and made to order Falafels are available during Meatless Mondays.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

Local farmers presenting items grown (Corn, Kale, Peppers) on their farm with recipe cards to share with students and feature menu item in the dining location


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a sustainability-themed food outlet on-site, either independently or in partnership with a contractor or retailer?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labeling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:

Educational signage for employees and customers (including catering customers); label all local products in our locations, providing grower profiles whenever possible.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

In Spring 2017, Student Sustainability Educators worked with Dining Services to bring awareness of food waste to the campus cafeteria. For an entire day, student educators collected all front-of-house food waste in compost bins by asking students to scrape their plates while they educated students on the issue of food waste in the United States and how to reduce it through behavior change. Student educators and Dining Services then used the weight data collected to share information about campus food waste on social media.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have other sustainability-related initiatives (e.g. health and wellness initiatives, making culturally diverse options available)?:
Yes

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

AHealthyU hosts the Weight 2 Win Weight Loss Challenge and healthy cooking demo's for staff members.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor participate in a competition or commitment program and/or use a food waste prevention system to track and improve its food management practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

Aramark's Food Waste Management program, called Food Management Fundamentals, provides extensive food waste management tools for all servers and culinary staff. Food waste is tracked and measured, and spot audited during location audits. This creates a uniform goal in reducing food waste across all lines of operations. For food storage, Aramark uses FIFO (first in, first out) and ensures that nothing is left to waste in coolers.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented trayless dining (in which trays are removed from or not available in dining halls) and/or modified menus/portions to reduce post-consumer food waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:

Trayless Dining encourages customers to take only what they can eat, and reduces food waste per person each meal. Aramark has been trayless in dining services at AU for many years.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
No

A brief description of the food donation program:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses (e.g. converting cooking oil to fuel, on-site anaerobic digestion)?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

American University has a contractor who collects cooking oil for recycling and to be turned into fuel oil. Some food scraps from the Terrrace Dining hall collected for compost are used for animal feed.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

Pre-consumer food waste is composted from dining services located in the Mary Graydon Center, as well as the student-run Davenport Lounge in the School of International Service.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

Compost bins are located throughout campus, including accepting compostable containers, food waste, and paper towels.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

AU's primary dining option is 100% tray less and use reusable flatware and silverware.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor provide reusable and/or third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals (in conjunction with an on-site composting program)?:
Yes

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

All retail dining options use 100% compostable service products such as plates, bowls, cups, utensils and to-go boxes. The dining hall at American University also offers reusable to-go containers that are 100% recyclable.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

All coffee shops on campus offer incentives for reusable mugs.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented other materials management initiatives to minimize waste not covered above (e.g. working with vendors and other entities to reduce waste from food packaging)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

American University has a comprehensive waste training initiative, in which staff are trained on proper methods of minimizing waste, and increasing awareness of compostable materials. AU Dining follows the University Zero Waste Initiative by having distinct, separate waste disposals for recyclable, compostable, and landfill waste in our kitchens and dining areas.

Annual waste audits are conducted annually for the full operating day to determine the waste diversion rate of a dining location/campus, and to identify potential opportunities to minimize waste and packaging.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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