Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.82
Liaison Sandy DeJohn
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Binghamton University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Christopher Harasta
Retail Manager
Dining Services
"---" 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:

Binghamton University's dining service is contracted with Sodexo North America which has a deep commitment towards sustainability business practices.

Sodexo's Sustainability Policy: https://us.sodexonet.com/home/our-company/what-we-stand-for/our-better-tomorrow-plan.html

Binghamton Universities Sustainable Dining Policy: https://www.binghamton.edu/sustainability/campus-initiatives/food-and-dining.html


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
Yes

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

The Binghamton Acres farm was launched in spring 2013 and continues today. We host a Harvest Dinner each fall. Located on Bunn Hill Road on land owned by the Binghamton University Foundation, the farm serves as an example of the potential for food accessibility for Binghamton students and community members.


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:

The MarketPlace at the University Union is a local drop off location for the Community Supported Agriculture from Shared Roots Farm. This is an local organic farm. Dining Services is working to expand this program in the coming year to include more students, faculty, and staff.

BUFS Internship-The Binghamton University Food Sustainability group is a student-run organization working to bring more sustainable, nutritious, ethically-sourced food to campus dining halls. 4 credit internships are available. Interns will work with Dining Services, University administration, other student groups, and community organizations to strengthen our food movement and make lasting improvements from the ground up.

One BUFS student received a $4,000 scholarship through Binghamton University to work on an urban agriculture project in downtown Binghamton. She partnered with VINES, a local nonprofit dedicated to combating food insecurity, to build a wheelchair-accessible community garden on the East Side of Binghamton, a low-income area where residents have difficulty finding fresh produce.


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:

We received a grade of "A+" on Peta's Vegan Report Card and an "A" for the four years before that.

Fresh Impressions is a station that offers a variety of complete-protein dining options to the campus community. This station was created in collaboration with the BU Food Sustainability student intern group. It started as a pop-up event to promote plant-based dining.
Station Information: https://www.bupipedream.com/news/96519/fresh-impressions-brings-vegan-and-vegetarian-options-to-marketplace/
Pop-up Event: https://www.foodservicedirector.com/operations/zoodle-pop-sells-out-university

We offer a Gifts from the Garden vegan station at one of our four resident dining centers, as well as at least one Vegan entrée at all dining locations on campus for every day part. We also offer non-dairy milk and fresh vegan desserts from our on-site bakery. Our catering menu includes a variety of menu options for a variety of dietary accommodations, including Vegan.

As part of the Partnership for a Healthier America, Binghamton University offers a plant-based food option at every platform serving meat.


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:

We host a variety of special events and programs that encourage low impact dining. We established our Meatless Monday program in the Fall of 2013 and continues today.

We feature menus that are locally grown, seasonal, organic, vegetarian and/or well balanced. We use china service ware whenever possible, but if necessary, we try to use compostable and/or recyclable disposable ware. We strive to eliminate bottled beverages when possible by replacing them with pitchers of drinks and reusable glassware. Each season we unveil a catering menu that highlights the season's bounty. Not only does it increase variety, it also features food that is in season.
o Hydration stations encourage reusable water bottle use
o Battle of the Chef events feature local vendors.
A Health Fair on campus in the Spring features local vendors as well.


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:

We host an annual Harvest Dinner event and Garden to Tapas event, utilizing harvested items from Binghamton Acres. We also offer sustainable seafood, via our Marine Stewardship Council certification for Sustainable Seafood Fridays.

Dining halls advertise specific sustainability-themed products (e.g., free-range poultry products), and whole meals consisting primarily of sustainable products (e.g., locally-sourced produce) are routinely featured.

Mindful by Sodexo features meals emphasizing portion-control and sustainable fruits and vegetables.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

Since the 1970s, the Binghamton Food Co-op, a nonprofit student-run organization, has been offering low-cost organic groceries including produce, ecologically friendly ingredients and personal care products.

We are proud to feature 100% Transfair, Fair Trade USA certified aspretto coffee and 100% USDA certified organic and ethically sourced Numi teas. Everything that touches the product is green, from the 10% post-consumer fiber cups to the renewable resource stirrers to the fair trade sugar wrapped in recyclable paper and printed with vegetable dye.


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:

We highlight low impact dining choices and sustainable practices via physical signage in the dining locations, social media, and website. We also regularly table in dining locations to educate campus community on these choices, and this typically includes our Registered Dietitians and nutrition interns.


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:

Our student-driven Compost Organic Garden Demonstration Project promotes composting and organic gardening through active demonstrations as well as serves as a field lab for an ecological agriculture course.

Campus dining services engages with a variety of campus departments, local entities and student groups. We collaborate with the Multicultural Resource Center to create events that include culturally diverse menu options, as well as provide education on origins of the menu items from student groups. This includes Global Chef, Culture @ Chenango and Lunar New Year Celebration. We work closely with the University on the Partnership for a Healthier America initiative by introducing the Plus One campaign in 2015. We host an annual Health Fair that combines the local community and campus community in a day of sharing information and ideas in regards to overall health & wellness, including sustainability. The entire management team has undergone allergy training and received certification. We host a semi-annual food drive to benefit the campus community and local community.

We work with the Food Recovery Network at Binghamton to fight food waste.


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:

Dining Services at the MarketPlace (central food court) have committed to reducing their plastic waste switching to paper straws and limiting them to by-request. News piece on this initiative: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/binghamton/news/2019/02/22/bu-bans-plastic-straws

We work closely with local produce distributors to maximize the fruits and vegetables purchased from local farms.

The BUDS Sustainability Team is a group of managers and employees within dining services that meet monthly to discuss best practices. One project this group has created and implemented is a reusable cup sticker program. Students get a free sticker to put on any reusable mug or cup. If they use this instead of a disposable cup in resident dining halls then we give them 10% off of their beverage.

As part of the Partnership for a Healthier America, Binghamton University:
Has made available Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) for personal nutrition assessments and counseling to all students. A second RDN hired in 2016.
Has encouraged student physical activity/movement through facilities and programs on campus during the academic year
Has provided trained physical activity/movement professionals on campus
Walking signs are posted around campus to encourage movement


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:

The University is a regular participant in RecycleMania, a friendly competition among hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States that provides the campus community with a fun, proactive activity aimed at waste reduction.

Binghamton University’s contracted vendor Sodexo participates in the Better Tomorrow Plan
https://www.your-sodexo.com/my-company/better-tomorrow-2025/

Dining services works with the University Recycling and Resource Management Department on campus and has an established pre- and post-consumer composting and recycling program.

Dining Services participates in Food Recovery Network. Food donations are weighed and donated to Community Hunger Outreach. We donate about 38,000 pounds of food per semester.


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:

Dining services prevents food waste by encouraging better habits. These include: comparing purchasing inventory with customer ordering, modifying menus to increase customer satisfaction and prevent/reduce uneaten food, examine production and handling practices to prevent and reduce preparation food waste, ensure proper storage techniques and surplus or excess food used in new dishes.

Resident Dining is a la carte instead of All-you-can-eat, which significantly reduces food waste.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
Yes

A brief description of the food donation program:

During the November 2016 food drive, Binghamton University donated enough food to provide 9,500 meals to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse of Broome County (CHOW) and Bear Necessities, an on-campus food pantry.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27o2G9gQTGjX2U4RnpueUw1R0U/view?usp=sharing

Binghamton University donated 38,000 of leftovers to Community Hunger Outreach by the BU Chapter of the Food Recovery Network. Binghamton University is Food Recovery Network Verified.

Each year, the University’s Office of Recycling and Resource Management organizes Move-Out Week, collecting unwanted food and clothing when students leave campus after spring semester. Bins are placed in all residential communities so students can donate items they don’t plan to take home.


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:

Our fryer oil is recycled into biodiesel that is used to power a variety of vehicles.


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:

All dining halls at Binghamton University are involved in composting kitchen prep material. The scrap food is collected and composted on a local farm. Once composted, the material is returned to the University and used in a variety of areas by the grounds department.
All dining halls are set up with compost barrels at prep- stations to collect pre-consumer food waste. These are sealed with a lid and placed onto the dining hall loading dock, where the barrels are then picked up by interns and student assistants from the Office of Recycling and Resource management.


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:

The University’s student-driven Compost Organic Garden Demonstration Project promotes composting and organic gardening through active demonstrations, as well as serves as a field lab for an ecological agriculture course.

Ever wonder what happens to the mounds of food waste in campus kitchens? Here at Binghamton University, kitchen prep trimmings, spoiled fruit and vegetables, stale bakery items and leftover plate scrapings are composted. Each day during the fall and spring semesters, we collect approximately 2,000 pounds of compostable waste from campus dining halls, eateries and the teaching greenhouse. Additionally, the scrap food is collected and composted on a local farm. Once composted, the material is returned to the University and used in a variety of areas by the grounds department.

Food waste in landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas which is 21x more potent than CO2. (www.epa.gov) Our first priority is to reduce food waste. We compost food waste that is unavoidable which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and can also be used to amend soil thereby increasing drought tolerance, improving soil structure and health and reducing need for water and fertilizers.


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:

China dishes are used in our dining locations to reduce waste from disposable containers and our napkins are made of 100% recycled paper.

The University has reduced the amount of disposable items used in dining halls across campus.


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:

Dining halls provide two options for utensil and service ware. Reusable utensils, and service ware are available for "dine in" customers. All disposable and to-go containers in dinging areas are made of compostable material. Those containers, where applicable are made of bagasse.

We recycle as much material as possible, such as cardboard, glass, aluminum, paper and plastic.


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:

The BU Dining Services Sustainability Team has created and implemented a reusable cup sticker program. Students get a free sticker to put on any reusable mug or cup. If they use this instead of a disposable cup in resident dining halls then we give them 10% off of their beverage.


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:

The University has a comprehensive recycling program, with recycling bins for different materials in dozens of locations across campus. Not counting scrap metal or waste oil, recycling efforts annually earn the University more than $23,000!

The University is a regular participant in RecycleMania, a friendly competition among hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States that provides the campus community with a fun, proactive activity aimed at waste reduction.
92% of the chemicals we use are "Green Seal" certified, concentrated or sustainable.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Links to applicable sources have been provided in the submission.

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