Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Jennifer Foley
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Boston College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Megan O'Neill
Assoc. Director
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:

Boston College Dining prioritizes sourcing from local or community-based producers and products with third-party verified sustainability labels as much as possible defining "regional" as within the confines of New England and New York or New Jersey. We give priority not only to regionally grown vegetables, fruit and animal products, but also to processing and manufacturing companies located in the region who contribute to a thriving and resilient local economy. We also make great efforts to educate our students about food system issues through their plate. For example, our recently launched "FRESH to Table" initiative requires that an item served in one of our largest dining halls (serving 7,000+ meals/day) meets at least 2 of 5 parameters (fairly traded, regional, equitable, sustainable, healthy). We also consider such principles when choosing our paper products, sourcing non-toxic cleaning products and biodegradeable to-go ware when possible.


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:

When students come to campus in late August through mid October, we host a farmers market citing what local items came from which farm. Our on campus bakery makes pies and our local bread vendor has bread as well. Management picks an item a week and makes a recipe card focusing on that item for students to make in their own kitchens. Garden Tomato Mozzarella Salad with fresh basil and Pickled veggies are the two top sellers last fall.


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:

BC Dining offers delicious plant-based meals every day at every location. Our offerings include: rotating 15 vegan soups; rotating vegan hot entrees including Tofu Stir Fry, Roasted Beet and Kale Burger, and Falafel Sandwich; grab n' go soy milk, hummus, sunbutter snack, overnight oats and quinoa, edamame, sandwiches, and salads; salad bars include cubed tofu, quinoa, legumes; whole grain bar featuring assorted grain salads; bagel bar; and almond milk dispensers. Students learn about these options through our online menu and our active email list of vegans on campus. In the dining halls, we host vendor demos to sample vegan offerings such as Jens and Marie Roasted Beet and Kale Burger and Kettle Cuisine vegan soups. In addition, we host focus groups every semester to learn more from vegan (and vegetarian) students, share offerings and sample new vegan food products. Dining Services won a gold award in 2014 from NACUFS for the Nourish healthy eating campaign that encouraged students to choose foods close to their natural form, make half their plate fruits & vegetables, and at least half their grains whole. Lean proteins were encouraged with the message ‘the fewer the legs, the better’ and featured many plant proteins. Peer health educators, called health coaches, are trained by the Administrative Dietitian in Dining and the Office of Health Promotion to provide educational programming on nutrition, including how to follow a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet.

Because Boston College is not a ‘all-you-care-to-eat’ operation, students just pay for what food they want and can be creative in mixing and matching menu options for meals or snacks, allowing the vegan student more opportunities for variety in the diet than a set menu. To learn more, please see our dedicated website page for vegetarian and vegan dining: http://www.bc.edu/offices/dining/nutrition/vegetarian---vegan-dining.html


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:

BC Dining engages students in low impact events focusing on reducing food waste, sampling sustainable and regional foods, and reducing meat consumption. We hold a Trash Dinner where food scraps from the week are collected and transformed into a creative meal that can feature items such as salmon shoulder and pickled cucumber ends. Every Thursday, the FRESH showcase kitchen engages students in sustainable food related conversations and hands out samples of dishes that meet two of the FRESH parameters: Fairly traded, Regional, Equitable, Sustainable, Healthy. We are also hosting a Plant-Based Pop-Up event where students buy tickets to a dining experience that will feature five courses of all vegan dishes.


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:

Starting Fall of 2017, BC Dining rolled out our FRESH initiative where new menu items must meet at least two of the parameters: Fairly Traded, Regional, Equitable, Sustainable, and Healthy. We held a grand opening where we featured purely FRESH items in one of our dining halls while also educating faculty, staff, and students on the importance of sustainable food. We featured Equal Exchange, which provides us with fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate, and Look Out Farms, which is a local farm that supplies us with Asian Pears. Every Thursday, we feature our FRESH Showcase Kitchen, which is an interactive kitchen where we not only hand out samples of FRESH items, but we also demonstrate how students can prepare these dishes in their rooms while increasing awareness on food sustainability. With these events, we hope to impact students so that they can choose sustainable foods both inside and outside the dining halls.

We have also hosted two MCURC (Menus of Changes University Research Collaborative) culinary showcases featuring menu items that meet at least one of the Menus of Change principles.


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:

The Loft at Addie's - Student run on campus dining hall, managed by BC Dining, that serves food made with locally and sustainable sourced ingredients.


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:

Boston College's dining halls clearly label all vegan and vegetarian items and in one of our two largest dining halls, Corcoran Commons, we have ample signage promoting our "FRESH to Table" initiative. Additionally, when a new sustainable item is on the menu we always have signage near the servery outlining it's sustainability attributes. Across all dining halls, we post Menus of Change materials which promote sustainable and healthy eating information for diners.


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 addition to on-site sustainability signage, we actively post educational information to our social media accounts and rotating digital menu screens and host a weekly showcase with our mobile kitchen in one of our dining halls which promotes seasonal and regional ingredients which we serve in the dining halls that week.


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:

BC Dining's Registered Dietitians provide one-on-one counseling and group programming on nutrition and wellness. One specific initiative is the Balanced Plate Model that provides a framework for education, programming, recipe development and marketing for both students and BC Dining Staff. This model stresses the importance of adequacy, moderation and variety using Intuitive Eating Principles and sustainability tenets from Menus of Change University/Research Collaborative. It is used to train the Health Coaches in the Office of Health Promotion, who with the Administrative Dietitian, provide education on balanced eating for all food preferences, including culturally appropriate preferences . More can be found on the website: http://www.bc.edu/offices/dining/nutrition/balanced-eating.html.


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:

Every year since 2013, BC Dining has participated in the EPA Food Recovery Challenge. For the past two years, Boston College has received the Regional Award for Food Source Reduction and in 2017, our progress was featured on the EPA's website. We attribute our success in source reduction to LeanPath. We started in 2015 in one dining hall and reduced our waste by 60% in one fiscal year. Since then, we have expanded LeanPath to four more dining halls and have met with the same success.


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:

Trays are available, but not advertised. Because we are an a la carte program, very little wasted food occurs since customers pay for each item they buy. This results in more careful choices by the consumer as compared to an all you care to eat facility.


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:

BC Dining works with a student organization named every Bite Counts (eBC) who comes in after dinner and works with the chef to package and food items that are edible but would be composted. Our partner, Lovin' Spoonfuls Food Rescue then picks up the frozen product once a week and delivers to over 40 different nonprofits in the Greater Boston Area. https://lovinspoonfulsinc.org/


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:

BC Dining is proud to partner with Bakers Commodities who pride themselves on being sustainable by recycling food by-products and used cooking oil into a variety of valuable products. Our used cooking oil is reclaimed, renewed, and then returned to the marketplace as a vital ingredient in lubricants, animal feed and even clean-burning biofuel.


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:

BC Dining partners with Save that Stuff to pick up six days a week pre-consumer composting from all of our locations. Save that Stuff's new and innovative system which composts organic material uses high-tech a processor and a digester create a Bio- Slurry that is then anaerobically digested, which creates a gaseous byproduct that is used to power a water management facility in Lawrence.


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:

Five of our dining locations offer post consumer composting and it follows the same path with Save that Stuff as mentioned previously under pre-consumer composting.


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:

Reusable silverware and dishware are available in every dining hall, and dining halls encourage students to bring in their own reusable cups for drinks.


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:

2 on campus dining halls, Hillside Cafe and The Loft at Addie's use to go plates that are 100% compostable.


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:

Discounts are offered to students who bring in reusable mugs or cups for all self serve fountain products (soda, milk, juice, coffee, tea etc)


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:

We work with our vendors to reduce packaging and cycle back their racks/containers that are used for shipping.


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