Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.20
Liaison Denice Koljonen
Submission Date Feb. 17, 2022

STARS v2.2

Boston College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 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 host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:
When students come to campus in late August through mid-November, we host a weekly farmers market featuring produce, dairy, eggs and bakery items that are regionally or locally sourced. The majority of produce at the market is sourced from Ward's Berry Farm, a family-owned farm in Sharon, Massachusetts, just a few miles away. Students are able to purchase all farmers market items on their meal plan. The market serves as an important educational tool for students. Every week the farmers market team sends out a newsletter including a list of produce available for the week, events being held on local farms, nutrition tips, recipes, and profiles on our local producers. The farmers market is managed by a student intern, who is able to develop critical skills in management and food sourcing.

Boston College also operates a Spring and Fall CSA program. Although we did not run our CSA in fall of 2021 due to staffing concerns, the CSA ran successfully in the fall and spring of 2020-2021 and is on track to run in the Spring of 2022. The CSA is operated in partnership with Ward's Berry Farm, located in Sharon, MA. Every week the CSA boxes are delivered to campus for pick-up by BC Students and faculty.

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?:

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.

Corcoran Commons Farmers Market: Student sustainability interns operate a weekly on-campus farmers market where students can purchase produce, dairy and baked goods from Massachusetts and the greater New England area.

Dining Services opened up a new indoor market in 2020 to sell basic groceries and cooking supplies. The BC Dining sustainability intern team is currently working with managers of the market to replace as many packaged goods as possible with local and sustainable products.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor support disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through its food and beverage purchasing?:

A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
One of Dining Services' FRESH parameters is "equitable," which is oriented toward sourcing from family-owned farms, worker cooperatives, women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses. Dining sources nut butters from 88 Acres, a company that contributes to local employment by providing 90% of jobs to people from the community. Dining sources coffee and chocolate from Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative. Indian sauces are purchased from Meal Mantra, a family-run, minority-owned business based in the local area.

Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events or promote plant-forward options?:

A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:
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. 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 also host Plant-Based Pop-Up events in the dining halls to promote plant-based eating. In April of 2021 BC Dining hosted a plant-forward gyro sandwich pop-up in honor of the annual Green Week. The pop-up featuring a vegan chickpea based option and a combined chicken and plant-protein option from Grateful Market, to highlight the carbon reduction from plant-based eating. Dining also hosted four plant-based virtual cooking classes in the 2020-2021 academic year to teach food literacy skills and highlight plant protein.

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?:

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 inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labelling and signage in dining halls?:

A brief description of the sustainability labelling and signage in dining halls:
Across all dining halls, we post Menus of Change materials which promote sustainable and healthy eating information for diners. 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. Our weekly FRESH demos are accompanied by recipe cards and nutrition tips customized to the specific ingredients used in the meal. Additionally, when a new sustainable item is on the menu we always have signage near the servery outlining its sustainability attributes. The farmers market includes "producer cards" associated with each product to highlight regional sourcing and local farms.

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?:

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. 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?:

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?:

A brief description of the food donation program:
BC Dining works with a student organization called every Bite Counts (eBC) that comes in after dinner and works with the chefs to package food items that are edible but would be composted. Food is donated from all three main dining locations. Our partner, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine then picks up the frozen product four days a week and delivers to shelters and other local organizations in need of pre-prepared foods.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:

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?:

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?:

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?:

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:
Reusable silverware and dishware are available and there is signage in dining halls that encourage students to bring in their own reusable cups for drinks.

Since fall 2021, all three main dining units offer reusable to-go containers through our Green2Go program. Students can buy into the program with a one-time fee of $9 on the meal plan. Once they have joined the program students can choose to have their food served in the reusable container, which they then return at their convenience to be washed and sanitized. In addition, we have bamboo utensils, reusable straws and resuable bottles for sale in our dining halls.

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)?:

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:
The majority of disposable containers used at all dining locations are 100% compostable. Bowls, salad bowls and soup cups are all made of compostable plant-fiber material, sourced from World Centric. World Centric is a B Corp with a zero carbon footprint, and contributes 25% of profits to sustainable development projects.


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

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). All drinks served in reusable cups are charged the price of a small no matter the size.

A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:
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.

Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.