Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.97
Liaison Dennis Carlberg
Submission Date Aug. 2, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Boston University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Amy Elvidge
Sustainability Director of Dining
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:

In 2014, Boston University committed to purchasing 20% of our food from sustainable sources. Given the success of the program, BU set a new goal to purchase 25% sustainable food and beverages by 2020.
Our sustainable spend includes:
- Certified organic and fair trade coffee in our dining halls
- Gestation crate-free pork
- Local grass-fed beef for burgers and hot dogs in dining halls
- Certified Humane and local chicken and turkey
- Cage-free eggs
- MSC Certified canned skipjack and albacore
- local organic oats
- Wholesome Roots: one day per week in each dining hall dedicated to 'low carbon dining' (similar to Meatless Monday)

Food sourcing policies
URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/about-us/sustainability/wholesomefood/

Annual report detailing accomplishments of the previous year (updated annually, FY18 to be released in January 2019)
URL: http://www.bu.edu/dining/report2017/


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:

BU Dining Services holds a weekly farmers' market in the Spring and Fall outside of the George Sherman Union food court. The farmers' market includes farmers, artisans, bakers, artists, and prepared food vendors.

BU Dining Services partners with Ward's Berry Farm to provide a CSA program for the local community in June through October. BU Dining Services also hosts a pop-up farmers market for Earth Day and Sustainability Festival.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/about-us/sustainability/farmers-market/


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:

BU Dining Services offers vegan meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner across campus each day. BU Dining Services also offer vegan pizzas, desserts, and deli sandwich options. Extensive employee trainings are conducted with employees to educate them on veganism. Additionally, BU Dining Services has all separate cooking vessels and utensils for vegan foods.

Our Granby Commons dining hall serves both a Kosher and a Vegan menu with food of the highest standards under strict supervision. The menu is a unique blend of innovative concepts that displays fresh, nutritious cooking, local produce, and a full menu comprised of a salad bar, hot and cold vegan options, and desserts.

URL: http://www.bu.edu/dining/nutrition/vegetarian-and-vegan/


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:

The "Wholesome Roots" program is a menu schedule rotation between our dining halls that focuses on healthy, nutritious and low carbon meals. It's also an opportunity for education through station signs, posters, website and Facebook postings, and table tents that discuss what makes each meal sustainable. No beef or pork is served on these days and the focus is on local produce, sustainable seafood, as well as more vegetarian and vegan options. Wholesome Roots rotates Monday through Wednesday at the different dining halls. At least once a month, the Sustainability Director for Dining Services demos new plant-based dishes to increase student awareness of low-impact foods and expose them to new plant proteins (e.g. seitan, tempeh, grain burgers, etc.)

Nonetheless, every day of the week, students can find a meat-less entree option for each meal at each dining hall.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/about-us/sustainability/wholesomeroots/

Additionally, our catering program offers Zero Waste Catering, and annual catered events opt for Zero Waste catering.


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:

Earth Week - highlights local vendors and plant-forward recipes campus-wide
Chowderfest – local ingredients, plus one vegan chowder, chefs from each dining hall compete for the best chowder
Lobster Night – supports local and sustainably sourced seafood like from Red's Best
Wholesome Roots - 'low carbon' dining each week featuring plant proteins.


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:

Taking It To The Streets in Union Court (main dining court on campus) regularly features sustainable themes, like FARMacy vegan bowls.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/where-to-eat/retail-dining/takinittothestreet/

Granby Commons dining hall has a vegan station that features signage and social media promoting the sustainability aspects of a vegan diet.


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:

Large format banners, posters, and recipe signage indicate: local, plant-forward, vegan and vegetarian, or third-party certified (organic, fair trade, MSC certified) offerings. Additionally, our social media accounts feature low impact foods and related information about sustainable eating.


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:

Central informational table at the George Sherman Union in the heart of campus is regularly used to inform, educate and promote sustainable food offerings, farmers market, CSA, reusable to-go ware program, and other programs.

We hold various sustainable food information events throughout the year, including:
Weigh the Waste - measuring plate waste in dining halls
Vegan demos - serving prepared vegan food in dining halls and discussing its environmental benefits
Environmental group discussions - discuss sustainability topics such as food carbon footprint or water footprint with student environmental organizations


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:

BU has a very diverse student population, and dining services works to accommodate food preferences such as Halal, Kosher, vegan and vegetarian.
All of our chicken is Halal, except for our processed chicken nuggets.
Granby Commons is a completely kosher kitchen and catering service.
Multiple Vegan and vegetarian options are available each day at every location on campus.
Marciano Commons Dining Hall has a completely vegan kitchen.

The Sargent Choice Healthy Dining program is a joint initiative between dining services and the Sargent School of Nutrition. Every menu item is reviewed by a Sargent nutritionist to calculate all of the nutritional information. This information is available for dining staff and is included in all print and digital signage, as well as on our website. Specific dishes have a Sargent Choice seal on their signage to indicate that the dish meets specific nutritional criteria. Students that opt for Sargent Choice meals are getting a balanced and high-nutrition meal.


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:

BU Dining Services piloted "LeanPath" in the West Campus Dining Hall in 2017 and will roll the program out to the other dining halls in 2019. The LeanPath 360 unit is a fully integrated food waste tracking system, with a touchscreen terminal, bench scale, and camera.

BU Dining holds Weigh the Waste events during orientation and throughout the year to bring awareness to plate waste.

URL: http://www.bu.edu/dining/report2017/


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:

All residential dining halls at Boston University have been trayless since 2008. The majority of food is also made to order and we offer smaller plates and portion sizes for many dishes in our residential dining locations upon request. In addition, Dining Services has an extensive signage and marketing program about food waste in our residential dining halls that educates students and customers alike about food waste.

URL: http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/what-were-doing/food/trayless-dining/


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:

Dining Services donates on a daily basis to several local food banks and shelters through BU's Community Service Center’s Student Food Rescue (SFR) which was founded by a group of BU student volunteers in the spring of 1988, and has since become an integral part of the Community Service Center.

Additionally, our four dining halls and our catering department donate food to Food for Free, a local food recovery group. We freeze leftover prepared food throughout the week and Food for Free picks up the frozen foods every Wednesday. The food is then combined with other surplus food from other institutions and repackaged into single serve meals.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/sustainability/waste-reduction-diversion/


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:

All food waste is collected by Save that Stuff or Waste Management and goes to the CORe facility in Charlestown, MA for anaerobic digestion and then waste to energy conversion in North Andover, MA.

We collect pre- and post-consumer food waste in a separate stream in all of our dining halls, in our Union Court, and at our Buick St Market. Pre-consumer food waste is collected at every food service kitchen on campus.

Cooking oil is collected at each of our dining sites and picked up regularly by Life Cycle Renewables, a local company that recycles the oil to "zero emission vegetable oil". The oil is then used again for cooking or for fuel.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/about-us/sustainability/re/


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:

BU Dining Services has a pre-consumer food waste collection program that diverts the food waste to anaerobic digestion.

BU Dining Services tracks food products from the moment it enters our facilities to the point at which it is consumed or otherwise disposed. We track and classify refuse into three categories for all of our operations weekly, monthly, and annually for production waste, service waste and storage waste. Pre-production refuse is analyzed by the management staff daily to ensure consistent production, trimming and portioning skills. This whole process allows us to further analyze, forecast and understand sources of waste and areas of intervention. This process is called "End to End" food waste management and it helps BU Dining continuously improve our business by conserving valuable resources and minimizing the impact of our services to the University and community.

BU's pre-consumer food waste program started in 2008 and has expanded to almost every location on campus. Clear containers are used to collect food trimmings from production waste. Clear containers, along with the weight, helps us analyze the contents of our waste. Barrels are provided as a means of aggregating organic waste for collection for employees to dispose of all organic waste. Each semester, trainings are provided for employees. Organics are sent to one of several commercial composting facilities in the greater Boston area.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/about-us/sustainability/re/


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:

BU Dining Services has a post-consumer food waste collection program that diverts the food waste to anaerobic digestion.

Waste audits are conducted on an annual basis to track and measure waste disposal. We track diversion rates year over year to understand best practices. "Composting Comes Out" aka Weigh the Waste is a peer education and awareness program in the dining halls. Student volunteers help students scrape leftovers into the compost barrel, which is normally done in the back of house dish room. Clean Plate Club stickers are also handed out to students that have not left any food on their plate, to discourage food waste. “Composting Comes Out” has been extended to include Orientation for incoming first-year undergraduate students who will be living in the dorms.

BU's post-consumer food waste program started in 2008 in the residential dining halls and since, has spread to retail locations as well in the student union. Universal signs and product identifiers are posted at retail locations with instructions on how to sort waste. Most retail tableware on campus is biodegradable, allowing for it to go into the food waste stream. Also, waste from staffed catered events is always diverted to compost, and customers have the option to divert organics at their non-staffed events. The Massachusetts DEP has used Boston University Dining Services as a case study to assist other institutions in the state to prepare for the organics waste ban, which went into effect in July 2014. Boston University Dining Services was also the recipient of Mayor Menino and the City of Boston's Sustainable Food Leadership Award in 2012 for our commitment to sustainable food service, including our composting efforts.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/about-us/sustainability/re/


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:

All four dining halls use reusable dishware exclusively. In the George Sherman Union (GSU), both reusable service ware and biodegradable products are available. Additionally, our four Starbucks locations have ceramic mugs available for 'for here' orders.


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:

At BU's main food court, The George Sherman Union (GSU), customers are given the option of using reusable tableware and utensils, BPI-certified compostable to-go tableware and utensils, or a reusable to-go container. The packaging used for the Grab and Go sandwiches, salads, pre-sliced fruits, and desserts program in the GSU are all BPI-certified compostable to-go packaging. This helps us reduce packaging waste from our operations. Residential dining halls use exclusively reusable tableware.

Most other retail locations on campus use BPI-certified compostable tableware, with the exception of some of our brand-name service locations. Twelve out of fourteen locations that offer compostable disposables offer post-consumer composting.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/about-us/sustainability/re/


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:

Reusable to-go containers have been available for purchase for $4 at the student union since September 2011 and can be used at the food court. Customers using the reusable to-go containers are given a $0.25 discount each time it is used.

Dining Services offers a $0.25 reusable mug discount at every coffee-serving location on campus. This discount applies to all drip coffee and tea.

URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/green-to-go-container-program/


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:

All of our staffed catered events on campus are Zero Waste. That means that our compostable tableware is collected on tray stands on the floor of the event instead of trash cans, retrieved and sorted into compost and recycling by our trained wait staff in the back of the event. With this practice, very little trash is generated at events. Our approach to Zero Waste events is used across campus, throughout the year, for all size events ranging from 5 to 5,000 people.

URL: http://www.bu.edu/catering/sustainability/
https://www.bu.edu/dining/sustainability/waste-reduction-diversion/


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.