Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.67
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date Oct. 7, 2021

STARS v2.2

Boston University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lexie Raczka
Sustainability Director of Dining
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?:
Yes

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

In both FY19 and FY20 BU Dining Services held a weekly farmers' market for the first half of the Fall semester outside of the George Sherman Union food court. The farmers' market included farmers, artisans, bakers, artists, and prepared food vendors.

During the 2018-2019 academic year BU Dining Services partnered with Ward's Berry Farm and Red Fire Farm during the 2019-2020 academic year to provide a CSA program for the university community in June through October. BU Dining Services also hosted pop-up farmers market for Earth Day and the University's Sustainability Festival.

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


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:

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 support disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through its food and beverage purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:

In addition to prioritizing sustainably-produced foods and offering a wide variety of plant-based menu items Boston University Dining Services makes a significant effort to purchase locally grown and processed foods, many of which are from SMEs. We value the variety of benefits that local sourcing can have, including the social and economic impacts on local businesses and communities. In FY19 an additional 9% of our purchases were local but not necessarily from SMEs.


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
7

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

A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:

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 social media postings. 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. Every week the Sustainability Director for Dining Services or a Dining Services intern samples 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.

In FY19 and FY20 BU Dining Services also worked with a number of student groups interested in vegan and vegetarian dining to hold themed vegan station takeovers and tasting events, such as a taste test with the Veg Club comparing vegan chocolate mousse with regular chocolate mousse.

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


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 separate cooking vessels and utensils for vegan foods. Digital menu boards and our website identify vegan menu items with a symbol identifier.

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

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

Digital signs, large format banners, and posters indicate: local, Wholesome Roots, 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 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 rolled the program out to the other dining halls and the student union food court in the fall of 2019. The Leanpath units allow us to capture pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste and implement strategies to reduce waste.

BU Dining holds Weigh the Waste events during orientation and throughout the year to bring awareness to plate waste and identify the reasons why particular foods are wasted. In FY19 Weigh the Waste events were held once a semester in the three largest dining halls, in FY20 we increased the frequency of Weigh the Waste events to three times a semester in each dining hall, including Granby Commons, our smallest dining hall. In addition to increasing the frequency of the events we also hired students to serve as guides for the events so they are peer-led.

URLs:
http://www.bu.edu/dining/report2018/
https://www.bu.edu/dining/sustainability-progress/


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.

In FY20 we added a survey component to Weigh the Waste events so students could provide feedback on the food they were wasting and why - portion size, taste, preference, not enough time, etc. From these surveys, we have been able to identify when portion sizes need to be modified or other changes should be implemented. For example, we have reinforced portion sizes for rice and began serving 25% of burgers from the grill without buns for students who do not want the bread.

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


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 works with 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, to donate surplus food to Food For Free, a local food recovery group. When needed Dining Services also schedules donations directly with Food For Free. In FY19 donations were primarily after large events like Commencement and at the end of each semester. During the second half of FY20 however, donations from dining halls and retail locations that had closed because of COVID-19.

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?:
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. With Leanpath waste tracking we are able to track all pre-consumer waste from participating dining locations and identify why the food was wasted. Each week location specific food waste reports are shared with the Leanpath Champions in each location so the locations can identify areas of improvement whether it be waste reduction, transaction coding, staff participation, etc. Reports are also compiled monthly and quarterly to track BU Dining's progress.

In order to encourage participation in the Leanpath program and engage associates around waste reduction in the Fall of 2019 we created a program with incentives and rewards for individuals and locations - including a trophy that is given to one location each month, which has helped garner enthusiasm.

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 anaerobically digested and sent to the CORe facility in Charlestown, MA for initial processing.

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 in each dining hall multiple times a semester through Weight the Waste events. Students serve as "Campus Zero Waste Guides" and instruct students to scrape their plates into bins based on the type of waste - edible food waste, inedible food waste, beverages/ice, and non-food waste. We then weigh the waste to identify the cumulative total and the average per student and post the results in the dining hall. We also have Leanpath Spark devices to communicate post-consumer waste values to students on a daily basis. We track diversion rates year over year to understand best practices.

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. Also, waste from staffed catered events is always diverted to anaerobic digestion, 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) and Bay State Underground (BSU) reusable service ware is available for dine-in and disposable containers are available for an extra cost. Additionally, our four Starbucks locations have ceramic mugs available for 'for here' orders and all retail locations selling coffee and tea offer discounts for customers who bring their own mug.


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, compostable to-go tableware and utensils, or a reusable to-go container. Much of packaging used for the Grab and Go sandwiches, salads, pre-sliced fruits, and desserts program in the GSU is 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 compostable tableware, with the exception of some of our brand-name service locations.

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 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. To disincentive disposable to-go containers we also charge a surcharge for orders in disposable to-go containers from the GSU food hall and Bay State Underground.

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/


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

BU has a very diverse student population, and dining services works to accommodate food preferences such as Halal, Kosher, vegan and vegetarian.
Granby Commons is a completely kosher kitchen and catering service.
Multiple Vegan and vegetarian options are available each day at every location on campus.

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-nutritional meal.

We also sourced an additional 6% of food that met non-AASHE sustainability attributes and third party criteria.


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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This represents FY2019 & FY2020 BU Metrics.

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.