Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.30
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date May 31, 2024

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:

The Boston University Farmers' Market was held for eight weeks at the beginning of the fall semester. Each week, members of the BU community could meet and purchase from eight to 10 local vendors selling produce, baked goods, marinated olives, and more. Nearly all of the vendor businesses were woman-owned, minority-owned, or LGBT-owned. In 2022, Boston University Dining Services once again partnered with ReVision Urban Farm to offer a hyper local CSA farm share program for memebers of the BU Community. URLs: https://www.bu.edu/dining/sustainability/csa/ https://www.bu.edu/dining/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:

The Fresh Fuel at Granby Commons dining hall includes two kitchens, one of which is vegan, and a robust salad bar. In addition, nearly all of the menu items served in the entire dining hall have a low carbon footprint.


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. We also strive to source from MWBE businesses, in the local Boston area and beyond. We also source from a growing number of vendors that are certified B Corps. We strive to purchase from MWBEs, including SMEs, for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 spend. In FY2023, we sourced additional food products, especially dairy and seafood, that were local to BU but were not necessarily from SMEs.


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
8

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:

Many of our menu items are plant-forward. We continued to offer our Climate Friendly labeling program throughout FY2023 to identify lower impact menu items on the menu during every meal period and at every dining hall. For Earth Week we hosted a locally sourced, plant-based farm-to-table restaurant night event for a group of 80 students in our residential dining program. The entire menu was plant-based!


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 trainings are conducted with employees to educate them on plant-based diets. BU Dining Services has separate cooking vessels and utensils for vegan foods to prevent cross contact. 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 highlight: local, climate-friendly, vegan and vegetarian, or third-party certified (organic, fair trade, MSC certified) offerings. Additionally, our social media accounts feature sustainability information weekly for "Zero Waste Wednesdays."


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 employs a number of strategies to prevent food from being wasted, including training our employees on knife skills, adjusting production volumes, serving consistent portions, preparing food to order or in small batches, and repurposing leftover ingredients. We use Leanpath to track and monitor pre-consumer waste in six locations on campus. The Leanpath units allow us to capture pre-consumer food waste and implement strategies to reduce waste. URLs: https://www.bu.edu/dining/sustainability/waste-reduction-diversion/


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. We also held 38 Weigh the Waste events over the course of FY2023, engaging with students about plate waste and identifying commonly wasted foods. We use the results from these events to implement changes to our plating, portioning, and recipes.


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 three local partners to recover and donate surplus food - Food For Free, Rosie's Place, and Boston University's Student Food Rescue program. Throughout FY2023 we donated more than 8,100lbs of food from our catering operations, retail locations, and residential dining halls. 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:

In FY2023, food waste was collected by CERO and Casella for diversion, depending on the location. Food waste Collected by CERO, a local minority-owned and woman-owned worker co-op, is composted on a farm outside of Boston. Food waste collected by Casella is anaerobically digested. We collect pre- and post-consumer food waste in a separate stream in all of our dining halls, GSU Food Hall, Buick St Market, Saxbys, and Breadwinners. 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/sustainability/waste-reduction-diversion/


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 either composting or anaerobic digestion, depending on the locations. BU's pre-consumer food waste program started in 2008 and has expanded to the entire Dining program 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. URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/sustainability/waste-reduction-diversion/


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's post-consumer food waste program started in 2008 in the residential dining halls and since, has spread to retail locations, including the GSU Food Hall, Buick Street Market, and Breadwinners. Post-consumer food waste separation happens in the dish room in residential locations and in the front of house in retail locations. Campus-wide standardized signs and product identifiers are posted at retail locations with instructions on how to sort waste. We held 38 'Weigh the Waste' events over the course of the fall and spring semesters. These events serve as an educational opportunity for students to visualize the collective impact of food waste and provide an opportunity for the dining team to better understand what foods students are wasting and why so we can make changes to portion sizes, recipes, etc. https://www.bu.edu/dining/sustainability/waste-reduction-diversion/


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:

We exclusively use reusable dishware for dine-in in all residential dining halls and at Fuller's Pub, and offer dine-in reusables at the George Sherman Union food hall and Bay State Underground.


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:

We launched Choose to Reuse, our reusable container program for retail dining in February 2023. The program is integrated with Grubhub, our mobile ordering platform, and allows students, staff, and faculty members to request a reusable container, like a library system. Over the course of the spring semester, over 8,100 individuals participated in the program and over 48,000 Choose to Reuse containers were issued. The use of disposable containers decreased by 78%. https://www.bu.edu/dining/choose-to-reuse/


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:

We offer BYO mug disounts at coffee locations on campus. Weith the launch of Choose to Reuse, we implemented a $2.50 surcharge for disposable containers at participating locations. This was instrumental in shifting guests away from disposable packaging and towards reusable to-go containers or reusable dishware for dine-in. URL: https://www.bu.edu/dining/sustainability/waste-reduction-diversion/ https://www.bu.edu/dining/choose-to-reuse/


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.


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

This represents FY2023 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.