Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.16
Liaison Kylee Singh
Submission Date Sept. 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California Polytechnic State University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kaitlin Gibbons
Sustainability Coordinator
Campus Dining
"---" 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 May 2014, the CSU Board of Trustees, with Governor Brown in attendance, adopted the first CSU system- wide Sustainability Policy. The policy aims not only to further reduce the environmental impact of construction and operation of buildings, grounds, and infrastructure, but to integrate sustainability into the food and dining experience. The CSU Sustainability Policy established goals to:

-Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020
-Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2040
-Procure 33% of energy supply from renewable sources by 2020
-Increase on-site energy generation from 44 to 80 MW by 2020
-Reduce per-capita landfill waste 50% by 2016 and 80% by 2020
-Reduce water use 10% by 2016 and 20% by 2020
-Promote use of alternative fuels and transportation programs
-Procure goods that are recycled, recyclable, or reusable
-Procure 20% local/organic/free trade food by 2020
-Integrate Sustainability across the curriculum

Food and dining have a major impact on all of these goal areas and thus Campus Dining is actively involved in helping the university meet these targets.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
Yes

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

The Cal Poly Organic Farm grows a variety of seasonal produce throughout the year. Campus Dining purchases produce from the farm when possible for use within dining venues and catering. This includes strawberries, citrus, and other produce. Campus Dining also sells Cal Poly organic produce in both of its on campus markets for students to purchase with their meal plans.


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:

Campus Dining partners with the Campus Health and Wellbeing department to host a biweekly farmer's market on campus. The market features local, small scale farmers and a portion of proceeds benefit the food pantry on campus.


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:

Vegan menu items are offered in all 20+ campus dining locations. Vegan options incorporate meat alternatives, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables. In 2018 we also added a whole new vegan station to our largest dining venue. Example vegan menu items include the Beyond Burger, vegan breakfast burrito, and internationally inspired dishes such as Indian Chana Masala. New icons have also been added to all menus to easily identify vegan options to consumers.


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:

Campus Dining hosts biweekly FriYay dinners for residential diners. FriYay dinners always feature at least one vegan option such as pan seared cauliflower steak with chimichurri. We also feature a FYUL (Fueling Your University Life) program throughout campus. FYUL highlights vegan recipes and the environmental, financial and health benefits that they offer.


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:

This year Campus Dining has hosted several farm to fork events. The first was a night dedicated to Cal Poly's own Swanton Ranch. All menu items served featured local and sustainably raised Swanton Ranch beef and produce. We have also made farm to fork dinners a regular weekly feature at our Campus Market. The market menu features sustainably raised beef and sustainably sourced salmon as well as locally sourced produce. All of these meals are available for purchase with a meal plan. We also hold sustainable events themed around Earth Day and Food Day that highlight our sustainable vendor partners and local products.


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?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

Campus Dining features a "Sustainedibility" station at our main dining hall. This station features plant forward and whole food menu items and doubles as our allergen-free window.


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:

The main dining hall features extensive branding to highlight our sustainable practices. A giant map of local farms is painted on one wall to indicate where we source our produce. Other signage draws attention to other sustainable procurement practices (sustainable seafood, cage free eggs, etc). Signage also calls out local products at our campus markets.


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:

Dining consistently supports student led research around sustainability. Research and class projects center around a variety of topics including food waste, composting, food packaging, and energy management.

Campus Dining recently supported a Environmental Design 408: Implementing Sustainable Principles course project to bring bulk bins to Campus Market. This project intends to implement (or aid the staff currently trying to implement) bulk foods in campus market, the new upcoming market, and improve the current arrangement at village market. This transition involves the group identifying which products should be in bulk at each market, finding suppliers for these products, and adding a “Scoop of the Week” marketing strategy for the new bulk bins. Bulk foods provide the opportunity to reduce both packaging and food waste. There is the potential for increased food sustainability through distributors and local farmers Bulk foods are an affordable alternative to standard packaged products. Implementing bulk products that are affordable prices provide an accessible source for the students who experience food insecurity. Bulk foods allow students to make better decisions about their health. Education about different ingredients encourages consumption as well as allowing for portion control. As a result of the project Campus Dining will be implementing a bulk bin section over the summer. Selling bulk items will of course cut down on packaging waste and we will also be selling Campus Market branded jars and reusable bags to use at the bins.


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:

Campus Dining employs a team of "Choose Well Ambassadors" who work in prime dining venues to answer nutrition and sustainability related questions. The ambassadors also provide peer to peer education on a variety of topics including food waste reduction, proper waste disposal, and how to identify healthy food options.


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?:
No

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

Dining is currently working on a request for proposal for a food waste prevention program such as LeanPath.


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:

Trayless dining was implemented in 2005, campus wide.


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:

Unused food from caterings and dining venues is donated to students in need via the on campus food pantry. Additionally, students are permitted to donate up to 30 meals per year from their meal plans to benefit food insecure students. So far this year over 10,000 meals have been donated to students in need. Dining also allows students to donate unused meal plan meals to the local homeless center on a biannual basis.


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:

Dining uses an outside vendor to recycle cooking oil to be converted to fuel and other products.


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:

Over 200 tons of back of house food scraps are composted and diverted from landfills annually. Compost currently gets shipped to a compost facility in Santa Maria.


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:

Post consumer composting bins are available at many dining locations around campus, as well as, a select few residence halls, the library and union building, as part of a pilot program. The main dining facility, 805 Kitchen, also composts post consumer waste. Additionally, Campus Dining offers zero waste catering events. Nearly 4,000 pounds of waste was diverted from landfills during these events in 2018.


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:

Our largest dining venue on campus utilizes only reusable china for meals.


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:

Reusable "to go" containers are offered to first year students for use at dining venues around campus. If students do not bring their own reusable then Dining provides compostable or recyclable containers in all dining locations.


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:

At a number of campus venues, a discount is applied if a customer brings in their own reusable mug or cup for a beverage at beverage dispensers . All Starbucks locations on campus offer a $0.25 discount when people bring their own cup.


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:

Paper straws have replaced plastic straws in all non-franchise dining venues across campus. An audit was completed this year to identify non-recyclable food packaging used on campus and alternative products have been implemented to support zero waste goals.


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