Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.34
Liaison Mary Whitney
Submission Date Nov. 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Chatham University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mary Whitney
University Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

Every student with a meal plan has the option to redeem one re-usable “Green Take-Out Box” to use if they want to take their meal back to their room. They can bring back the used container and exchange it for a clean one. Napkins in the dining halls are made from recycled paper. Compostable containers are used for the “On the Go” and the “Meal Exchange” programs. All catering is provided with compostable plates, cups, silverware and other utensils. Spent fryer oil is converted to bio-diesel fuel. Parkhurst (Chatham’s dining service provider) only uses trans-fat-free canola oil, which is a healthier alternative to regular frying oil. Chatham’s Dining Services uses recycled paper for the majority of their marketing materials. The dining hall has different trash bins for compostables, recyclables, and landfill items. All of the pre and post-consumer food waste is composted. Recently, the Eden Hall Campus dining hall implemented the Meatless Monday, in which no meat is served in any of the meals of the day.


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 Eden Hall campus has a farm that provides fresh produce during the production season to the Esther Barazzone Commons (EBC) and occasionally to the Anderson Dining Hall on the main campus. Eden Hall is technically considered a working agricultural classroom. It has a fully certified organic farm, a demonstration farm, and greenhouses (one of which is heated year-round by solar-thermal panels). It not only produces food for the campuses of Chatham, it also allows faculty and students to demonstrate different sustainable agriculture practices, and sustainable food cultivation and marketing practices are used on the farm. In addition to the fresh produce, the apple juice produced at the Carriage House is made entirely from apples produced at Eden Hall apple orchard. In addition, there are a number of initiatives for sustainable food taking place at the farm including nutrient recycling and soil building from compost obtained from food waste on campus, aquaponics to grow food in water, mushroom farming, and edible landscaping.


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:

Chatham University's Eden Hall Campus has an aquaculture lab that provides fish as needed for consumption at the Eden Hall campus. The fish produced is also sold to local restaurants. The aquaculture lab has three 500-gallon tanks that are filled with tilapia and rainbow trout and the lab is properly maintained by a faculty member and a student assistant, who is a graduate student in the Masters of Sustainability program (MSUS).


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:

Chatham University has a large vegetarian and vegan population, with approximately 20% of the students being vegetarian or vegan. Parkhurst (Chatham’s dining service provider) offers diverse complete-protein vegan options at every meal, from breakfast to dinner. Added to the large salad bars, there are always hot vegan options available during the meals. Vegan products such as dairy-free cream cheese, soy milk, almond milk, pizzas, soups, and desserts are available for the students. Recently, the Eden Hall Campus dining hall implemented the Meatless Monday, and no meat is served in any of the meals of the day.
We also have a vegan/vegetarian focus group that meets with Parkhurst Dining Services to provide feedback on the vegan/vegetarian options available at the dining hall.


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:

One Monday a month there is a meatless Monday lunch on the main campus. All of the specials are meatless as are the main courses. The deli, the grill, and pizzas with animal products are served on-demand.


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:

Harvest dinners are hosted once a year, where almost all of the foods sourced are produced locally. The 2017 Harvest Dinner was served for 600 people, reaching the university’s new record.


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:

There are two sustainability-themed food outlets on-site. One is at the Eden Hall campus in the Esther Barazzone Commons (EBC), which is the main food outlet of that campus. The Eden Hall Campus is a sustainability-focused campus, and the EBC dining hall follows the sustainable pattern, serving food produced on campus and locally, being all the dishes made from scratch. The other is the Carriage House at Shadyside Campus, which serves smoothies, juices, and sandwiches using mainly products that are produced locally.


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:

There is a blackboard inside the main dining hall that indicates all of the food that has been locally sourced and the food signage clearly indicates the vegetarian and food items. The area designated to dispose of the waste in the dining hall has clear directions to instruct in which container you should place the item that you are throwing away (recyclable, compostable, landfill).


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:

Chatham University has two Food Studies programs, undergraduate and graduate levels, which primary focus is to study the food systems and food production chain. Part of the Food Studies programs is to engage in outreach campaigns to raise people’s awareness related to the food production systems. As an example, the university constantly receives school (e.g., K-12 program) and group field trips in Eden Hall Campus. During these field trips, themes related to sustainable agriculture are discussed and the visitors have the opportunity to walk around the campus sustainable facilities, participating in interactive activities. Once a year, the Eden Hall Fellows organize a the Food and Climate Change conference, bringing renowned speakers and community members to engage in a lively discussion. In addition to these outreach efforts, there is also a Sustainability Leadership Academy held every July on the Eden Hall campus which is open to students entering 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. This academy includes at least two sessions on sustainable agriculture and food. In addition, the farm hosts workshops, which in the past have included shitake mushroom workshops, and a workshop on maple sap tapping and maple syrup production.


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:

Other sustainability-related dining initiatives encompass activities like the celebration of the Parkhurst’s FarmSource program, in which featured FarmSource vendors come to campus, allowing the school community to meet with them. The vendors bring product samples and materials with information about the products’ differentials, so people have the opportunity to learn where their food comes from. Together, Chatham and Parkhurst promote other activities to increase the university community awareness regarding themes such as LGBTQIA, Native American Heritage and fundraising for the American Cancer Society.


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:

We compost all pre- and post-consumer food waste, but initially, all usable trimmings go to stock production (all Chatham soups are made from scratch). The cooks use half-pans for lines so that we will be able to donate any unused food. By collaborating with Parkhurst Dining Services on food waste reduction efforts, we have fine-tuned the quantities of food put out during meal service so that there is very little extra for disposal. Chatham keeps a monthly record of the amount of waste that was sent for composting and the university participates in the RecycleMania competition every year.


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:

Chatham ran a pilot program called “Trayless Tuesdays” in 2008, and it was so successful that the university fully implemented a completely trayless system in 2009. Currently, 99% of all meals served on campus are trayless. This includes regular meals, retail facility meals, and conference meals. The new system appears to have no disadvantages. In addition to using less water, soap, and labor to clean the trays, Chatham has seen enormous reductions in post-consumer food waste. Before the trayless system was implemented, dining hall patrons filled four to five 55-gallon containers with food waste per meal period. After going trayless, only half of one 55-gallon container is filled per meal.


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:

All of the leftover food at Chatham is either repurposed or donated. Whenever possible leftover food is used to make new dishes (e.g., soups), however, any food that cannot be reused or repurposed is donated to charity. Chatham donates food to the 412 Food Rescue, which is a Pittsburgh non-profit dedicated to passing out food that would otherwise go to waste to underserved communities.


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:

Chatham donates its frying oil, which is trans-fat free canola oil, to be converted into biodiesel fuel. In 2016, 880 gallons of oil were donated, and in 2017, 660 gallons of oil were donated. Part of the compostable waste produced in the Eden Hall campus is composted in the campus and the compost is used in the farming activities.


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:

Chatham composts all animal, vegetable, and cardboard waste from Anderson Dining Hall and all food waste on our Eden Hall campus, but we do not compost at the Eastside campus. (The Eastside campus does not compost pre or post-consumer waste at this time because there is no space available at that facility).


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:

In order to compost post-consumer food waste, students must separate food trash and compostable items, recyclable items, and those that must go to the landfill. Waste receptacles at Anderson Dining Hall are clearly marked, with pictures and directions explaining how to separate.


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:

The ware for “dine in” (i.e., plates, silverware, glasses, cups, bowls, etc.) meals are all reusable and washed by the Parkhurst staff. No disposable materials other than napkins and compostable straws are available for meals in the 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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

The students who purchase school meal plans have the option to get one reusable plastic container (lunch boxes) for “to-go” meals for free. In the main dining hall, there are no disposable lunch boxes available, which enforces students to use their reusable containers if they want to take food from the dining hall. The few disposable containers that are available (such as soup containers, coffee cups, and silverware) are all compostable, except for the coffee lids. The Office of Sustainability underwrites the program for faculty and staff who do not have meal plans but want to have a to-go box.


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:

In the Café Rachel, if a mug is brought from home, a customer is only charged for a small tea or coffee, even when purchasing a bigger one. Cold and hot water is available for free with the use of one's own mug or water bottle.


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:

Parkhurst (our dining services contractor) only use bulk dispensaries to serve beverages, cereals, dressings, condiments, salt and pepper.


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