Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.06
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Columbia University
OP-7: Low Impact Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 3.00 Victoria Dunn
Assistant Vice President
Dining, Columbia University Facilities and Operations
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Percentage of total dining services food purchases comprised of conventionally produced animal products:

A brief description of the methodology used to track/inventory expenditures on animal products:

Vendors provide an annual report of purchases from the prior year; Dining's Executive Director analyzes data to delineate purchases that are conventionally produced animal products v. sustainably produced animal products.

Does the institution offer diverse, complete-protein vegan dining options at all meals in at least one dining facility on campus?:

Does the institution provide labels and/or signage that distinguishes between vegan, vegetarian (not vegan), and other items?:

Are the vegan options accessible to all members of the campus community?:

A brief description of the vegan dining program, including availability, sample menus, signage and any promotional activities (e.g. “Meatless Mondays”):

Vegan options are available in all dining halls and retail units at each meal period. Vegan retail items include Emmy's macaroons, Larabars, Kind Bars, Kettle Cuisine Vegan soups, Wonderful Pistachios, other raw nut mixes, Naked Juices, and Vegan salad, sandwich, and hot food options. Vegan options at dining halls are identified through the food allergy identification key (a blue "VN" sticker next to menu items that are vegan). Menus for the dining halls are posted online where a filter is used to sort Vegan options served at each location and meal period. A "Today's Menu Highlight's Board is placed at the entrance of each dining hall to identify unique and complete vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free meal combinations for the day. At John Jay Dining Hall, grains like quinoa, buckwheat, kasha, millet, or cous cous are served daily, along with a variety of beans. Soy milk, tofu, hummus, natural peanut butter, edamame, oatmeal, sushi, whole wheat pasta, marinara sauce, vegan composed salads, fresh/local fruit, vegan burgers, vegan soups, and tofu dogs are always available. JJ's Place serves Jamba Juice smoothies, vegan black bean burgers, and options like a hummus wrap or black bean wrap. Ferris Booth Commons serves vegan soup options, oatmeal, hummus, natural peanut butter, tofu sandwiches, beans, vegan pizzas, whole wheat pasta and marinara sauce, and soy milk daily. Columbia's Registered Dietitian has developed an initiative that includes virtual newsletters, monthly nutrition tips, and most recently, a video tour of John Jay Dining Hall that takes viewers to each station, identifying healthier options, including vegan options. Columbia Dining has promoted Meatless Mondays since 2011, and at the start of the Fall 2014 semester, Columbia University initiated "Green Mondays," promoting meatless meals. National Nutrition Month is celebrated annually in March, including a recipe contest where students submit there favorite recipe that meets certain criteria, such as gluten free or vegan. The vegan recipe that won in 2011 was for Orange Cranberry Vegan Muffins.

A brief description of other efforts the institution has made to reduce the impact of its animal-derived food purchases:

Along with the variety of vegetarian and vegan options highlighted in each unit, Columbia Dining promotes "Green Monday," which was inspired by Meatless Mondays. Columbia alumnus David Yeung created Green Monday in his native Hong Kong, which promotes meat reduction alongside other sustainability practices such as recycling and energy efficient lighting. The initiative in sponsored by Environmental Stewardship, Columbia Dining, Housing, EcoReps, and RHLO. It focuses on four themes: recycling, food and nutrition, paper waste reduction, and energy conservation. Green Monday banners, menu templates, and stickers are used to promote the initiative and identify vegetarian and vegan options for the day. Various pop up events occur each Monday, like plate scrapings in John Jay Dining Hall, as well as challenges on Instagram and Facebook. Green Monday tumblers are sold in retail locations as well as free bracelets that allow for discounted coffee and Bookstore purchases if shown at the register.

The website URL where information about the vegan dining program is available:
Annual dining services expenditures on food:
5,692,633 US/Canadian $

Annual dining services expenditures on conventionally produced animal products:
982,848 US/Canadian $

Annual dining services expenditures on sustainably produced animal products:
678,087 US/Canadian $

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.