|Submission Date||March 5, 2021|
OP-8: Sustainable Dining
|2.00 / 2.00||
Center for Sustainability Education
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?:
A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:
Staff of the Dickinson College Farm serve on the board for the local Farmer's on the Square farmer's market, and we have since it's founding. When needed, Dickinson has offered campus space for the winter market which enables our regional farmers and vendors to be able to operate local sales year round. Dickinson Farm is a weekly vendor at the local market.
Additionally, the Dickinson College Farm has a 137 family "Campus Supported Agriculture (CSA)" program offering direct produce, meat and eggs to our faculty and staff. Targeting the campus for this program allows our farm to not compete with other CSA's in the community.
Another way Dickinson support our local market is with LOCALTUNITY, an initiative for all students, faculty & staff aimed to build community, support the local economy, and buy and eat healthy local food together.
This community opportunity allows Dickinson employees and/or students to shop at the Farmers on the Square (FOTS) market together for fresh foods grown by local farmers and receive one $5 token per person to use at the market. Groups of Dickinsonians can double the fun of LOCALTUNITY by additionally agreeing to cook a meal together with their Farmers on the Square purchases.
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?:
A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
Dickinson hosts our distinctive "HUB Farm Stand" where a wide variety of certified organic produce and eggs are available for sale on campus. The stand accepts student meal plan declining balance and cash to make purchases easy for students. The stand operates year round.
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?:
A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events or promote plant-forward options?:
A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:
Dickinson Dining has restructured menu and line organization to put plant-forward choices first. The vegan and plant-based options are listed first on the menu, serving line signage and are physically placed as the first option that people see when moving through the line. We have vegan options at every meal. In 2019, Dickinson sponsored a behavior-centered design challenge where student teams worked to identify simple psychological barriers and solutions to eating more plant-based foods. The serving and signage placement was an easy and simple solution that has worked for us and is still in practice.
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?:
A brief description of the vegan dining program:
Dickinson has offered vegetarian options at lunch and dinner for nearly two decades. Vegan options are available in the main line of the Dining Hall at every meal. Other snack bars and dining facilities also have complete-protein vegan options at every meal.
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?:
A brief description of the sustainability labelling and signage in dining halls:
All items in all campus dining locations are labeled with allergens or if they come from the local sources. The labels are consistent throughout all venues and are easily recognizable by all students. Campus dining services does have signage in the main dining hall about our college farm, the composting process, food waste reduction, sustainable practices related to food service and consistent sources of local food. Signage is available to highlight sustainability practices surrounding EcoTainers (reusable to-go containers), our reusable mug discount, our compost program and the reduction of single use plastics.
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?:
A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:
Dickinson does not compete in competition, but has internal goals and commitments to reduce food waste. We track daily composting totals and target the collection of 100% pre and post consumer food waste in our main dining hall. This is tracked by meal. Data of leftover food, and actual post-consumer food waste totals are tracked using Foodservice Suite by CBORD so that we can improve food management practices.
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?:
A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:
The Dickinson Dining Hall permanently eliminated trays in Fall 2009. Menu selections, particularly in the snack areas, have also been modified to reduce post-consumer food waste. The College purchased a complex dining software program to track and improve menu and portion control to reduce pre- and post-consumer food waste, and has seen efficiency and improvements in procurement, menu planning and implementation.
Additionally, our Pick Your Portion initiative gives students more control over their servings by allowing them to choose either a taste, half, full, or double portion of a dish. This also reduces food waste as students feel less pressure to take full servings of a dish they want to try.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
A brief description of the food donation program:
Dickinson Dining Services donates leftover food to the local Salvation Army kitchen on an as-available/present basis during the year. Additionally, they donate bulk perishable items to Project SHARE (Local community food bank) and to Safe Harbor (local Homeless Shelter) at the end of academic periods when the kitchen will be closed. Donations include dairy items and fresh produce. These items are tracked and managed within Dining Services.
This program suffered some limitations during 2020 due to COVID-19, but all will be reinstated when it is safe to do so.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:
A brief description of the food materials diversion program:
All waste cooking oil is taken by RTI (Restaurant Technologies) and converted to biodiesel. All food waste items are pulped and sent to the Dickinson College Organic Farm for compost. All recyclables are separated and sent through our recycler, Penn Waste.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
Dickinson Dining Service composts 100% of pre-consumer food waste in all dining locations. The waste is sent through a pulper, and placed in sealed buckets. All compost is managed internally within Dickinson and sent to our own Dickinson College Organic Farm.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
Dickinson Dining Service composts 100% of post-consumer food waste (and napkins) in our main campus Dining Hall. All food waste and paper products are prepared for composting with a Hobart WastePro 1200 pulper, which grinds these items into composting-ready material by extracting water and reducing waste volume. The extracted water is then recycled within the pulper system, reducing water usage for the machine. All compost is managed internally within Dickinson and sent to our own Dickinson College Organic Farm in sealed buckets daily.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
A brief description of the reusable service ware program:
All campus dining locations offer and encourage reusable service ware. The main campus Dining Hall only offers reusable service ware, disposables are not available.
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)?:
A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:
Dickinson hosts our own EcoTainer program. EcoTainers are inexpensive, reusable alternatives for takeout containers in retail locations. Dining Services is proud to offer EcoTainers to the campus community as an effort to reduce waste and energy consumption. These containers, supplied by G.E.T. Enterprises, Inc., are made from polypropylene and are exchanged, washed and sanitized, and redistributed by Dining Services for repeated use by students, faculty and staff.
EcoTainers can be used at all of our dining facilities on campus. While disposable/compostable containers will still be available in retail locations, EcoTainers are required in Grab & Go for entree, soup and salad options. EcoTainers are available for a one time small fee ($6) and are able to exchanged for the users tenure at Dickinson. Users do not need to renew each year.
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?:
A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:
All to-go campus dining locations offer a discount for use of a reusable mug for hot and cold beverages. This offer is available to students, faculty and staff. Over the years, many variations of reusable mugs and bottles have been given out to incoming students to encourage participation in this program.
A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:
Dickinson's Human Resources program has a health and wellness program that includes food-related and nutrition programing. Nutrition counseling is available for all Dickinson College faculty and staff members. Nutrition Roundtable discussion groups are provided by a registered dietitian (RD) to discuss selected topics and to help answer your nutrition questions to assist employees in reaching their health goals. Educational programs are also available for that work to help maintain a healthy, balanced eating pattern to meet your nutrition needs, making healthful dietary selections on and off campus and setting realistic nutrition goals and strategies for achieving them. Sustainability plays into the curriculum of all of these programs.
Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Dickinson’s Dining Hall, an all-you-care-to-eat cafeteria-style facility that serves the campus community, including 2,400 students, has been named a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). The distinction recognizes Dickinson’s commitment to sustainable operations and food sourcing.
Dining Services works to be an industry trend-setter in environmental sustainability. Our continual process enhancements including local purchasing, fair trade purchasing, waste reduction, composting program, and lowered energy consumption align with Dickinson's overall sustainable message.
Dickinson has five retail eateries on campus, catering services and a main Dining Hall, which offers 20 stations, a 30-item salad bar, deli bar, two made-from-scratch soup offerings and three separate entrées for lunch and dinner. Vegetarian, vegan, organic non-GMO cereal, gluten-free and kosher entrees also are available.
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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.