Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date July 25, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Emory University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Taylor Spicer
Programs Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" 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:

Emory University’s Sustainable Food Committee drafted and adopted the Sustainability Guidelines for Food Purchasing in fall 2007, and provide clear goals and implementation steps for 10 categories of food. They have been revised and updated multiple times as new research is produced. The guidelines are attached below.


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 Oxford College Organic Farm is located at Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, GA. While the majority of the produce is purchased for use at Oxford College, Emory’s Atlanta campus purchases surplus produce when available (typically on a biweekly basis during harvest seasons). Commonly purchased crops include kale, mustard greens, carrots, turnips, and radishes in the spring and late fall and tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic and herbs during the summer months. During FY 2016, Emory Dining purchased 2,835 pounds of produce for use at the Atlanta campus.

The Emory University Hospital maintains a small ¼ acre garden that supplies cherry tomatoes and some greens during the growing season. These are used to support patient meals. Muscadine grapes are also grown on the hospital campus and provided as an option for patient and staff meals.


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:

The Emory Farmers Market was started in 2008 by the Sustainable Food Committee and continues to be a weekly tradition on Emory’s campus. Every Tuesday during the school year and monthly over the summer, up to 25 farmers and producers sell seasonal produce, honey, eggs, diverse ready-to-eat options, artisanal breads and other baked goods, and fair trade and locally roasted coffees. Customers of the market include students, faculty, university and healthcare staff, and hospital visitors. Market programming includes efforts to reduce plastic and other waste, to educate about seasonality, to demonstrate healthier cooking options, and to highlight global slow food traditions.

The Oxford College Organic Farm hosts a three season CSA program for students, staff, and faculty at Oxford College and Emory’s Atlanta campus. Participants can choose to buy a share for the entire season (April-November) or individual seasons: spring (April-June), summer (June-August), and fall (October-November). CSA boxes are available each week for pick up on campus, and CSA boxes are returned and reused from week to week. The CSA has 30-50 participants each season.

The Educational Garden Project offers students, faculty, and the Emory community an opportunity to engage in local, sustainable food production. Through education, awareness, and meaningful work, the educational gardens offer opportunities to grow local, seasonal, diverse, and healthy food. Six food gardens, one medicinal herb garden and one garden that provides plants that enrich primate diets are scattered across campus. All gardens are run by volunteers with the guidance of a part-time Educational Gardens Coordinator and a Gardens Intern. The Coordinator and Intern lead garden workshops, tours, and general campus outreach and education.


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:

Every café has menu options that include vegan protein sources at every meal. Guests can also make standard non-vegan menu items vegan on request. In October 2016, Emory University earned an A+ Vegan Report Card rating from Peta2 and is a member of the Peta2 Dean’s list—meaning it has earned enough points to rank at the top of the A-rated schools.

Dobbs Market, the residential dining facility, has a vegan dining station that offers vegan protein sources at every meal. Options include tofu, tempeh, seitan, a variety of beans and legumes, and whole grains including quinoa. Other Emory Dining cafes offer vegan options, including house-made bean burgers, hummus vegetable wraps, scrambled tofu, and build-your-own pasta or stir-fries with vegan sauces and tofu.

In the hospitals, vegan meals are available for patients; vegan entrees and sides are designated with a special symbol on the posted a la carte menu for retail foodservices.


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:

Through signage, menu specials, and interactive information tables guests learn how to make low-carbon diet choices, reduce waste, and the importance of eating local. In April 2016, Emory hosted Earth Day celebrations in two of its main cafes to raise awareness about the impacts of our diets on the planet.

In addition during Fall 2016, Emory Dining developed an educational campaign titled, “Eat the Seasons” to help students, staff, and faculty identify produce that is in season according to Georgia’s own growing seasons. Using a series of stickers (winter, spring, summer, fall) that adhere to menus and signage around the café, guests can easily identify items that are in season. The goal is to help educate students why certain items are plentiful at certain times of the year and less so at others (for example, why fresh blueberries are absent in January), and promote the demand and consumption of more seasonal foods.

In the hospitals, Eat the Seasons signage and messaging is rolling out in Summer 2017 to indicate to patients, visitors and hospital staff when seasonal foods are on the menu and why eating seasonally is beneficial. Additionally, one meatless entree is available at lunch and dinner daily in the retail food service operations.


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:

Emory hosts an annual Eat Local Challenge event in September to celebrate and raise awareness of our local food system. Guests enjoy a meal prepared entirely of ingredients sourced within Emory’s 8-state southeast region (salt is the only exception!). Through signage and menus specials, guests learn about the story behind their food, and why eating local is a critical part of a sustainable diet.

In addition to the Eat Local Challenge, in fall 2016 Emory Dining hosted Thanksgiving meals featuring local, humanely raised turkeys from White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, GA in multiple cafes across campus—including the main undergraduate dining hall. This event promotes the consumption of local poultry raised on pasture with diets supplemented by non-GMO grain that does not contain soy.

The Emory University Hospital participates in Pastured Poultry Week and offers pasture raised turkey to patients on Thanksgiving. Other local, seasonal produce, such as peaches, apples and lettuce, in addition to grass-fed beef and grits, are promoted as well.


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 Green Bean is committed to nurturing the community and environment while maintaining a practical and profitable business. Student employees are involved in the evolution of business practices and provide a fuel of creativity. The Green Bean aims to be a long-lasting and community-friendly campus resource, both for great tasting coffee and tea and sustainability education. The Green Bean sells coffee from Cafe Campesino, a fair trade and organic coffee roaster in Americus, Georgia, in addition to fair trade and organic tea, hot cocoa, and pastries. The Green Bean is located inside Cox Hall.

Kaldi's Coffee became the main coffee shop on campus in Fall 2015 and now has two locations. According to their mission, "Kaldi’s Coffee is dedicated to creating a memorable coffee experience for our customers and guests, committing to sustainable business practices, providing educational opportunities, and supporting the communities that we serve. It is our mission to exceed competition and continue company growth by executing the above fundamentals. Kaldi’s Coffee will strive to develop team members, build our brand, and promote our products." On Emory's campus, all of Kaldi's coffees and teas are fair trade certified and roasted locally when possible. Educational signage about fair trade principles is on the wall in their coffee shops to educate customers.


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:

Emory has a comprehensive labelling system to help guests find a meal that best suits their dietary needs and provides information regarding sustainability as well. Specific icons are placed next to each menu item to designate items that are vegan, vegetarian, halal, kosher, made without gluten containing ingredients, contain humane animal proteins, contain sustainable seafood, and/or contain ingredients produced locally (within an 8 state region). Farm and source names are included in menus wherever possible. In spring 2017, Emory will also add an icon to designate fruits and vegetables that are in season in the geographical region. Throughout the year, cafes promote specific local farmers and vendors through signage and biographies.


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:

Through both guest lectures and hands-on demos, Emory Dining participated in a variety of courses related to sustainable food systems including: Textbook to Table, Eating Ethics, and Nutrition Myth Busters. Textbook to Table is an especially unique collaboration between faculty and staff in the Department of Human Health, Emory Dining, and Emory Health Services. In this full-credit course, students have the opportunity to apply their nutrition knowledge in hands-on cooking lessons centered around topics such as healthy fats, phytonutrients, and whole grains. Information about sustainable choices is infused throughout.

In addition to class participation, Emory Dining participates in regular programming that highlights topics important to both wellness and sustainability. Activities include monthly Wellbeing Wellness events focused on topics such as plant-based proteins and including collaborative demonstrations with Emory’s undergraduate Healthy Eating Partners—a group of students which educates peers about healthy choices.

In the Fall, students in a 1-credit anthropology course put on an annual Sustainable Food Fair in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability Initiatives and Emory Dining. Prior to the Fair, all enrolled students learn about the principles of, challenges to realizing and current successes of a healthy food system. Then, through the lively midday event, featuring music and roughly 40 stands of locally-grown, fresh food, chefs offering delectable samples, stores featuring sustainably grown foods and other products, and nonprofits in the sustainable food movement, the students become the educators. They host educational tables and activities that educate the community about local and sustainable food systems.

In the hospitals, one member of the department management team provides a class on sustainable foods to the Atlanta area dietetic internship programs annually. In addition, the hospitals have incorporated a sustainable foods project into the foodservice rotation for each Emory Hospitals dietetic intern. The executive chef for the facility is completing his 4 year degree in food studies with an emphasis on sustainability and nutrition.


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:

Emory Dining is a committed partner in the Healthy Emory initiative, an enterprise-wide program with a vision to “[use] its expertise in research, health care, and higher education to engage, inspire, and support each individual to live healthy and flourish.” Emory Dining collaborated with university stakeholders to devise the Better Choice labelling program, which highlights entrees and sides that adhere to specific dietary guidelines. In the future, Emory Dining plans to expand the program to pre-packaged foods such as salads and sandwiches. Emory Dining also partners with fellow Healthy Emory stakeholders from across the enterprise to hold regular cooking demos at the Emory Farmers’ Market.


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:

As of November 2015, Bon Appetit requires its cafes to conduct an annual 2-month-long program to track both pre-consumer waste produced in the kitchens and post-consumer waste produced by guests in the cafés. Emory University requires that all Emory Dining halls and outlets have pre- and post-consumer waste programs that have bins for co-mingled recycling streams and composting. No landfill bins are used.

In the Emory University Hospital, there is a pre-consumer composting program in place. Leftovers are tracked daily in an effort to better gauge future production needs.


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:

Emory’s undergraduate all-you-care-to-eat location, Dobbs Market, has a tiered dining area, which in order to comply with ADA regulations cannot be made trayless. However, it does have a variety of plate and bowl sizes available for use. Two stations feature tapas-style offerings with smaller portions. The salad bar includes a variety of choices including small bowls and full-size plates. At another group of stations, students can request just a portion of the meal (e.g. a side) and receive a smaller plate.

In Cox Hall, which is a dining venue with multiple vendors from which customers can purchase food, trays are not available.


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:

Emory Dining partners with Campus Kitchens, a student-run organization which collects food that would otherwise go to waste, and donates it to people in need in the community. The program launched Spring 2014. Campus Kitchens of Emory is a branch of the national organization, The Campus Kitchens Project. In FY2016, Emory Dining donated over 1,700 pounds of food to Campus Kitchens that would otherwise have gone to waste. Campus Kitchens picked up this food twice a week from Dobbs Market, Cox Hall, and catering throughout the school year.


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:

Used fryer oil is collected from all dining facilities by Southern Green Industries (SGI). SGI filters the oil and sends it to an additional processor for conversion to bio-diesel. Then Emory University purchases this biodiesel for use throughout its campus shuttle system, the Cliff Shuttles.


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:

Emory partners with Southern Green Industries (SGI) to coordinate a comprehensive composting program for Emory's campus. Pre-consumer food waste is collected in Emory's Dining Service facilities and deposited into 32 gallon bins that are serviced by SGI. SGI transports the material to an interim sorting facility in Atlanta, and then delivers it to the Laurens County Composting Facility where the material is processed into compost. The compost produced at the Laurens County facility is then purchased by the Emory Grounds Department and used for semi-annual planting beds, capital projects, and to amend existing landscape beds including the Educational Gardens on campus. Food, fiber, and compostable services residuals that can be composted in either pre-consumer or post-consumer composting streams include:

*meat, poultry, fish
*shellfish and bones
*eggs and dairy products
*table scraps and scrapings
*fruits and vegetables
*bread, dough, pasta and grains
*coffee grounds, filters & tea bags
*paper towels, napkins and plates
*paper take-out containers
*pizza boxes
*paper cups
*waxed cardboard and paper
*products made from bagasse (sugarcane fibers)


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:

Emory has partnered with Southern Green Industries (SGI), the leading organic recycling company servicing the Southeast, to establish a comprehensive composting program for Emory's campus. Post-consumer food waste is deposited into dedicated composting bins or scraped off plates and collected by Emory's Dining Services, Building and Residential Services (BRS), and Emory Recycle’s staff. The materials are deposited into 95 gallon bins that are collected and sent to Southern Green Industries (SGI) for sorting. SGI transports the material to the Laurens County Facility where the material is processed into compost. The compost produced at the Wilbros facility is then purchased by the Emory Grounds Department and used for semi-annual planting beds, capital projects, and to amend existing landscape beds including the Educational Gardens on campus. Post-consumer composting is taking place in the DUC Residence Dining Hall, Cox Hall, Fraternity Row dining facilities, Cox Computing Lab, Rollins School of Public Health, Health Sciences Research Building (HSRB), Administration Building, 1599 Clifton Rd, 1762 Clifton Road, Claudia Nance Rollins, The Depot, Law School, Goizueta Business School, Miller-Ward Alumni House, Student Athletics and Activities Center (SAAC), School Of Medicine, School of Theology, Woodruff Residential Hall, Woodruff Library, and outside around the main Quad and Cox Hall Bridge, a major thoroughfare. Animal bedding is being collected in the Division of Animal Resources locations at the Emory Clinic B, Whitehead Biomedical Research, and HSRB.
Food, fiber, and compostable services residuals that can be composted in either pre-consumer or post-consumer composting streams include:
*meat, poultry, fish
*shellfish and bones
*eggs and dairy products
*table scraps and scrapings
*fruits and vegetables
*bread, dough, pasta and grains
*coffee grounds, filters & tea bags
*paper towels, napkins and plates
*paper take-out containers
*pizza boxes
*paper cups
*waxed cardboard and paper
*products made from bagasse (sugarcane fibers)
*PLA products (corn-based)
*Animal bedding (corn and cotton based)


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:

All service ware in the main residential undergraduate dining hall, the Dobbs University Center (DUC), is reusable, with exception of the kosher meal program. Dine-in customers in the food court dining venue, Cox Hall, can request reusable service ware instead of compostable.


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:

All service ware in the main residential undergraduate dining hall, the Dobbs University Center (DUC), is reusable, with exception of the kosher meal program. To-go items are not available in this location, so there are not compostable containers available.

All to-go materials in the food court dining venue, Cox Hall, are compostable or recyclable. The to-go utensils, bowls, cups and clam shells are all compostable. Sushi is served in recyclable plastic containers. Compost and recycling bins are available to customers inside and immediately outside the facility. There are not any landfill bins inside or outside of this dining venue, only recycling and composting bins, which are accompanied by color-coded visuals that show which materials go in each bin.


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 all campus dining coffee locations, customers who bring their own reusable containers are given a $.15 discount.


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:

Emory Dining works with three of its local vendors to deliver product in reusable crates instead of waxed cardboard boxes, and plans to expand this practice in the future.

Additionally, in Fall 2015, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives began working directly with the 25 Farmers Market vendors to reduce the amount of plastic wrapping and shopping materials given out with their products. The vendors underwent an orientation to understand how to compost and recycle on campus, and then met with Market staff to walk through disposal of their production materials. The vendors were provided reusable bags to give to paying customers to reduce the demand for disposable shopping bags. Additionally, messages about waste reduction and diversion were placed at each vendor table and sent out consistently through Market communication channels.


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

Data reported for 2015, 2016, and 2017 fiscal years.

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.