Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.20
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date March 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

George Washington University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 2.00 Kehan DeSousa
Sustainable Project Facilitator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

The GroW Community, a student organization that manages the GroW Garden and cultivates dialogue on campus about food, facilitates Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares for students. The CSAs are distributed through Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, a non-profit farmer’s cooperative based out of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Shares are delivered for pick-up weekly. Students participating in the CSA share program can use their credit, debit, or university dining dollars to support sustainable consumption.

Since Fall 2013, the GroW Garden has been collaborating monthly with the neighborhood FRESHFARM Farmers' Market to promote the garden and the benefits of urban gardening at the market. At Farmers' Markets in Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle, students can pay with their dining dollars. Students can also use dining dollars to purchase tokens that are accepted by eight other Farmers' Market locations across the city. The FRESHFARM Foggy Bottom Market is conveniently located right on campus. Students, staff, and faculty can take a break from work or make a stop on the way home to talk with farmers and select from the best of the region's lush bounty of offerings. This market offers conventional and certified organic fruits and vegetables, pastured eggs, organic and grass-fed meats, small batch charcuterie, farmstead goat cheeses and yogurt, sweet and savory baked goods, ice cream, cold-pressed juices, hand-made pasta and sauces, jams and jellies, crab cakes, empanadas, soups, flatbreads, paella, and more.

In December 2017, the GW Student Association announced a pilot program partnering with Hungry Harvest, an organization that takes leftover or unwanted produce that couldn’t be shelved at a supermarket, and sells it for a discounted price. The goal of this program is to help address food insecurity within the GW student body on campus.


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:

GW students can use their dining dollars at a variety of sustainable providers on campus including Whole Foods, Beefsteak, and Sweetgreen, to name a few.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:

In 2019, GW partnered with Twenty Tables, a local start up that provides affordable meals from food trucks and local restaurants to our students and community. Every ticket, purchased through their app in packs of 5, gets you a lunch from any participating restaurant or food truck served at the fixed, affordable price: $6. You can also divide tickets to create 1/4 ticket ‘stubs’, and access even a greater selection of meals!

And for every meal served, they donate one to the hungry and food insecure via local charities and food banks.


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events or promote plant-forward options?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:

SAGE Dining provides vegetarian/vegan meals as well as publicizing some locally-sourced dining items. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available through GW's retail dining program through a variety of providers, including the primarily vegetarian, low-impact restaurant Beefsteak. Additionally, many events on campus implement low-impact dining practices as part of the meals provided during the events. For example: the annual Diversity Summit served vegan/vegetarian food from a local, sustainability-focused caterer. In addition to giving the caterer an opportunity during lunch to speak to the audience regarding the importance of sustainable food, there was also signage that displayed the connection between animal products and climate change, and reusable silverware was given out as the Summit giveaway. Additionally, a flagship Student Experience event, Midnight Breakfast, served primarily low-impact, plant-forward options, with minimal meat options. Lastly, faculty and staff have been moving towards increasingly low-impact meal including at the weekly Sustainable Faculty Lunch, hosted by Sustainable GW, which serves a majority of vegan and vegetarian meals.


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:

GW dining partners provide variety for students who keep a vegan diet. Additionally, there is a vegetarian dining social media account that helps promote vegan friendly dining partners and to guide students through the options. A Dining Rep manages a social media account and also hosts monthly events on vegetarianism.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labelling and signage in dining halls:

SAGE Dining publicizes some locally-sourced dining items. At some events with low-impact caterers, signage displays the connection between animal products and climate change.


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:

GW provides pre-consumer compost at Mount Vernon's Pelham Commons, the dining hall for freshmen. All food vendor establishments at District House participate in GW's food and coffee waste diversion programs. GW also began a food and coffee waste diversion program at two Starbucks locations on campus, and Carvings and Tonic Restaurants, all of which are a part of the GW dining dollars program.


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:

No trays are used at Pelham Commons (the dining hall on campus) or at the two main dining locations on campus with retail vendors at District House or Shenkman Hall.


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:

Student members and other volunteers for the GW Chapter of the Food Recovery Network (FRN) collect prepared food donations from events and venues across campus. Additionally, uneaten prepared foods from campus events can be donated to the Store that provides food to hungry students anonymously.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:
No

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:
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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:

Pelham Commons, the dining hall, participates in a back-of-house food waste diversion program. All food waste generated by kitchen staff are collected and composted at Maryland Environmental Service.


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:

GW composts at designated events, usually in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability. These include large catered events and sporting concessions.

A food waste drop-off program was launched in Spring of 2018 for post-consumer composting by two GW Students. The goal of the program is to contribute compost from students to GW's existing infrastructure to deliver compost to Prince George's County Organics Compost Facility. The program is a weekly collection in Kogan Plaza where volunteers help sort through compost for contamination. As of the Spring 2019 semester, the composting program has diverted an astonishing 400 pounds of food waste each week from traditional landfills.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
No

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:
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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 primary dining services contractor for Mount Vernon Campus provides third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals


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?:
No

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

N/A


A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:

GW offers an open dining program, allowing students to enjoy more than 100 dining partners across the Foggy Bottom, DC area. There are Dining Reps who provide resources for students who have specific dining needs, including Sustainability, Vegan, Kosher, Halal, and Gluten Free, as well as for students who live on the Mount Vernon campus and are interested in guidance for making dining choices in that location. GW also offers many heart-healthy initiatives, cultural highlights, and individualized cultural pop-up eating experiences.


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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