Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.07
Liaison Katie Koscielak
Submission Date May 7, 2020

STARS v2.2

Cal Poly Humboldt
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Ron Rudebock
HSU Dining Services
"---" 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?:

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

Oh SNAP! Student Food Programs is a student-driven initiative, with a mission to increase access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food for all Humboldt State University (HSU) students by engaging in campus and community partnerships and by raising awareness of food insecurity among our peers. Oh SNAP! offers a Farm Stand in the fall from August until mid November. The produce is purchased through a local CSA program at Earthly Edibles Farm and then the produce is distributed to students for free on campus. In the 18-19 FY, the program served 1571 students. Oh SNAP! also offers year round gardening workshops to teach students how to use their Calfresh benefits to grow food as well as educate them about the Farmers Market Calfresh Match Program so that they may access farmers market food on the weekend at the community market.

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:

Our "Green Line" is the outlet on campus that focuses exclusively on menu items that are healthy and sustainable. This would be considered our dining outlet directed to vegan and vegetarian students, working primarily with organic whole ingredients. It features plant base entrees sourced from local ingredients whenever possible.
All of our dining outlets make a point to feature at minimum one vegan entree for every meal service, and each location on campus participates in our partnership with local producers in an attempt to offer dining options that emphasize health and sustainability.

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:

Our primary dining facility on campus reaches out annually to local farmers and growers to establish connections and determine what items will be available locally for the upcoming school year. We work to create new menu items that correspond to the planting schedule of our local producers and purchase from them whenever possible.

We also work closely with local producers for tofu, breads, bottled beverages, chocolates, all of our on campus coffee products, as well as specialty packaged snack items. For more detail on who the local vendors are and what percent of total spend these local products account for, see attached vendor purchase summary, which shows $781,552.09 was paid to local vendors during the Fiscal Year 18-19 for food products (total expenditures for the Dining Services group, including non-food and non-beverage services, totaled $4,126,349.38), or 19% of total spend.

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:

The primary dining facility on campus offers a "Less Meat Monday" where a majority of the items offered are either vegan or vegetarian. There is usually also one fish (locally sourced whenever available) or chicken dish available - Beef and Pork are not offered on Mondays.

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:

Every outlet on campus has at least one vegan option available for each meal period. These items are usually prepared as part of the meal service, otherwise they are available as alternatives to items offered during a specific meal period - for example vegan pancakes would be prepared on request to replace buttermilk pancakes during a breakfast service.

Each outlet also has vegan grab and go items prepared daily for those students who may not have time to wait for a specially prepared item.

All vegan options are listed on the campus dining website, which provides a menu for each meal period for the week, allowing students to plan out their meal plans ahead of time.

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 local produce offered at our outlets is clearly designated as a locally grown item with the name of the farmer or producer listed. All items served in our dining hall have a complete list of ingredients posted on the serving line, with vegan and vegetarian items each assigned a specific color code for easy identification. Our vegan grab and go offerings are stored in a clearly labeled cooler on the dining service floor. Each item has a brief description and ingredients listed posted.

All of our dining locations also have digital display screens that allow us to feature various slides promoting our local business and food production partners, the campus sustainability department, our OZZIE reusable to go box program, promotional material from our PETA Certification and our Green Restaurant Certifications, as well as promoting local seasonal menu items.

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:

The Office of Sustainability supervises two paid student assistants who's job is to advance sustainability efforts in Dining. One primary consistent campaign is a outreach effort called "Weigh the Waste" which is usually hosted for one week in the fall and one week in the Spring. The event intends to make students aware of food waste as a sustainability problem, and asks participants to engage in critical thinking questions such as "Why do you have food waste left on your plate after eating?" and "How do you think Dining Services could minimize food waste at HSU?" In various iterations of the event, participants may be asked if they will volunteer to weigh the food left on their plate at the end of the meal (this weight may be included in a sum tally for all who participated in that meal) or to participate in the above-mentioned questions, or to guess about global and national food waste statistics. The goal of the event is to get students thinking about their role in the food waste phenomenon, to flag that it is a huge issue and that students have a part in it, to tap a broad audience for creative ideas about minimizing food waste across the campus, and to hopefully encourage behavior change thereafter to minimize food waste on campus and out in the world. The program has had some difficulty quantifying overall impact in terms of weight of food waste prevented or diverted because we have not been able to track food waste as a total for any particular period (that is, we have been challenged in collecting pre-consumer food waste metrics). Due to these data collection challenges with back-of-house food waste, this campaign has primarily collected qualitative survey and open-ended interview responses from student participants as the main data source from these events. Results from this data have shown that students would like food servers to ask them how much food they want (rather than automatically serving large spoonfuls directly to plates), that certain menu items are not popular or well received and thereby generate a lot of waste, and that students would like the option to order half sizes at some campus eateries (such as at the Depot). This event has been adapted to mostly target the J Residence Cafeteria, rather than other "grab and go" eateries because students have been most willing to engage in the J setting during dinner time.

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:

HSU Dining Services uses a pay per item / pay per portion system that discourages students from taking more than they would be willing to pay for and consume. Unlike most "all you care to eat" campus meal plans, our itemized purchasing encourages students to limit portions size per visit and return to the dining line multiple time for refills and second helpings.

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:

Dining services works with the campus food pantry, Oh SNAP, to minimize the food that goes to waste from operations. Pre-packaged items nearing expiration and non temp-sensitive food items are made available to housing residents. When food is leftover from a catered event on campus, catering staff contacts Oh SNAP staff coordinator of the campus food security program, with the following info:
-Where is the food
-What kind of food is leftover
-How long will the food be available

The Oh SNAP! staff member then creates a post about the food for Instagram and a post to the HSU app (look up "Humboldt State Mobile" in the App Store). The App sends an alert to subscribed students so that the leftovers may be picked up and eaten. Read about the HSU App at https://its.humboldt.edu/hsu-mobile, or download it in the App store.

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:

HSU collects all compostable material from each dining outlet, and hosts compost bins placed throughout campus to collect both pre- and post-consumer food waste.This material is transported to a large Bio-bin where the food decomposition process is initiated before the bin is transported to a local vermiculture (worm farm) for final processing. The vermiculture vendor is called The Local Worm Guy and final, processed worm castings are sold to local farmers.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

All outlets have designated bins for collecting all compostable items during food preparation. These bins are transported daily to our campus Biobin to begin processing.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

HSU Dining Services collects and processes all compostable items from not only our "behind the counter" food prep operations but also, working with campus sustainability and waste management, from designated compost collection bins across campus to divert as much post-consumer product as possible. The process of sorting post-consumer waste into landfill, recycling and compost bins relies primarily on consumers to sort waste properly. They are educated on proper waste sorting during First Area Meetings in the Residence Halls, and by signage present throughout campus. All outlets have clearly labeled post-consumer bins and promotional signage setup throughout the location to encourage students to sort compostable and recycleable items.

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:

HSU Dining Services uses reusable service ware for all dine in meals at our primary dining facility (The J Cafeteria) as well as makes reusable plates, cups and silverware available to all of our on campus caterings.

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:

HSU works with OZZI to provide a reusable container program for all students and staff members on campus. Soiled containers can be returned to any of our outlets in exchange for a clean OZZI. Dining services provides an initial "OZZI token" to all incoming freshmen, so the program operates at no additional cost to students if they keep and exchange their OZZI token.

Dining also offers only compostable cups, plates and dinner ware whenever OZZI is not an option. There are local concerns about the actual compostability of bioplastic cutlery, and bioplastic lined cups and soup containers so Dining is investigating alternatives that would appropriate for our worm vendor.

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:

HSU's Mason Jar Program encourages students to purchase a mason jar at the beginning of the year at a discounted rate. All refills in a reusable mason jar, or any personal beverage container receive a discount at all of our campus locations.

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

We offer a variety of culturally diverse meal options, with international and regional offerings feature throughout our dining menu cycle.

We have eliminated plastic single use water bottles completely from our campus, and the beverages coolers at our primary dining location are 100% plastic free. Each student who attends HSU receives a stainless steel water container in their welcome package that can be refilled at various hydration stations across campus.

We save and return reusable packaging from all of our local vendors to minimize waste and cost for our smaller producers, and often consolidate multiple orders from local growers into one delivery to minimize the impact of transport.

We invited renowned chef Wanda White to share her plant-based recipes with campus, and have yearly trainings with Culinary experts from PETA to continue growing our vegan offerings.

Dining Services recently purchased an energy efficient MEIKO M-iQ Conveyor Dishwasher for our primary dining outlet, with an estimated savings of 278,014 gallons of water, and significant reductions in energy usage, annually.

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

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.