Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.33
Liaison Greg Lischke
Submission Date Nov. 25, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Ithaca College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Rebecca Evans
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Energy Management and Sustainability
"---" 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:

Our FY 2019 dining provider's "The Better Tomorrow Plan" details a partnership between them, their clients, suppliers, and customers to make incremental changes on a scale that can make a real difference in solving global challenges.

These four areas are the main focus of our Better Tomorrow Commitments, many of which overlap into more than just one of these areas.
1. Develop our People and Promote Diversity
2. Nutrition, Health, and Wellness
3. Local Communities
4. Environment


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:

Terrace Dining Hall is home to our Hydroponic Herb Garden, which supplies a variety of fresh herbs to our chefs through the year, but primarily produces basil. The garden is run by a student research team headed by Paula Turkon of the Environmental Studies and Science department. The team is made up of ten students from varying majors who work together to design, plant, and maintain the garden, which is then periodically harvested by our Terrace Dining Hall chefs. The Hydroponic Garden serves as an interdisciplinary way to educate students and staff about environmental issues and sustainable food systems.


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:

Ithaca College hosts a pick-up location on campus for a local CSA. Once a week, Plow Break Farm, which is owned by IC alumni, provides fresh, local produce for pick-up by both IC subscribers and the larger community.


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:

There is a designated vegan station at the Campus Center Dining Hall, as well as vegan desserts, milk, cream cheese, and butter alternatives. There are also vegan options available in our other two dining halls for every meal. If a student does not have a meal plan, our retails locations also have vegan options for dine-in and take-out.

We have also started serving both the Impossible and Beyond burgers at our dining locations to create more options for vegans/vegetarians and to encourage students to consider a plant-based diet or meat alternatives. IC also has a "grain bowl" bar available both in the dining hall and as a stand-alone retail location.


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:

Dining Services hosts multiple sustainability-themed events each academic year. In 2018, we hosted an event called, "Reimagine the Harvest Table", which took classic holiday dishes and "reimagined" them as vegan or vegetarian alternatives. For example, we had a carving station for cauliflower steaks, vegan apple pie, and vegetarian pot pies.

We also hosted "Mindful Mondays".

Dining Services also hosts multiple events during Earth Week, and various other events throughout the year.


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:

In 2018 we hosted "Reimagine the Harvest", where we served plant-based alternatives to classic holiday dishes. Afterward, every attendee received a cookbook that included all the recipes that were used, in addition to information about carbon and water footprints of food and eating seasonally.


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:

We offer a vegan station in our Campus Center dining hall (the largest), which frequently features information about sustainability and the impact of animal farming.


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:

Dining interns are responsible for creating signage about the benefits of plant-based diets, the environmental implications of eating animal products, food waste, and composting.

Various classes and other student employees also occasionally experiment with different communications styles while advocating for plant-based diets.


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:

Dining Services employs three students as interns responsible for education and outreach regarding sustainability. There is also a staff Sustainability Coordinator responsible for developing and leading campus-wide sustainability programs related to dining services. Dining Sustainability Interns maintain a presence on social media and maintain a Sustainability Blog among other outreach efforts and events.


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:

Mindful Offerings meet stringent nutritional criteria based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Each meal part is limited in calories, has fewer than 30% of calories as fat, fewer than 10 % of calories as saturated fat, and is restricted in sodium, and cholesterol. Chefs in our test kitchen develop recipes to meet these criteria in delicious fashion! Look for the Mindful icon to indulge in the healthy and delicious items offered at each meal.

Dining Services also offers a "world's Fare" station, where cuisine from different countries around the world are prepared and served for students in the dining hall.


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:

LeanPath is an innovative tool that our dining services team uses to monitor and help reduce food waste. Since the system’s implementation in 2011, we have diverted over 180 tons of pre-consumer waste. This is approximately an 85% decrease from our baseline recorded before we began using the system. In summer 2018, IC Dining Services implemented LEanPath technology in all dining facilities on campus


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:

All dining halls are tray free, reducing post-consumer waste. Dishes in the dining halls are always pre-plated or served by a Dining Services staff member, which prevents students from over-serving themselves.


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:

Our food salvage program is coordinated by the student organization IC Environmentalists and packages between 40 and 76 meals each week to feed the hungry in our area. Packaged meals are sent to Ithaca Rescue Mission, a local organization who has been assisting people in need since 2013. These contributions add to our 800+ pounds of food donated annually.

https://ithaca.sodexomyway.com/planet/waste_reduction.html


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:

Waste oil from Dining is collected for conversion to bio-fuel under a contract administered by the Ithaca College Environmental Health and Safety Division with a local vendor.


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:

Both pre- and post-consumer collection. The College has been a pioneer in food scrap composting since 1993, operating and on-site composting facility until 2007 when the switch was made to an off-campus food scrap composting contractor. All of our dining halls and retail food locations are equipped with compost receptacles to minimize the amount of organic waste in our waste stream. All compost is then sent to Cayuga Compost, a local commercial compost facility.


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:

Both pre- and post-consumer collection. The College has been a pioneer in food scrap composting since 1993, operating and on-site composting facility until 2007 when the switch was made to an off-campus food scrap composting contractor. All of our dining halls are equipped with compost receptacles to minimize the amount of organic waste in our waste stream. All compost is then sent to Cayuga Compost, a local commercial compost facility.


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:

Reusable service ware is used in all residential dining halls and is the default for all Catering events in the College’s Campus Center facility. Dining Services partners with Challenge Workforce Solutions, a nonprofit, vocational services organization that offers opportunities and support services to individuals who face barriers to employment, to staff dish rooms in the dining halls.


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:

Dining Services offers a grab-and-go system where students are able to borrow reusable clamshell containers to take dining hall food to-go. Students then return the used clamshell to the dining halls to be washed by Dining staff.

“Rapid Refill” continued in 2018. Guests may purchase a reusable cup which contains a chip to identify the user at the dispensing machine and acts much like a debit card. The user can add refills via Dining Services website


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:

Dining offers a discount at coffee locations if customers bring their own mug and/or cup. Originally, the discount started at $0.15 per beverage, but in 2018, was increased to $0.25 per beverage to further encourage reusables.

In 2018, OEMS also began a partnership with Fill It Foward, an initiative to eliminate disposable water bottle use on campus. Every time a reusable water bottle is used, students scan a UPC tag, earning 10 points. When they reach 100 points, they are eligible to redeem them for a free brewed coffee, but only if it is served in a reusable cup or mug.


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:

Our SMART Tool (Sustainability Management and Reporting Tool), is another one of our cutting edge resources that helps make Ithaca Dining Services more sustainable. The tool allows us to monitor our resource use across all sectors in order to help us identify areas that can be improved. The tool tracks our progress in four categories: carbon, water, waste and healthy and sustainable food and environments.


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

Information was provided by Dining Services staff.
It should also be noted that in June 2019, Ithaca College brought all dining services responsibilities in-house. Because of this, some data is no longer available, as it was proprietary to our previous dining contractor.

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.