Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.92
Liaison Christie-Joy Hartman
Submission Date Dec. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

James Madison University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Amanda Presgraves
Sustainability Coordinator
JMU Dining
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:
JMU Dining Services, which is run by Aramark, strives to become more sustainable and efficient in their everyday operations and follows Aramark's Green Thread Policy which is posted at https://jmu.campusdish.com/Sustainability. We work to reduce our environmental footprint while delivering exceptional service results. We also offer expertise and practical solutions to our campus partners to help them reduce their environmental impacts. Our goals are to develop and implement long-term environmental stewardship programs and policies within the areas of sustainable food; responsible procurement; green buildings; energy and water conservation; transportation; and waste stream management. These programs and policies are called Green Thread as they weave throughout our business operations every day.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:
Students grew basil in Madison Garden that was used on the Fall 2017 menu for the pesto on our local Limited Time Offer Banh Mi sandwich. Madison Garden is a student project out of our university collaboration with the Fueled Food Truck and an academic course, the JMU Fueled Project. Students were growing herbs at the time of submission.

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?:

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:
Fall Farmers Markets are organized and hosted by Dining Services; students are allowed to use dining dollars and flex in addition to cash and credit. Our Sustainability team works with local vendors to encourage awareness of our local farming and business community as well as education and promotion of these businesses.

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:
Residential dining offers meatless chicken, meatless beefy crumbles, and vegan garden burgers for lunch and dinner daily. Both Ehall and Dhub residential locations offer rotation vegan entrees that incorporate tofu, meatless chicken, meatless beefy crumbles and hummus as the complete-protein as well as a station dedicated entirely to vegan entrees and deserts. Food courts have meatless chicken and hummus available at delis. Our grab and go program offers vegan options that change every two weeks to offer variety. Students wanting to learn more about vegan options on campus can meet with our Registered Dietitian to find diverse, complete-protein vegan options or utilize our Vegan/ Vegetarian dining guide. The guide highlights all of the vegan and vegetarian options at each location.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:

A brief description of the low impact dining events:
JMU Dining is committed to reducing its carbon footprint through the the promotion of low impact dining events. The production of meats and animal by-products are responsible for higher carbon, greater water usage, and more greenhouse gas emissions than fruits and vegetables. Dining Services emphasizes change in the dining halls and retail locations by increasing vegetarian/vegan options and promoting a healthy lifestyle. In the past we had done so through Meatless Monday, however in 2017 we transitioned to promoting low-impact options every day - not only on Mondays. Additionally we would have two events a month dedicated to promotion and education of the carbon footprint benefits of plants over meat.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:
Throughout both the fall and spring semesters, JMU Dining Services hosts multiple sustainability-themed meals and Farm-to-Fork dinners. Examples of the sustainability focused meals include but are not limited to: Local Food Truck LTO features (from our garden and community farms), local vendor tabling events, Meatless Mondays, Sustainable Seafood meals (sourced from MSC), and meals highlighting local farmers in the region. The Farm-to-Fork themed meals source many local products, with local vendors brought in to promote their specific product to the students.

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:
JMU Dining Services has a retail dining location on campus that sources locally whenever possible. The location, Bistro 1908, sources local, 100% grass-fed beef all year round and local products, when seasonally available from a local food distributor called the Local Food Hub. Bistro 1908 offers vegan and vegetarian burgers sourced from a local vendor, No Bull Burgers, as well as serves Blue Ridge Boocha from a local Kombucha company. Bistro 1908 participates in Meatless Mondays and will invite local vendors in throughout the school year to promote their products. The Fueled Food Truck, a student driven initiative on-campus, promotes sustainability, health and education through the menu and a partnership with the university that integrates a sustainability, project-based interdisciplinary course. These students implement ideas and engage dining services with the campus to promote education around health and sustainability.

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?:

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:
In four dining locations (two major food courts and our two main residential dining locations), we have a sustainability board featuring four 8.5x11 signs and a 24x28 poster holder for events and major campaigns. Sustainability has it's own messaging and social media posts that are integrated with Dining and University initiatives that are shared on social media. Other methods of labeling and signage include sneeze guards and social media campaigns, and a monthly calendar of activities 1 week in advance of each month, including location, time, date, and brief description. Additionally we maintain accurate signs in dining areas which are consistent in appearance and products with the campus signs. Examples of messaging related to low impact food choices and sustainability practices include "Turn the Tide on Plastics in Our Oceans," an effort to reduce the use of plastics and single use disposable items, and "Take Only What You Can Eat," an effort to reduce wasted food.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:
The Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator is a steering committee member on the Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition. The mission of the Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition is to harness the intellectual, human and economic capital of colleges and universities to foster the emerging local food economy in Virginia. JMU Dining Services also regularly engages in the local and JMU communities in order to further educate individuals. Below is a sampling of outreach conducted by JMU Dining: • The Sustainability Coordinator offers tabling and information sessions that engage and teach students about sustainable and healthy foods and waste minimization. • Dining Services offers guided tours of East Campus Dining Hall (LEED Gold Certified) open to K-12 schools as well as higher education. • Dining Services coordinates student engagement with several organizations, such as: The Fueled Food Truck Course, JMU X-labs, JMGrew, Campus Kitchen, Student Government Association, Food for Thought, and Environmental Management Club, as well as several professors through engaging volunteers as part of their courses. • Students are able to participate in growing food at the Madison Garden at East Campus Dining Hall. • The Sustainability Coordinator serves on the Harrisonburg VA Green Steering committee - committing to community efforts on improving green tourism in Harrisonburg.

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)?:

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:
More than two thirds of adults and three out of four college students surveyed by Aramark indicate they are striving to be careful about what they eat and want to know how to make better nutrition and lifestyle choices. With Healthy for Life™, people are empowered with a broad selection of great-tasting and better-for-you recipes alongside easy-to-understand nutrition and wellness information. Through monthly collaborative events with Health and Wellness, we simultaneously promote the interconnectivity of health, wellness and sustainability and how eating/lifestyle decisions made contribute to personal health and health of the world. At these events we promote a variety of topics on a healthy lifestyles, and many of the topics revolve around produce, calcium-rich foods, hydration and lean protein. At these events we give away reusable water bottles and reusable food containers to not only promote healthy eating, but sustainability. Our residential dining halls offer culturally diverse stations as well as rotating specials, events, highlights and features.

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 Food Management Process at Aramark, also known as the 5P Process, is enabled via five basic steps: Plan, Product, Production, Portion and Post Analysis. Successful and repeated achievement of the required activities in each step drives efficiencies that reduce waste, increase the positive social and economic impact of our food operations, and provide safe, high-quality food consistently produced with predictable and repeatable results. JMU Dining participates in Lean Path leveraging cutting-edge technology, powerful data science, and a proven Culinary Team Empowerment Program, to help our organization understand exactly how and why food is being wasted and then take decisive action to achieve real, measurable results. Through Lean Path's automated system, we strive to prevent food waste by understanding where inefficiencies occur and how we can eliminate over-preparing food.

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:
JMU long ago implemented trayless dining facilities throughout campus. By eliminating trays, Dining Services has been able to reduce water usage and post-consumer food waste - saving 1/2 gallon per customer at each meal.

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:
JMU Dining Services follows a similar approach in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Food Recovery Hierarchy, with source reduction being the first step to managing a waste stream. Once all unnecessary waste is eliminated, we determine another purpose or reuse the material. If we can no longer use it, then we work with Campus Kitchen, a student organization on -campus that takes safe, unused food to be re-purposed and served to those in need. For academic year 17/18, over 617 pounds of food were donated. If the material can no longer be used in its current state, we then compost the leftover food. Additionally we participate in a canned food drive, donating to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

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)?:

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:
In addition to recycling with the university, Dining Services also recycles 100% of used fryer oil in conjunction with Quest Recycling, who diverts the oil into biodiesel and animal feed.

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

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
Special consideration went to changing a comprehensive waste reduction effort which includes composting pre and post-consumer food waste as well as recycling, reuse of our fryer oil, and water reduction. All pre-consumer food waste is composted or donated, and the waste is extensively tracked through an automated online program called Lean Path that helps us optimize and reduce food waste through categorizing real time waste numbers. We conduct training and sessions and provide educational materials around waste reduction. Clear containers are a staple in all of JMU Dining kitchens where dining employees toss in any pre-consumer food waste or compostable material to be composted. Goals are set for dining locations to minimize pre-consumer food waste and areas are held accountable to their performance.

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

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
All residential dining locations on JMU’s campus participate in the post-consumer food waste composting process. At the residential dining locations, all leftover food scraps are broken down by a pulper. At two of our retail dining locations, consumers are asked to sort their waste into compost, recycle, and landfill receptacles. Graphics displayed above each bin are there to aid the consumer in the sorting process and reduce compost contamination as much as possible.

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:
Reusable serviceware is utilized in all residential dining locations and available at Madison Grill and Bistro 1908 for students wishing to “dine in."

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:
JMU Dining Services offers compostable to-go containers as well for students to use at all retail locations throughout campus. However, only food is accepted in compost bins.

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?:

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:
JMU Dining Services offers incentives for using reusable beverage containers in place of single-use, disposable cups and bottles. Reusable beverage containers are accepted in all dining locations on campus, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. As an incentive, a ten cent discount is offered on beverages purchased with a reusable beverage container. Additionally, through a partnership with Cupanion, JMU Dining Services has implemented a program that uses a sticker with a bar code and a mobile application to provide rewards for using a reusable beverage container. A Cupanion sticker is available to all meal plan holders to place on their reusable beverage container, and stickers can be picked up at the cash registers at EHall and DHall. Users can scan the barcode on their sticker after each reuse, including purchasing beverages or filling up at water refill stations on campus. Each time the sticker is scanned, a cup of clean water is donated to WaterAid and users accumulate points which can be redeemed on items such as coffee.

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)?:

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Sustainability Dining Guide: https://jmu.campusdish.com/Sustainability/WhatWeAreDoing

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.