Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.79
Liaison Katharine Gross
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2021

STARS v2.2

Lehigh University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lauren Sleeger
Director of Rathbone Dining
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?:
Yes

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

The Bethlehem Farmers’ Market operates as a community service for Southside Bethlehem. It operates to (1) address the food desert issue plaguing community residents, (2) offer a place for the community to engage and interact, (3) educate the community about nutrition, (4) promote non-profit and community partners, and (5) act as an economic incubator for small businesses and farms in the Lehigh Valley.

Bethlehem Farmers’ Market provides a safe and clean environment in which local farmers and vendors are able to sell their products to the members of the Bethlehem and greater Lehigh Valley communities - free of charge.

The market aims to select vendors who offer products that both appeal to customers and abide by the Buy Fresh, Buy Local guidelines of the Greater Lehigh Valley branch. The Bethlehem Farmers’ Market supports Lehigh University’s Campus Sustainability Plan and Master Plan.

For twenty weeks, June - October, the Seed Farm of Emmaus, PA offers Lehigh University staff, faculty, family and friends a share of their farm. The Seed Farm looks to encourage shareholders to expand their knowledge and appreciation of healthy eating, interesting cuisine, & sustainable agriculture.


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:

Lower Cort, one of two main all-you-care-to-eat restaurants on campus, has Rustic Roots, a sustainability-themed and vegan station open for lunch and dinner daily.


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:

Yes, through Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op and Common Market, food and beverages are purchased from small, local farms to purchase products when available and in season.


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
20.30

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:

In addition to Meatless Mondays, Lehigh University Dining hosts a variety of events throughout the year: World Food Day, Zero Waste meals, World Vegetarian Day, during Earth Week, during Recyclemania (now Campus Race to Zero Waste) to name a few.


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:

- Meatless Monday's at all Student Restaurants
- Vegetarian/Vegan Station: There is at least one item available every meal that makes a complete protein based vegan option whether by itself, using seitan or another protein based products, or combining items from multiple stations
- Rustic Roots, a completely vegan station, is available Monday-Friday


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:

Low impact signage is available throughout dining locations either digitally or via labelling and posters.


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:

PERC - Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium Statewide Sustainability Competition focuses on the following 4 criteria in a statewide, annual competition:

CARBON FOOTPRINT REDUCTION
Engaging successfully in the PHE-FRC will result in a reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Not only does participation in the Challenge produce these positive results, but software allows the EPA to provide a valid quantification of that reduction to each school for use in its carbon reporting.

STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
Students eat every day. With many of them eating on campus, this project is a very real-to-students sustainability initiative. There is opportunity for students to get involved in a variety of efforts from food rescue to campus composting and more.

SUSTAINABILITY AWARENESS
Through effective campus communication about the project (signage in the dining areas for example), sustainability education can happen at a very "gut" level.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
The PHE-FRC provides a number of opportunities for the college community to initiate and strengthen relationships with its surrounding community. One example: rescued food might be taken to local shelters.


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:

- Lehigh University Dining has been trayless since 2009
- Half size portions are available wherever possible
- Dining Services is continually moving towards smaller plates to encourage smaller portions


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:

With the support of student and faculty engagement, Lehigh University donates to local charities weekly and is a chapter of the Food Recovery Network.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

Fryer oil utilized throughout Lehigh University Dining locations is converted into biodiesel.


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:

Pre-consumer waste is addressed based on location. The majority is either reduced in volume via a pulper and discarded until a composting option becomes available or is converted into grey water via the Enviropure food digester.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
No

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

Post-consumer waste is addressed based on location. Rathbone converts all post-consumer food waste into grey water via the Enviropure food digester.


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:

Students use china and stainless steel silverware in all dining locations. No disposables are used.


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:

Lehigh University Dining provides free reusable to-go containers for students. Students are permitted up to two containers per academic year at no charge. If not returned, students incur a $10 fee per container.


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?:
Yes

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

Students receive a discount if they bring their reusable mugs to any dining or retail location. Incentives include $.99 refills any size, price of next smaller size or 10% off depending on location.


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

Full-time, on-site dietitian provides support to individual students, faculty and staff as well as clubs, residential halls and athletic teams alike so that they can achieve their health and wellness goals. In addition, she reviews all menus to ensure a well balanced, healthy and diverse menu.

Global Cuisine is a program created at Lehigh University that promotes the cultural and culinary traditions of a student, faculty or staff member by partnering with Lehigh University Dining to create an authentic themed meal including but not limited to menu, decor, music, entertainment. It occurs once a month during fall and spring semester.


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Sustainable dining programs were impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
-The reusable eco-container program in residential dining was expanded
-To-go disposables had to be used more in retail dining because it was take-out only to comply with health and safety protocols

Despite these impacts, the data above is mostly representative of a normal year.

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.