Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Nancy Apple
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Mount Holyoke College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Nancy Apple
Director
Environmental Health & Safety
"---" 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:

Mount Holyoke Dining Services is committed to protecting our global and local resources by continuously exploring options to increase environmentally sustainable purchasing and practices. We aim to provide students with healthy and nutritious food while reducing waste, increasing our local purchases, and minimizing our impacts on the environment.

We incorporate sustainability into our food purchasing by:

- Sourcing locally grown and produced foods
- Sourcing third-party certified organically grown products
- Sourcing third-party certified responsibly grown or harvested products
- Sourcing third-party certified humane products

We operate our dining facilities in a way that:

- Saves water and energy
- Minimizes food excess
- Reduces packaging and recycles non-compostable waste
- Composts all pre- and post-consumer food waste


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:

We have a student organic garden on campus. Last summer, the garden provided 14lbs combined of arugula and kale to the Dining Commons.


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?:
No

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

Mount Holyoke offers diverse, complete-protein vegan dining options during every meal. Vegan foods are also labeled accordingly on each dish in the dining halls. A minimum of 1 vegan entrée is available at every meal.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
No

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

We have a large selection of options available at every meal allowing individuals to make their own determinations on how to impact the environment with their decisions.


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:

During Massachusetts Farm to School Week and on several other occasions each semester, we host local farmers in the Dining Commons to show their products and speak with students.

Gracious Dinners feature locally-sourced produce and ingredients. Each year, we start this with a Fall Harvest Gracious Dinner during Massachusetts Farm to College Week at the end of September. We also feature locally-grown and sustainable menus on the Saturday of Family & Friends weekend, near Thanksgiving, and for Exam M&C’s hot breakfast.


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?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
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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:

Menu items with locally grown ingredients are labelled with our “locally grown” menu item signs and local farms and other food providers or the places we source our ingredients are advertised with signage regularly.


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:

Mount Holyoke is actively seeking to supporting learning and research about sustainable food systems both on and off campus. A new full-time staff member was hired to serve as a Food Systems Manager in the Dining Services Department. She is spearheading programming around sustainable food systems on campus and building partnerships with local farmers and food providers in the community.

Mount Holyoke's Miller Worley Center for the Environment supports a number of curated summer internships that encourage research and learning about sustainable food systems as well. For the summer of 2018, for example, Mount Holyoke has positions available with CitySprouts in Cambridge, MA, Hampshire College Farm Center in Amherst, MA, Gardening the Community in Springfield, MA, and Nuestras Raices in Holyoke, MA. For the second summer in a row, there is also a Fellow position available with the Miller Worley Center for the Environment. The Fellow will conduct research related to food, energy and land management.

Mount Holyoke also offers several courses related to sustainable food: ENVST-321CF: The Challenges of Feeding Nine Billion People, ANTHR-216 Archaeology of Food, HIST-301FH: Food and Hunger in the Modern World, LATAM-389: Agrarian America: Sugar Coffee Cotton Wheat.


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:

The Dining Commons (opened in January 2018) features nine stations — Breakfast All Day, Comfort, Global, Grill, Made to Order, Baraka, L'Chaim, Harvest, and Wok — that promote health, wellness and sustainability by focusing on international cuisine, vegan options and avoiding food with allergens. The wide variety of menu options includes food being cooked to order and made from scratch, as well as locally-sourced produce and protein.


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:

Mount Holyoke regularly tracks its food waste and uses this data to inform education programs on campus. Additionally, student organizations such as the Students for Zero Waste and the Food Justice Society hold waste audits in the Dining Commons to promote awareness of food waste among students.


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:

We are a trayless campus.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
No

A brief description of the food donation program:
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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:

Buckets of cooled oil are collected and placed in a central oil container and then picked up to be refurbished.


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:

The Dining Commons has been built with a food dehydrator system that will process and dehydrate food waste in less than 24 hours before being locally composted. On campus, there are strong efforts to divert nearly all food waste, both pre- and post-consumer, to composting. In fiscal year 2017, we composted over 255 tons of food waste.


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:

The Dining Commons has been built with a food dehydrator system that will process and dehydrate food waste in less than 24 hours before being locally composted. On campus, there are strong efforts to divert nearly all food waste, both pre- and post-consumer, to composting. In fiscal year 2017, we composted over 255 tons of food waste.


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:

China, glass and metal flatware


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)?:
No

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

Mount Holyoke provides extremely limited to-go options through the Pub & Cochary and the Grab n' Go, and no to-go options are offered at all in the main Dining Commons.

Compostable containers are provided for soup and other to-go options from the yogurt and salad/fruit bar in the Grab n' Go.

Additionally, in a direct effort to reduce packaging waste and divert waste from landfills, prepared salads and hot foods in the Grab n' Go are packaged in recyclable containers, and sandwiches are wrapped in recyclable paper.

Additionally, compostable containers are provided for soup and other to-go options from the yogurt and salad/fruit bar in the Grab n' Go.


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:

In previous years, the College has offered discounts for students who bring their own reusable mugs to the cafes on campus and hopes to bring this program back in the near future.

Historically, Mount Holyoke Dining has decreased plastic waste by increasing the availability of reusable containers on campus, thus decreasing the need for single-use containers.

In 2014, Mount Holyoke had a pilot campaign where all new students were gifted reusable mugs. Additionally, all paper to-go cups were removed from dining halls during dinner. These two facts together resulted in a reduction in cups of 81,650 and about $5,000 in spending savings. This reduction in cups also translates to 3.3 tons of paper and 23,201 gallons of water that would be needed to make those cups.


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)?:
No

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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