Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.48
Liaison Dayna Cook
Submission Date Sept. 28, 2020

STARS v2.2

Northern Arizona University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Gabriela Galvan
NAU Campus Dining Sodexo
"---" 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:

The Open Air Markets are held once per week every semester on campus. NAU Campus Dining has been hosting the markets in both the fall and spring semesters since Spring of 2014. They highlight fresh, seasonal produce which is grown in Arizona as well as local hand-crafted artisan foods from businesses in Flagstaff and northern Arizona. Northern Arizona University students, staff and faculty have the opportunity to showcase their talents with art displays, handmade goods, as well as music/performances. The Open-Air Markets bring community members together on campus while showcasing local foods, crafts, and artists and providing education and awareness about sustainability, health and wellness and community support. In order to allow students to take better advantage of their meal plans, and give them a taste of what participating in a local CSA might be like, we developed "Market Baskets" featured each week. Similar to a CSA box, the Open Air Market Baskets include a reusable bag filled with a variety of in-season fruits, vegetables and local foods valued at $20 that students can purchase using a combination of a meal and dining dollars, or any other accepted payment option. This not only encourages student participation in the markets but increases their awareness around seasonality of certain foods and the need to support local 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?:

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

The Green Scene Café offers made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and wraps along with Intelligentsia coffee, tea, and pastries baked on campus. In addition to featuring primarily plant-based foods, and highlighting local and in-season produce, each of the Green Scene menu items' impact on the environment has been measured using a Life Cycle Analysis, resulting in a carbon foot-print being assigned to them. This helps bring awareness to students and other campus customers around how their dining choices impact the environment. In order to reduce waste, customers are encouraged to use reusable service ware if they are dining in, or reusable to-go containers if taking the food out. We provide single-use plant-based compostable packaging for “to go” orders when reusable is not an option. “Limited Time Offers” highlight seasonal and local ingredients in new specialty menu items which rotate throughout the year.

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:

We have worked locally to develop direct vendor relationships with some small Flagstaff businesses, one of which is now our primary supplier for tortillas and hot sauce. This small business is owned and operated by a recent graduate of Northern Arizona University, and they have crafted the first and only line of specialty sauces made completely with natural ingredients, right here in Flagstaff. We work also work with our distributors to support small farms, disadvantaged businesses and SMEs through our food and beverage purchasing.
Nationally, Sodexo utilizes over 3000 local, regional and national diverse and small businesses, many of which are also a part of our supply chain at NAU. The Supplier Diversity Procurement Policy that we follow is below:
The use of diverse suppliers and partners throughout the organization brings better value to our customers, clientele and the communities in which we live, work, and serve. As a result, we will:
• Hold all management personally accountable for increasing Supplier Diversity spend through our Diversity Scorecard
• Include qualified diverse vendors in all RFP’s handled by Supply Management.
• Establish supplier diversity goals for the divisions and company, reporting our supplier diversity spend on a quarterly basis.
• Actively seek diverse vendors through Sodexo’s supplier diversity website, our membership in diverse organizations and our attendance at various events.
• Require all manufacturers to establish a supplier diversity program within one year of contracting.
• Include supplier diversity as part of the business review process.

Additionally, Diversity and Inclusion is embedded in our business and our values. We believe that diversity in our workforce gives us access to the best talent, and our D&I culture provides the ability to attract and retain this talent. This belief transcends into our supply base. We know that working with suppliers that mirror our consumers and our communities makes our company more relevant in the markets in which we operate. We also know that we want to partner with companies that have the same convictions about utilizing talent in all its forms.

The Partner Inclusion Program leverages best practices from Sodexo operations around the world in support of a commitment that all countries will develop strong and sustainable relationships with suppliers in at least one of the following categories:
• Small-and medium-sized Enterprises (SME’s), including social and micro-enterprises
• Suppliers from minority and other under-represented and/or protected groups (as defined in country), with an emphasis on women-owned businesses
• Major Sodexo suppliers will demonstrate a diverse workforce composition, actively embracing diversity and inclusion and promoting local supply chain inclusion.
Sodexo has publicly committed to having an inclusion program and tracks their progress by country annually for both women and underutilized suppliers as defined in country as well as spend with local small businesses or SME (Small Medium Enterprise) with goals of 25% SME spend globally focusing on diverse SMEs by 2025.

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:

We host farm to table events in both the fall and spring semesters promoting local, organic and sustainably sourced foods. We have promoted Meatless Mondays for several years, and we’ve taken a plant-forward approach to menu planning in both of our resident dining halls on campus. We also placed a strategic focus on plant-based foods in our renovation plans at the DuB Dining District (dining hall) positioning the “Plant Forward” station front and center as you enter the dining hall.

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:

We are very proud of the variety and quality of our vegan and vegetarian offerings on campus. We've developed a plant-based dining on campus guide to help new students familiarize themselves with some of the options. Additionally, our mobile application allows customers to search specifically for vegan menu items (as well as vegetarian). Both of the dining halls on campus promote both vegan and vegetarian options at a variety of platforms with special icons indicating those items which are vegan to make them easier to find. Each of the dining halls also has a platform dedicated solely to plant-based foods as well.
Additionally, we feature a Superfoods Bar at the Hot Spot which specializes in nutrient dense foods such as whole grains, nuts, legumes, and fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants, often high in protein and healthy fiber to provide a complete protein from plant-based foods. Two different types of hummus are made from scratch daily to feature on the bar along with some additional veggies and pita chips for dipping. We also offer the newly popular “Impossible meats” at some of our retail locations.

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:

We provide a variety of signage and communications vehicles to help inform students and staff about some of our sustainability practices. Signage is present in the resident dining locations to bring awareness promoting some of the Arizona farms we get produce from. All vegan and vegetarian options are labeled with special icons, and local and organic items are often called out on menus to highlight those as well. We use table tents, menu signs and digital screens to inform customers at our dining locations about the lower impact food choices.

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:

NAU Campus Dining participates in the EPA Food Recovery Challenge yearly, which provides resources and webinar trainings to reduce food waste and requires yearly reporting of food waste, which helps strengthens NAU’s commitment to reduce food waste each year. We measure and carefully analyze food waste through a program developed specifically for minimizing food waste called LeanPath. The LeanPath software records all pre-consumer food waste in both of the resident dining hall kitchens. This program not only allows chefs and kitchen staff a way to monitor food waste but it gives them a projection of the weight and dollar amount that would be wasted in a year if current practices are followed. The chefs are then able to see patterns of food waste during meal prep and enforce an action plan to reduce food waste before it ever leaves the kitchen. The numbers generated in LeanPath are also cross referenced with the NAU Compost Programs daily weight logs.
A relatively new system helps to increase our waste diversion at both dining halls adding post-consumer food waste to the mix using the SOMAT post-consumer composting system, making these locations virtually zero waste. The compost derived from this system is donated to campus and community gardens. Through the use of these tools and efforts, NAU Campus Dining has seen a reduction in food waste entering landfills of more than 600,000 pounds annually.

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:

In 2009, our resident dining halls removed the option for customers to use trays to encourage more mindful eating behaviors, taking one plate at a time and in turn reducing post-consumer food waste. Trayless dining also reduces water waste, energy waste, and food waste in our residential dining locations. Every time a meal is served without a tray, a quarter of water, one ounce of food waste, plus the detergent and energy needed for washing trays is saved. NAU Campus Dining Services also coordinates events like “Weigh the Waste” within the resident dining throughout the academic year with First Year Seminar course students to bring awareness to waste reduction specifically post-consumer waste. Students sort and weigh the waste and analyze the post-consumer waste stream for improvements on waste minimization as well as become more empowered as individuals to reduce their waste footprint overall. NAU Athletics with the help of NAU Dining and the Office of Sustainability partake in the EPA Game Day Challenge which encourages football fans to reduce their game day waste.

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:

NAU Campus Dining donates food regularly to our local food bank, and Sunshine Rescue Mission and Flagstaff Family Food Center. Additionally, through the partnership with the NAU Food Recovery Network, we work with students to donate more perishable foods on a daily basis, donating between 2000 – 4000 lbs of food annually from this program. Campus Dining also supports Louie’s Cupboard, a food pantry on campus that serves the campus community with annual food drives and matching donation campaigns. Yearly more than 1,600 pounds of food is donated to Louie’s Cupboard through Dining’s efforts. Most recently we have a implemented a catering surplus alert system called Louie’s Leftovers where campus constituents opted in can receive alerts to partake in the food left at the end of some catering events.

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:

Campus Dining’s used cooking oil is converted into biodiesel by a Camp Verde company, Greener Day. A majority of the biodiesel is used for the Grand Canyon Railway, and a portion is used on campus to supplement our alternative energy fleet as well as mixture with our gasoline driven buses.

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

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

For several years the Students for Sustainable Living and Urban Gardening (SSLUG) group on campus worked with our dining halls and coffee locations directly to collect pre-consumer food waste to be composted in the SSLUG garden. The compost was then used in the community garden maintained by the same group. The current NAU Compost program is a much larger operation, but developed as a culmination of these students’ hard work and a graduate student project that brought the program to a much larger scale. Today the NAU Composting Program is run through NAU Grounds and Campus Services and Activities and amending 300,000 pounds of organic food waste, including pre-consumer and post-consumer compostable material, compostable cups and ground trimmings of grass, tree limbs, pine needles, and leaves.

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

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

In 2015 NAU Campus Dining and a group of First Year Seminar students began working on a plan to reduce food waste on campus by adding a post-consumer composting program to the University Union dining hall. NAU was already actively combating food waste on multiple fronts including awareness programs, periodic waste audits, specialized training for staff, output tracking with LeanPath, the EPA Food Recovery Challenge, and Campus Dining’s existing pre-consumer composting program. The post-consumer composting program was seen as the “next step” in food waste reduction based on course research at the undergraduate and graduate level and collaborative meetings with NAU’s Facility Services. Student research concluded that an estimated 700-800 lbs of food waste were being thrown out daily by patrons of the residential dining hall into trash cans at the dish return area. With partial financial support from the Student Green Fund, NAU campus dining operation manages a complete post-consumer processing system using cutting edge technology from SOMAT. These machines work semi-autonomously to pulp, grind, extract, and dehydrate all food waste, napkins, and compostable packaging into a finished sawdust-like material. This technologically advanced process safely "cooks" previously non-compostable items such as meats, oils, cheeses, and even some plastics and is expected to remove at least 100,000 lbs of material from the University Union’s annual waste stream. The dehydrated materials are taken by the NAU Grounds department and combined with pre-consumer food waste, compostable cups from on-campus coffee shops, lawn clippings, leaves, pine needles and horse manure to help with the natural decomposition process. The resulting material is screened into finished soil amendments and used throughout campus on lawns, landscape areas, planter boxes, and the three campus gardens.

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:

Both resident dining locations use all “dine in” service-ware. Additionally,the O2GO reusable container program was implemented in collaboration with the Green Fund in the Spring of 2018 to reduce single-use disposable waste in our retail dining locations. Currently 14 retail "to go" locations participate in this program utilizing both food containers and cups. Additionally, catering has created a policy defaulting all food orders in the student unions & activities buildings to reusable service ware. In Fall of 2018, we also eliminated the use of single-use disposable plastic straws.

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:

All retail cold beverage cups in the 16 oz. size (which is the size that comes with the meal plan transfers, that are the high volume purchased) are made of compostable materials from Pepsico. NAU Campus Dining provides compostable to-go ware for catering events as well as reusable “Choose to Reuse” green containers for zero waste on-campus box lunches for groups, departments, and the President’s Office’s standing lunch meetings. Retail dining locations accept and encourage customers to bring their cup or mug for reuse. The Green Scene Café offers only compostable to-go containers for their salads and sandwiches including compostable utensils.

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:

A massive BYOC “Bring Your Own Cup” campaign on campus encourages students and customers to remember to bring their own mug when purchasing drinks on campus. Reusable beverage containers can be used at any retail dining location across campus for a $0.50 discount on a drink purchase. A majority of our retail locations participate in the OZZI O2Go program in which students pay a one-time $5 fee to purchase a container, they receive their food in this reusable container, when they are done the container can be returned to 1 of our 2 receptacles and in return they receive a token which is valid for a container for their next visit.

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

NAU Campus Dining partners with NAU Health Promotions on several health, wellness and nutrition programs throughout the academic year. From providing fruit fruits and vegetables for a preventative care VeggieRx program, supporting NAU Fit and NAU Eats programs that teach healthy lifestyle habits and partnering in monthly Mindful sampling in the dining halls, healthy cooking demos, and participating in the annual health events on campus, Health-A-Palozza and Healthy Living Expo. Culturally diverse menus are presented throughout the year with support and collaboration from key campus partnerships to celebrate the many cultures at NAU accurately. Hispanic Heritage, Native American menus, Black History Month, Asian Pacific Islanders, International Week Menus are a few examples.

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Information provided by: Gabriela.Galvan@nau.edu; TC

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.