Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 40.97
Liaison Sherri Mason
Submission Date June 30, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 2.00 Michael Lidner
Director
Housing and Food Services
"---" 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:

Penn State is serious about reducing waste and educating our students about sustainable practices.


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:

The college’s Housing and Food Services office has been using an Urban Cultivator for its "Dig It" kitchen program, which allows dining staff to grow and cook with fresh herbs, vegetables, and microgreens.


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:

The student garden. The garden, just north of Smith Chapel, has used a community-supported agriculture model, with members funding seed purchases and supplies in exchange for a portion of the harvest. Produce from the garden has also been donated to the Emmaus Soup Kitchen and used by Dobbins Dining Hall on campus.

The Erie Garden Coalition. This network of Erie County-based AmeriCorps VISTA members and community leaders from local nonprofits and government organizations works to support gardens across Erie, and encourages gardeners to donate excess produce to the Emmaus Soup Kitchen.


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:

Penn State dining services offers both meatless and vegan options for every meal at all dining commons on campus. Over 50% of the vegan entree recipes meet the "healthy" parameter (600 calories or less per serving, maximum 10% of calories from saturated fats, 0 g trans fat, 600 mg or less of sodium). An advisory board meets once a semester to ensure that the offerings of meatless and vegan options are meeting the expectations of the vegetarians on campus.

Every day we aim to have at least one vegan soup, one vegan entrée, and at least one vegan side on the menu. We have an extensive salad bar with a variety of vegan items, such as tofu, choice of bean, grain salad, choice of roasted vegetable; a fruit selection is also available. Additionally, we offer daily the following: veggie burgers, 3 flavors of soy milk, 2 flavors of almond milk, rice milk and vegan yogurt. We promoted the Whole Grains Council for a special event.


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:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:
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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?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
No

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:
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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:

RHEAL stands for Residential Healthy Eating and Living, a program designed to point out healthy options in the dining halls. Menus and entree curds are marked with a carrot icon to indicate items that meet the RHEAL criteria. http://foodservices.psu.edu/rheal


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?:
No

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:
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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:

Campus dining facilities have been trayless since 2016.

Penn State Food Services has reduced the size of the plates used in the dining halls, which encourages smaller portion size and less food waste. More recipes have converted to 'buffet style' portion sizes to reduce post consumer waste.


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:

The Waste Not Program. Since 2013, student volunteers and employees at Dobbins have delivered leftovers to the Erie City Mission. During the 2017-18 academic year, they delivered nearly 600 pounds of food to the mission.


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:

Contract with HeroBX for conversion of used cooking oil to fuel.


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:

COntracts with Dirt Works for year-round (except December - February due to cold temperatures) pre-consumer composting.


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:

Due to contamination the post-consumer composting program was terminated.


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:

Dobbins cafeteria defaults to china and silverware as the first position of service.


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:

Students may obtain, for a $5 deposit, an eco-friendly, reusable Green2Go Box, which can be used at any of the five Dining Commons on campus. The box is used for to-go meals, and then either rinsed and reused by the student, or rinsed and exchanged for a carabineer that can later be exchanged for another Green2Go Box. The success of the program has been mixed, however, and compostable containers are currently under consideration.


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:

All retail dining facilities have reusable coffee mugs and water bottles available for purchase. When individuals bring these reusable beverage containers back, they receive a discount on their purchase. At many of the locations, a person can bring their own mug and receive the same discount.


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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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.