Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.59
Liaison Susan Dorward
Submission Date Aug. 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Raritan Valley Community College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 2.00 Susan Dorward
Sustainability and Energy Coordinator
Facilities and Grounds
"---" 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:

From Gourmet Dining's 2022 proposal: "Working with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms such as Taproot Farms and Willow Haven Farms, we always have seasonal favorites to offer."


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 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:

From Gourmet Dining's proposal to RVCC's 2022 dining RFP: "As a New Jersey-based company, we take a regional approach to foodservice through our network of local vendors, farms and workforce." "Partnering with more than 2,400 family farms, we provide fresh produce and proteins to all our operations."In collaboration with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, we strive to reduce our dependence on factory farming and to partner with qualified local and regional growers. We will work with farms such as Taproot Farm in Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania, Willow Haven Farm in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, Grim’s Orchard & Family Farms in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, and Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania."


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

For sustainable events such as Earth Week events and sustainability-related meetings, Gourmet Dining provides vegan-only dishes. They will work with the event organizer to provide only compostable paper items and compostable utensils and not offer bottled water or other beverages in plastic bottles.


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:

Vegan and vegetarian options are offered and are usually marked, exceptions being the salad bar, pizza, and sandwich stations.

Vegan salads (including legumes), roasted vegetables, and vegan sandwiches are available daily.

Vegan soups are offered 2x/week, entrees 1x/week, and tofu, salad bar, and sandwich station are offered daily.


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:

Vegan and vegetarian menu items are labeled and there is a sign explaining the labels in the cafeteria. There are signs for discounts if you bring a reusable mug/thermos.


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:

We trained the kitchen staff to separate their organic waste into dedicated bins, which are emptied into the campus organics collection bins and deposited into our new on-site composter. Culinart has a mandatory Waste Not program, requiring waste buckets at each serving station so that food waste can be tracked and managed.

From the Gourmet Dining 2022 proposal: "Love Food Not Waste: This is an education and awareness campaign for both our associates and guests. It addresses four key areas of foodservice-related waste: food, water, energy and packaging. Each area identifies ways our staff and guests can reduce the amount of waste they produce by encouraging simple changes in behavior. Guest-facing
materials are available to encourage customers to conserve resources in
the cafe and to be more sustainably conscious at home."


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?:
No

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:
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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 College runs a campus food pantry that accepts donations. Gourmet Dining can donate trays of food to the food pantry when it is open, and otherwise it can donate to the Foodbank Network of Somerset County which has a warehouse in Bridgewater and accepts donations Monday through Friday.


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:

Cooking oil is collected for recycling/reuse.


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:

In all food preparation, Gourmet Dining disposes of food waste and organics in separate organics collection containers. This waste is collected by our waste management service and taken to an off-site composting facility.


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:

RVCC has an on-site composter. Numerous organics collection bins are located in the cafeteria, cafe, and lounge areas across campus.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
No

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:
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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:
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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:

At the cafeteria, Gourmet Dining offers a 15 cent discount on drink purchases to customers who use their own reusable containers rather than disposable ones.


A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:
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Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Culinart provided dining and catering services until the covid shutdown in March 2020. The campus reopened in September 2021 with Gourmet Dining providing limited dining options. Spring semester 2022, Gourmet Dining's offerings were even more limited to cold items prepared off-campus and hot pizza. We expect that offerings will resume with a broader set of offerings in September 2022. The answers above reflect a combination of Culinart's offerings in 2019-2020, Gourmet Dining's offerings 2021-2022, and Gourmet Dining's proposal for 2022-2025.

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.