Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.01
Liaison Rebecca Walker
Submission Date April 13, 2022

STARS v2.2

Southern Oregon University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.88 / 2.00 Rebecca Walker
Sustainability Manager
Facilities, Management, Sustainability and Planning
"---" 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 Farm at SOU has a CSA program that was made available to the general community for the first time in 2018. Previously the program was only open to SOU students, faculty and staff. The University has also committed to hosting the community farmers market starting in 2022.


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:

The main campus dining all has a station that is vegan and promotes a vegan lifestyle. This is advertised within the dining hall, on the dining website, and through social media.


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:

The primary dining services contractor is required to follow all relevant SOU policies including the Sustainability and Equity in Purchasing Policy. This policy supports disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and local businesses. https://sustainability.sou.edu/sustainability-and-equity-in-purchasing-at-sou/


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
70

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:

Dining hosts the pop-up concept Vegebond. Vegebond is a vegan event hosted bimonthly featuring vegan recipes and amazing flavors to help promote plant based eating.


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:

Vegetarian and vegan options are offered during all meal periods in the dining hall on campus. Vegetarian and vegan options are identified by labeling on menus. Vegetarian dishes are identified with V and vegan dishes are identified with VG.

Franchised locations and retail locations all offer vegetarian options. Campus coffee locations offer vegan options including non-dairy milk selections.


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:

Signage promoting sustainability in relation to food is on the display screens one per station and rotating information on the walk-in screen. Food sustainability is also promoted via campus social media.


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:

In 2019, SOU was awarded a grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to replace existing plates with smaller plates to further prevent post-consumer food waste. The food waste was monitored pre-and post-implementation of the smaller plates and food waste was reduced by 20%.

Final grant report with survey results and food tracking results attached in additional documentation.


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:

Trayless dining is practiced in both campus dining halls. Trays are made available to senior conference groups upon request. Trayless dining on campus conserves water and energy that would otherwise be used for washing trays, reduces the use of detergents, and reduces food waste by 25%-30% per person. SOU Dining also uses pre-portioned serving vessels at several of the food stations in the main dining hall to reduce post-consumer food waste.

In 2019, SOU was awarded a grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to replace existing plates with smaller plates to further prevent post-consumer food waste. The food waste was monitored pre-and post-implementation of the smaller plates and food waste was reduced by 20%.


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:

SOU dining makes regular food donations to St Vincent's and Food Angels.


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:

All of the used cooking oil is picked up by a local company to be converted to biofuels.


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

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
---

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:
---

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:

SOU's LEED Gold Certified Dining Hall uses only reusable service ware for dine-in meals. For customers wishing to take their food to go, a reusable to-go container must be purchased. There is no disposable service ware available in the main dining hall


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:

SOU Dining offers a reusable container program in the dining hall. The program's goals are to:
* Reduce or eliminate excessive disposal containers.
* Demonstrate commitment to reduce environmental impact of dining operations.
* Reduce waste removal costs for university partners.
* Engage student leaders and administrators in environmental awareness.

The reusable service ware was also used during COVID-19 when the dining services were solely food to go.

From January 1st 2020, food and beverage providers in Oregon have been prohibited from providing single-use straws to any customer unless the customer has requested one. SOU Dining is participating in the voluntary Straw on Demand Pilot Program and will only provide a straw upon request. Single-use straws are in the top ten items that are found in the oceans, sea life, and beaches. By reducing straw consumption, we are saving the ocean sea life. For people with disabilities, straws should always be available.


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:

SOU Dining charges for non-reusable to-go packaging to encourage the uptake of reusable to go. SOU Dining offers a discount of $0.25 at all retail locations for customers who bring reusable beverage containers.


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

SOU Dining provides many culturally diverse options in the dining hall to broaden students' understanding of global food cultures and traditions.


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

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.