Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.09
Liaison DeLayne Miller
Submission Date Dec. 18, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Tennessee Technological University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.88 / 2.00 DeLayne Miller
Sustainability Manager
Facilities:Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

TN Tech Dining is committed to fostering and promoting sustainable business principles to our guests. Education is the primary focus of our business activity. Our programs focuses on educating our guests so that they can make informed choices on both the food we consume and the ways we interact with the natural environment. The four pillars of our policy include:

Environment- We minimize our impact on the environment by reducing the waste we produce. Our approach is to bring awareness, educate, and implement the best practices for waste management, water conservation, energy efficiency and pollution control.

Purchasing Initiatives- We encourage responsible and sustainable practices in our supply chains. Our purchasing initiatives provide choices that celebrate flavor, affirm cultural traditions, support local communities, and include local purchasing, fair trade coffee, and sustainable seafood programs.

TN Tech Dining in the Community- We support and encourage charitable initiatives and community reinvestment with our employees. We partner corporately and locally where we do business.

Nutrition and Wellness- We provide programs that foster and promote healthy, productive workplaces and communities. This benefits our associates and guests. Programs include Balanced U, healthy lifestyles nutrition program, and healthy work place reward/development programs.

Information on our commitment to sustainability can be found online here: https://new.dineoncampus.com/ttu/sustainability


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
No

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:
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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:

We offer a farmers' market each semester as part of our Marketing Events. Our farmers' markets have been informative on container gardens, community gardening, and organic gardening. We have produce and locally roasted coffee brought in to sell.


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:

TN Tech Dining Services offers a station in the main dining hall called “Rooted”. This station offers plant based entrees and vegetables, ensuring that vegetarian/vegan items are offered at each meal. Tofu is available at the Mongolian Grill Station as a protein option and also at the Pasta Made to Order station. We also cater to vegan dining at the Grill station by offering a vegan burger upon request.

There is signage at the stations to make students aware that we have these options available. A non dairy milk alternative is also available in the main dining hall. Starbucks, Which Wich, and Au Bon Pain offer vegetarian and vegan options also.
https://new.dineoncampus.com/ttu/healthy-dining-on-campus


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

TN Tech Dining has a two week campaign called Stop Food Waste Program. It is to encourage students to reduce the amount of food they waste. We track TN Tech's food waste for these two weeks and students are rewarded for clean plates.

During the Fall Semester Dining services sponsors a town hall event entitled “Paths to a Greener Food Service”, which features a local community garden expert, the EatREAL TN manager, and the Compass Group’s Vice President of Culinary Services.

We also have Meatless Monday, where we feature plant based options at all stations in our main dining hall.

TN Tech Dining Services participates in TN Tech Sustainability Events regularly. At events we provide samples of whole grain salads and have a display of our sustainability platform.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:

Green Tips are provided on digital signage throughout the main dining hall. These tips let students know what they can do to make their dining experience more sustainable.

We also have unique, color-coded icons to identify foods/meals, as follows:
1) Balanced: Foods that are limited in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium.
2) Sustainable: Foods that are purchased or produced in a sustainable manner.
3) Vegetarian: Foods that do not contain animal products, except dairy or eggs.
4) Vegan: Foods that do not contain any animal derived products at all.
5) Gluten free: Foods that do not contain wheat
6) Superfoods: Foods that provide health benefits beyond their basic nutrient content, we highlight a different superfood every month and they are seasonal

https://new.dineoncampus.com/ttu/healthy-dining-on-campus


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:

TN Tech's Dining Services' website has information and links to promote and educate others on healthy and sustainable eating. There are also regularly scheduled cooking demonstrations that focus on healthy and sustainable eating. In FY18 they celebrated Stop Food Waste Day with awareness campaigns throughout the week. Additionally, TN Tech Dining participated in Earth Month 2018 and Sustainability Month in 2017. Also, dining services hosted a campus-wide event titled "Paths to Greener Food Services" which featured a local community garden expert, EatReal TN Manager, and Compass group's Vice President of Culinary Services.


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:

TN Tech is the first university in Tennessee, and 3rd nationwide, to be REAL Certified.The nationally recognized mark of excellence for food and food service providers committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.
https://www.tntech.edu/aux/dining/index.php

TN Tech Dining Services offers healthy snack bundles in the Convenience stores on campus, as well as, featuring monthly Superfoods and FYUL in the main dining hall. FYUL is a monthly topic with a featured menu item. The dietitian is available to discuss the monthly topic during the lunch hour. https://www.dineoncampus.com/ttu/healthy-dining-on-campus

Dining Services also holds wellness events twice a month. They promote things such as proper portion sizes, ask the dietitian, heart month activities, etc. TN Tech Dining now offers the Teaching Kitchen program. This program is designed to help students learn how to prepare simple healthy dishes. https://www.tntech.edu/aux/dining/teaching-kitchen.php


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:

TN Tech Dining donates 40 meals each week to the campus food pantry using food that would otherwise be thrown away. At the end of the day, any cooked foods that have not been put on the serving line are put into containers for the food pantry to distribute to their clients.
https://www.tntech.edu/volunteer/pantry.php

For two weeks around Stop Food Waste Day, dining services measures food waste and offers incentives for students who turn in a clean plate before they leave the main dining hall.


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:

TN Tech Dining has been trayless for over 5 years. We do not offer trays to students at any of our locations. Upon request, faculty and staff have access to trays.


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:

TN Tech Dining donates 40 meals each week to the campus food pantry using food that would otherwise be thrown away. At the end of the day, any cooked foods that have not been put on the serving line are put into containers for the food pantry to distribute to their clients.
https://www.tntech.edu/volunteer/pantry.php


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:

TN Tech strives to conserve resources and recycle waste materials using cost effective and sound management practices. Unless other arrangements are made for legal disposal (i.e. food service grease collection), these materials, including vegetable and other 'biodegradable' oils, must be disposed of through the Safety and Environmental Services office. The used oil is collected to a central point and recycled with a licensed contractor on a regular basis. TN Tech Dining implemented a recycling program for frying oil. The program reduces the packaging for frying oil used plus the plastic bottles used to ship oil.
https://new.dineoncampus.com/ttu/sustainability

In the Spring semester of 2019, the dining facilities received a Waste Audit by Eatable. During this audit, all of the food waste was collected from the entire operating day and sorted. The measured daily waste stream was recorded and broken down into three categories: landfill, recyclable, and compost. At the end of the audit, new practices were introduced to successfully implement a zero waste approach.


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:
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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:
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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:

TN Tech Dining has eliminated the use of reusable service ware in the main dining hall. There is no disposable service ware.


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:

Dining Services has a Reusable To-Go Container Program. A reusable green ecotray is offered to all students and staff who want to-go meals in the dining hall. Also, all catering disposables are biodegradable.


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:

The Starbucks and Au Bon Pain on campus offer a discount for reusable containers. The stores sell their own containers, but they will also discount personal containers.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

TN Tech Dining Services has implemented a recycling program for frying oil. The program reduces the packaging for frying oil that has been used and reduces the plastic bottles that are used to ship the oil.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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