Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.61
Liaison Tina Woolston
Submission Date Nov. 2, 2022

STARS v2.2

Tufts University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kelly Shaw
Nutrition Marketing Specialist
Tufts Dining
"---" 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 New Entry Food Hub CSA is a program of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry), an initiative of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and additional partners.

New Entry helps beginning, immigrant, and refugee farmers gain business and farm production skills and access to land, markets and other resources necessary to start a viable farm business.

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:

All of our dining locations are equally engaged in sustainability practices so there is no one particular location that is specifically sustainability themed. We host annual dining events to educate students on our sustainability practices and about ways to dine more sustainably and showcase local produce throughout the harvest season by using local fruit and vegetables in the creation of delicious chef-inspired dishes.

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:

Tufts Dining purchases items through Horse Listener's Orchard, a local organic farm.

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:

Tufts Dining has partnered with the student Eco-Reps and Gre-Eco/SEICO Reps to promote Meatless Mondays in the dining halls on campus encouraging students to make more sustainable choices. Carmichael Dining Center, one of the larger dining centers on campus, piloted a complete switch to Meatless Mondays.

Tufts Dining embraces the principles of Menus of Change and is a member of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative. Menus of Change leverages the combined talent of leaders in the culinary arts, business, public health, and environmental sciences to develop business-friendly solutions to today’s most pressing social and environmental concerns. Top priorities include serving less red meat less often; buying fresh, seasonal, local food as much as possible; moving legumes and plants to the center of the plate; focusing on whole, minimally processed foods; reducing portions and emphasizing calorie quality over quantity; and reducing added sugar, particularly in beverages. Each spring semester, Eat Healthy Tufts - A Focus on Flavor Dinner is featured to enlighten students on the Menus of Change principles. The majority of the food at this event is vegan and vegetarian.

We host annual dining events to educate students on our sustainability practices and about ways to dine more sustainably. We source local produce in the fall whenever possible and feature various Pop Up dining events to showcase chef-inspired local produce dishes. Many of the Pop Up events feature vegetarian cuisine, including the following: Butternut Bisque, Caprese Salad, Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob, Fried Green Tomatoes, Stuffed Zucchini, Local Tomato Salad, Roasted Beet & Kale Salad.

Recently Tufts Dining partnered with the Office of Sustainability to produce the "Farm To Plate: Reducing the Footprint of Tufts Dining" as part of the Path to Carbon Neutrality Webinar Series. You can read more about Dining practices in this student-authored article: https://tuftsobserver.org/hate-the-taste-of-food-waste-tufts-dining-on-sustainability/

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:

All of our dining facilities feature complete-protein vegan options on their menus, with our retail locations featuring them as well. The most abundant vegan offerings can be found in our two residential dining centers. Each residential dining center has its own vegetarian station where vegan and vegetarian items are featured for lunch and dinner. Each vegetarian station offers 3 entrees with a minimum of one being vegan. Typically, two of the three choices are vegan. In addition to the entrees, on the lunch menu there is always a vegan veggie burger offered along with an organic whole grain and organic legume and vegetables. This pattern is repeated at dinner with the exception of the vegan veggie burger. A vegan pizza is always available at lunch and at dinner at our pizza station, and our bountiful salad bars include an array of vegetables, greens, and regular as well as tofu. We also feature alternative dairy milks that are vegan including rice, almond, and chocolate and vanilla soy milk. Vegan desserts are featured on our menus at lunch and dinner.

The Eco-Reps also encourage students to eat meatless during "Meatless Meals" which happen throughout the academic year.

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 do label our vegan (VG) and vegetarian (V) foods at our dedicated vegetarian stations and for many of our grab & go products in our retail outlets so customers can make informed selections based on their food preference. We also label products which are organic, specifically our whole grains and legumes. Our local marinara and apple sauce made locally from local produce is labeled at the point of service. Over ripe bananas are frozen and used in smoothies with signage promoting this practice.

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:

Tufts Dining closely monitors trimmings in the central commissary kitchen and unused portions in all of their facilities. They use a waste tracking module in the food production software, Foodpro, to account for and value food waste. As a university, we produce about 50% less waste per meal than our Massachusetts counterparts.

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:

As a result of a successful pilot program, Tufts Dining removed trays from the two residential Dining Centers starting in the summer of 2010.


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:

The TUFTS FOOD RESCUE COLLABORATIVE is a partnership between Tufts Dining, students, staff/faculty, and the non-profit organization Food For Free, to minimize food waste at Tufts while at the same time addressing food insecurity in local host communities. We act locally on and off campus to fight hunger and redirect surplus food. The two branches are:

1. An undergraduate student community service club, the Leonard Carmichael Society "Food Rescue" group works with Dining services and area businesses to donate left-over but unserved food to local food pantries and shelters.
2. The Family Meals Program consists of a cohort of undergraduate student volunteers who package meals from dining hall surplus every day of the week. The Family Meals Program works with Tufts Dining to reduce edible food waste on campus, and with Cambridge nonprofit Food For Free which redistributes the meals to food-insecure residents of our community.


For large campus events such as Commencement we donate un-served food to the Veteran's Homeless Shelter in Boston.

Unopened food is collected at donation stations during spring move-out. Donated food is brought to a local food pantry or student-run food collection program.

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:

Our fryolator canola oil is collected by Newport Biodiesel when it is no longer useable to be converted into biodiesel.

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

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

The Tufts Composting Program has reduced waste of solid food and non-food products by over 80%. Tufts Dining has been composting since 1994.

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

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

The Tufts compost system consists of dozens of outdoor compost toters, residence hall compost bins run by the Eco-Reps, individual compost bins managed by eco-ambassadors (staff/faculty) or students living in apartments on or off campus; infrastructure in the dining halls, and composting service at special events.

Boston Campus: There are currently have five locations on the Boston campus which house green composting bins. Employees and students also have the option to compost in their offices or Posner Hall residence.

Grafton Campus: DVM students have compost buckets set up at each lecture hall to collect compostable waste generated during the day. Offices, Cummings School employees and students, may independently collect their own compost (at home or at school/office) and drop it off at the dump truck parked near the Goat Barn 1/Amelia Peabody Pavilion. Information on what can and cannot be composted is posted on the sign by the dump truck. The farm staff empties this dump truck regularly. Compost registrants complete a survey to evaluate basic knowledge of composting on campus in an effort to minimize compost contamination.

SMFA Campus: There are currently two public locations on the SMFA campus which house composting bins. There is also one outside toter location. Employees and students also have the option to compost in their offices or their Beacon St. residence halls.

Post-consumer waste is composted in three out of eight dining facilities.

Many events on all four campuses now have post-consumer composting bins available through our Zero-Waste events program. This includes the undergraduate matriculation lunch and dinner, the commencement luncheon located on the Medford/Somerville campus, and the President's Picnics on all four campuses. https://access.tufts.edu/zero-waste-events

For more information go to: https://access.tufts.edu/composting-tufts

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:

All food serviceware in the two residential dining halls is reusable.

Two of our retail units provide durable-ware (non-disposable) for eat-in customers.

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 of the containers used at Tufts dining services are recyclable or compostable (certified ASTM, BPI or are molded pulp fiber material).

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 Reusable Mug and Water Bottle Discount Program is in place
Use a Tisch Library or Fletcher School reusable mug and save 10¢ per purchase on any hot beverage at Mugar Café, Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, Commons Marketplace, Tower Café, Kindlevan Café, and SMFA Café.

You can also bring a Tufts University Choose-to-Reuse water bottle to Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, and Commons Marketplace for a discount on any fountain drink. Filtered water hydration stations are available in Commons Marketplace to offer an alternative to buying bottled drinks. Fill up your reusable water bottle for free!

Our reusable mugs and Tufts Nalgene leakproof water bottles are available for purchase at Commons Marketplace. All Fletcher students are given a reusable metal water bottle upon arrival.

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

Tufts strives to provide an inclusive dining experience to its patrons. In Fall of 2021 one of the two residential dining halls opened its doors as an entirely gluten and nut free facility. The other (Dewick-MacPhie) Dining Center has a large, separate, station that serves hot entrees that are free from the top 9 allergens.

There are daily halal options at lunch and dinner in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center. For lunch, halal protein choices include either a hamburger or hot dog grilled to order. At dinner, either halal chicken (breast or thigh) or steak is offered. Students should request the halal char-grilled protein from the culinarian at the station, and the protein will be cooked to order. The exact halal item being featured can be found by referencing the Dewick menu online at:

In addition, the chicken thigh meat sourced for the university is halal. When chicken thighs are served, whether in our residential dining centers or retail locations, the information posted will indicate that the item is halal. The chicken breast in some hot food items may also be halal. As ingredient information is posted at the point-of-service for all food served, customers have the ability to review ingredients to determine whether a particular food is permissible according to Islamic law.

Special meal arrangements are offered for Muslim students on meal plans when Ramadan is observed while school is in session. Meal Plan holders are able to convert the value of meals that will be missed (while fasting) into meal money. The meal money can be spent at campus dining facilities or with our off-campus food merchant partners. To qualify, students must first obtain authorization by contacting the Muslim chaplain prior to making arrangements through Tufts Dining Services.

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:

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.