Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.35
Liaison Trevor Ledbetter
Submission Date May 2, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Arizona
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 2.00 Benjamin Champion
Director
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?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:
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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 Student Unions dining services maintain a rooftop garden on top of the Student Union Memorial Center that provides some specialty produce for use in the dining operations. Dining services also purchases mushrooms from the MycoCats student mushroom growing operation on campus.


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 university partners with the Food in Route local farmers market organization to host a monthly farmers market on the central Mall gathering area of the university.


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:

"Approximately seventy percent of the dishes and sides that students can select from the Student Unions and contracted restaurants are vegetarian or vegan or can be made this way with substitution. We are also launching a new nutrition information calculator later this spring that will include icons for vegan and vegetarian options. The link for this should remain the same http://union.arizona.edu/dining/nutritioninfo/index.php and we will also offer a mobile app for this.

The Student Unions Senior Executive Chef and Registered Dietitian work together to create healthier options that are plant centric. UA is also one of 37 universities nationwide participating in the Partnership for a Healthier America's Healthier Campuses Initiative which includes criteria in which a plant based option is available where a meat based option is served."


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:

UA does not have a traditional eating environment, such as main cafeterias, where singling out a single meal for a special theme makes sense. Instead, UA has a variety of small restaurant/cafe options throughout campus, with both standard and rotating meal options. So, integration of more sustainable food options within this overall variety of food options on campus is the best we can do.


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:

UA does not have a traditional eating environment, such as main cafeterias, where singling out a single meal for a special theme makes sense. Instead, UA has a variety of small restaurant/cafe options throughout campus, with both standard and rotating meal options. So, integration of more sustainable food options within this overall variety of food options on campus is the best we can do.


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 university has multiple dining locations on campus that specialize in healthier food options, including emphasizing fresh fruits and vegetables as well as vegetarian and vegan food options. The university is also increasing the utilization of "health stations" within various eateries with much fresher and healthier foods available.


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?:
Yes

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

The UA Student Unions is hosting a design competition for students, with a substantial prize to the winning team, to design an expansion of the rooftop garden as well as new gardens in active student spaces adjoining the central and busy UA Mall.


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:

The UA Student Unions dining services maintains a full-time nutritionist on staff as one of its assistant directors, and integration of healthy food options throughout campus, as well as labeling of health-related attributes is a significant focus.


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:

The University of Arizona collects pre-consumer food waste in most of its on-campus restaurants as well as catering services. These materials are diverted to the UA Compost Cats program for local composting. This program is described in other sections of STARS on student engagement.

In addition, UA participates in the Food Waste Recovery Challenge organized by the EPA, and the food waste diversion numbers reported through the above collection efforts are included in our reporting to EPA for this competition.


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:

The University of Arizona currently has several restaraunts that feature trayless dining: Core, Sabor, Chick-fil-A, On Deck Deli, IQ Fresh, Redington, The Mesa Room and the Cellar Bistro.

The University of Arizona implements trays in certain retail areas for disability accessibility, as well for functionality.

Additionally, all University of Arizona dining options are priced a la carte or as plate deals thus encouraging patrons to purchase only what they want to eat. This financial incentive helps to reduce food waste generated at the University of Arizona.


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:

Leftover or surplus food is donated to the local Salvation Army in Tucson.


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:

Pre-consumer food waste is collected from most campus dining facilities for diversion to the UA Compost Cats program for composting.


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:

Preparation material food waste is collected by Dining Services and is picked up as part of a route by City of Tucson trucks. It is delivered to the Compost Cats facility at the San Xavier Cooperative Farm and composted by students. Because the pickups from campus are part of a route, there is no way to measure the tonnage contributed from the campus facilities.


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:

The Student Unions and local restaurants around campus work with the Compost Cats Program to compost post-consumer food waste. The waste is picked up by City of Tucson Trucks and then delivered to the San Xavier Cooperative Farm where students manage the UA's compostable waste to create a marketable-grade compost for use on campus and in the community. Because the pickups from campus are part of a route, there is no way to measure the tonnage contributed from the campus facilities.


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:

In the sit-down style dining operations among the variety of dining retail centers, reusable metal service ware and plates are utilized. In the grab-and-go style retail operations, disposable containers are utilized, but a large percentage of these are manufactured from recycled content.


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:

Through our Zero Waste Challenge efforts for some Athletics events, we have used UA Green Fund grants to supply compostable cups and some other items to athletics concessions areas for the games where we run zero waste programs. This has helped us increase our overall diversion rates for these events.


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:

Reusable mugs are in redesign but will be given out to incoming freshman and to Residence Life staff, however the mugs can be purchased for $3.29 plus tax at any of UA's dining areas. Using the reusable mug reduces the cost of a drink by a significant amount. For instance, if one purchases a 32oz. fountain drink without the mug the cost is $1.69, but if a customer uses the mug the cost is only $0.79, a 90 cent savings. If a patron purchases a hot drink or coffee there are similar savings in that purchase of a 32oz coffee would be greater than $2.30 plus tax without the mug, however with the mug the cost is only $1.19 plus tax. An average discount per ounce was determined for the following field.


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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These entries represent FY2015 data provided from the Student Unions dining services: latest update March 2016

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.