Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.79
Liaison Ryan Chabot
Submission Date April 23, 2024

STARS v2.2

University of Central Florida
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.88 / 2.00 Ryan Chabot
Sustainability Coordinator
Arboretum and Sustainability Initiatives
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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:
UCF has a community-supported agriculture program through the UCF Arboretum where student volunteers and interns grow organic produce in an organic community garden. The produce harvested is largely donated to the Knights Helping Knights Pantry where students in need can access free resources. Dining services also offers a Farmer’s Market with local produce available to purchase using meal swipes or $6 a bag.

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:
There is a Plant Forward Station in the dining halls which highlights vegan and vegetarian entree alternatives.

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:
UCF has Local Restaurant Row programming in the Student Union and the John T. Washington Center which has rotating weekly vendors which showcase local and diverse cuisine from restaurants in Orlando. Additionally, during Earth Month, dining offers local menus and local vendor showcases.

Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
0

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 Services offer diverse daily meatless offerings at both dining halls. The Plant Forward Station often features guests to showcase different plant-based food providers. During earth Month, dining offers local menus and local vendor showcases. Additionally, Cool Food menu items ae offered which are lowering Carbon Emissions through their ingredients and localized recipes.

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:
Dining Services offers vegan entrees and offerings daily in both of our dining halls, including but not limited to soy tofu, soy-based chicken strips and beef crumble, plant-based black bean slider patties, and lentil and mushroom meatballs. The majority of our pasta is vegan, and we also offer vegan pizza dough and vegan cheese. They also offer vegan desserts. Featured local restaurants such as Purple Ocean offers an organic, vegan and vegetarian menu.

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:
Menu items are labeled using brightly-colored, leaf-shaped messages on dining hall food options to signify vegan, vegetarian, whole-grain, or gluten free selections.

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:
Dining Services used to utilize LeanPath, but they have transitioned to using a similar proprietary solution for measuring and tracking waste for all locations on campus to reduce pre-consumer waste via forecasting tools.

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:
Dining Services has been trayless since 2009 to minimize food waste, conserve energy and water, and reduce the number of cleaning chemicals entering the waste stream.

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 Arboretum donates all unconsumed, harvested produce and herbs to Knights Helping Knights Pantry. This facility is open to all students free of charge. Day-old Einsteins Bagels are donated to dining hall facilities.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:
No

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:
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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 March of 2024, multiple UCF units (Arboretum and Sustainability Initiatives, Dining Services, Business Services, Recycling Services) and Aramark partnered with O-Town Compost, a local Central Florida composting service, to begin a pilot project at one of the two on-campus dining halls on the UCF Main Campus ('63 South). All pre-consumer food waste is placed into bins provided by O-Town Compost, who take food waste to local farms. In return for this service, the UCF Arboretum and Sustainability Initiatives department's Community Farm and Garden will receive compost every semester. The vast majority of the Community Farm and Garden's harvest goes to the Knights Helping Knights Pantry, a unit on campus that provides fresh food, non-perishable items, toiletries, and clothing for all students, free of charge.

The success of this pilot program will be evaluated at the end of the Fall 2024 semester, at which time this program is projected to expand to include all pre-consumer food waste from the other dining hall on UCF's Main Campus (Knightro's), as well as the Student Union.

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:
Dining Services uses reusable service ware for dine-in meals to minimize food waste, conserve energy and water, and reduce the number of cleaning chemicals entering the waste stream.

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 sells reusable to-go containers for $5, or students can buy them using dining dollars. Students may bring their used to-go containers to either ’63 South or Knightro’s.

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:
Starbucks also offers discounts to customers who bring their own mugs.

A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:
Wellness and Health Promotion Services and the UCF Arboretum make up a FreshU Initiative. FreshU offers workshops, cooking demonstrations, cooking classes, and other hands-on educational experiences to increase accessibility to fresh food on campus.

Cooking Demonstration: Our nutrition coordinator teaches students how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diets and reduce food waste. Students will get to see the process, taste the dish, and take home a recipe card so they can try making it themselves later.

Cooking Classes: Like our cooking demos, students will get to taste the dish and take the recipe home, but this time they will also get to experience cooking! Students are broken up into cooking stations, each containing all the necessary tools to complete the dish. We believe hands-on experiences allow students to learn and practice the techniques used to apply them later.

Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
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