Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 52.36
Liaison Matthew Williams
Submission Date Dec. 4, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Florida
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kayla Caselli
Sustainability Manager
Gator Dining Services
"---" 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:

Gator Dining Services (GDS) follows Aramark’s Green Thread sustainability platform. Green Thread is an ongoing commitment to reduce our environmental impact through programs and practices that enrich and support the natural environment. The four focus areas include:
- Responsible sourcing:
- Locally Sourced: We are committed to prioritizing Fresh from Florida produce and continuing to expand this program into our everyday menus
- Humanely Raised: As of Spring 2019, our dining halls are serving cage-free shelled, liquid (excluding egg-white), and hard-boiled eggs.
- Sustainable Seafood: We are committed to meeting our goal to source 100% sustainable seafood.

https://www.aramark.com/files/green-thread-sustainable-seafood-report

- Climate-Healthy Menus: We are addressing climate risks through our purchasing practices and menu options.
- Waste minimization: composting, reducing single-use plastics, source reduction
- Efficient operations
- LED light conversion in the Reitz Union Food Court and Library West Starbucks. Plans to continue converting lights to LED throughout operations.
- LEED certification in numerous buildings with GDS operations:
- Gold: Gator Corner Dining Center, Broward Dining Center (Fresh Food Company), Reitz Union (Pollo Tropical, Starbucks, Panda Express, Croutons, Papa Johns, Wendy’s, Arredondo Room, Wing Zone Orange and Brew, Subway, Pod/Shake Smart), Heavener Hall, Au Bon Pain, Starbucks Library West
- Silver: Sun Terrace Food Court (Chick-fil-A, Einstein’s, Salad Creations, Starbucks, Panda Express), Turlington Hall (Subway, Jamba Juice), Rawlings Plaza (Subway, POD Market)
- Plans to upgrade large kitchen appliances such as the dishwasher at Gator Corner Dining Center which is projected to save an estimated $80,000 in utilities
- Transportation management: utilize two compact Ford Transit Connect Cargo Vans to decrease use of full-size cargo vans

https://www.aramark.com/responsibility#environmentalsustainability


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:

The University of Florida’s Field and Fork Program coordinates a Gator CSA for faculty, staff, and students to gain access to local produce from October through June. The qualifications for the vendors include “All farmers participating in the Gator CSA program must grow their own food on a farm within 250 miles of the University of Florida. If a farmer wishes to add a value-added product or a supplemental product from another local farm (also from within 250 miles), it too must meet all food safety rules for human consumption”. Field and Fork also has an on-campus student garden that provides experiential learning opportunities in an urban garden setting. It provides fresh produce to the University’s on-site pantry for food-insecure staff, faculty, and students, as well as community organizations when supply is in excess. Field and Fork’s missions include: production and food security, research and demonstration, student engagement and leadership, and community and healthy lifestyles.

https://fieldandfork.ufl.edu/programs/gator-csa/
https://fieldandfork.ufl.edu/about/our-mission/


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:

Both dining halls have designated vegan stations where diners can enjoy meals. Fresh Food Company offers lunch, dinner, and brunch on weekends at this designated station, whereas Gator Corner offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on weekends. Beyond these designated stations, the following complete-protein vegan options are offered daily throughout our dining halls:

Breakfast: Whole wheat sliced bread, Oatmeal, Either: Tofu (Gator Corner Only), Black Beans, Quinoa,

Lunch and Dinner: Whole wheat sliced bread and hamburger rolls, Chickpeas, Black beans, Hummus, Veggie burger, Alternating plant based protein at vegan station

All Day: Granola, Cheerios, Soy milk, Almond Milk, Individual peanut butter portion packets

Gator Corner Only: Whole Wheat Penne pasta, Either: Flax seeds, Chia seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Vegan station open at breakfast, Vegan dessert offered daily, Vegan smoothie offered Monday – Friday

https://gatordining.com/gator-corner-dining-center-menu/
https://gatordining.com/fresh-food-company-menu/

Croutons, a salad retail store in our student union, offer wraps and salads with choices such as tofu and walnuts as toppings. Our Chomp-it locations (Graham Oasis, Racquet Club, and Law School) offer the Beyond Meat burger patty. Catering services are able to customize menus to be vegan and some pre-selected options include an Asian themed buffet with numerous vegan options and roasted vegetable with hummus boxed lunch sandwiches.

https://uf.catertrax.com/upload/EverydayMenu2018.pdf?intOrderID=&intCustomerID=
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjenKH_v-vgAhWuneAKHb8XBzsQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fgatordining.com%2F&psig=AOvVaw3KQwEeywyQDnAMEbyk5Um8&ust=1551892441311738

Gator Dining Services is on the PETA Dean’s List for Vegan-Friendly schools (https://collegereportcard.peta.org/college/university-florida/)


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:

Fresh from Florida Fridays
On Friday we feature a unique Fresh from Florida produce item at both our dining halls. These items allow our diners to experience a wider variety of Florida-grown produce beyond our staple items. Some examples include aquaponic-grown romaine lettuce from Traders Hill Farm, hydroponic-grown tomatoes from Waterkist Farms, lacinato kale from Satur Farms, and hydroponic-grown butterhead lettuce from Bacon’s Select Produce.

https://www.followfreshfromflorida.com/
https://tradershillfarm.com/
http://baconsselectproduce.com/on-line-store/
http://www.saturfarms.com/
http://local.freshpoint.com/store_page/waterkist-farms/

Rethinking Food Waste Tabling
GDS hosted a tabling event where diners were invited to rethink their food waste by providing food samples using products typically categorized as food waste. GDS’ Sustainability Manger identified melon rinds as one of the top food waste items in the dining halls. GDS’ Campus Executive Chef then created three melon rind food products: chutney, pickled, and curried melon rinds. The event was labeled as “Losing My rind” and the three dishes were served as samples to spark conversations with various diners on our perceptions of food waste.

Earth Day Dining Hall Party
Every month GDS hosts a dining hall party with a corresponding themed menu. The dining hall party in April was Earth Day themed consisting of tabling with partnering organization such as the University of Florida’s Office of Sustainability, University of Florida’s Field and Fork Farm and Gardens, and a Morning Star representative sampling vegan chicken nuggets. A plant-forward menu was offered during the party and included:
- Grilled Vegetable Quesadilla with Fresh from Florida zucchini and yellow squash
- Fresh from Florida Grilled Green Beans
- Primavera Pizza with Fresh from Florida zucchini and yellow squash
- Italian Roasted Vegetables with Fresh from Florida zucchini
- Tomato Lentil Soup
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Curried Chickpeas
- Daily salad bar: variety of lettuce, beans, peppers, mushrooms, and more plant-based options
- Daily sauté station with broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, garbanzo beans, and Fresh from Florida zucchini as options


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

Throughout the week we integrate Fresh from Florida items into our menus as daily staples based on the seasonal produce list offered by our produce vendors. Throughout the Spring 2019 semester, Fresh from Florida staple produce items included: green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, strawberries, corn on the cob, green peppers, mushrooms (shitake, button, sliced, portobello), eggplant, tofu, oranges, cucumbers, and green cabbage.

https://www.followfreshfromflorida.com/

Plant-Forward Earth Day Creations
During the week of April 22 – April 26, both dining halls offered Earth Day Veggie Creations at our deli stations. These menu items, such as a buffalo cauliflower wrap, are largely or entirely plant-based meals.


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:

Visual icons are offered on our online menu as well as our posted nutrition cards if an item is vegan, vegetarian, whole grain, plant-forward, or an eat well selection. These leaf symbols serve to be an easily recognized symbol for diners to identify a personally or environmentally sustainable food choice. This can be seen all over the dining halls from the made to order stations, the self-serve salad bars, and prepared entrees and sides.

https://gatordining.com/our-healthy-for-life-commitment/

Fresh from Florida
Daily menus at the dining halls also offer labeled Fresh from Florida ingredients with information about the crop/product, farm/producer, location of the farm/producer (when available), and miles from campus. These produce items are grown and produced in the state of Florida.


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:

As of January 2019, GDS has begun a multi-dimensional partnership with the Field and Fork Campus Food Program (F&F). F&F consists of an on-campus food pantry for income-challenged faculty, students, and staff, as well as a campus garden using sustainable growing methods. Since March 2019, F&F has composted coffee grounds from two of our six Starbucks locations allowing GDS to divert more of our waste from the landfill while providing F&F with a valuable material for their compost heap. During April 2019, F&F hosted their annual Fresh off the Farm event to celebrate local food. GDS helped F&F reach their goal of the event being zero waste by supplying over 400 reusable plates and bowls. The cleaning and sanitation services of these dishes post-event were also provided. At the event, GDS’ sustainability manager partnered with a student-run food donation group, Campus Kitchens Project (CKP), to recreate the Losing My Rind tabling. The melon rinds were sourced from one of our residential dining halls and were prepared by the student volunteers of CKP. In May 2019, GDS will begin contributing funds towards a student internship through collaboration with F&F and LA Urban Farms. The intern will be maintaining aeroponic towers in both residential dining halls. The herbs and produce from these towers will be harvested by the student intern and donated to the F&F pantry.

https://pantry.fieldandfork.ufl.edu/
http://laurbanfarms.com/


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 Healthy for Life platform is GDS’ Health and Wellness initiative. It seeks to enable, educate, encourage, and engage the campus community by creating a culture of health and well-being to help students live healthier lives.
- Enable:
- National Menu Labeling compliance throughout the campus met and maintained
- Debut of a common allergen-free True Balance Station at Fresh Food Company residential dining hall
- On-line menus now include caloric counts and meal calculator for all items
- Educate:
- In-services with Food Service Staff regarding handling food allergy / food preference requests
- One-on-one appointments and dining hall tours with our registered dietician to help students and parents with diet restrictions/limitations/allergies
- Encourage:
- GDS is a component of the University of Florida’s Nutrition Health Communication Campaign and The Partnership for a Healthier America – Healthy Campus Initiative.
- Ensuring more consistent vegan options and awareness of made without gluten items are available upon request.
- New: Vegan Pizza at the Pizza Station
- Increasing Health and Wellness options at all meal times.
- Increasing whole grain options.
- Engage
- “Dine with the Dietitians” series hosted in the Dining Halls in collaboration with Registered Dieticians from the University of Florida’s RecSports and Student Heath Care Center.
- Collaboration with University of Florida’s Gatorwell in BeYOUtiful event and “Eat Well Live Well Expo” (for National Nutrition Month), and National Food Day.
- Collaboration with Chef and marketing for Pop Up dining hall events.
https://gatordining.com/our-healthy-for-life-commitment/
https://gatordining.com/wp-content/uploads/Getting-Healthy-Staying-Healthy.pdf
- 30% of main dishes are vegan or vegetarian

Culturally Diverse Menu Items
Culturally diverse menu items are part of the everyday menus at both residential dining halls through dedicated stations. Gator Corner Dining Center has an International Station, while Fresh Food Company has a World Station. Both locations offer recipes from Asian, Italian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, African, and Caribbean cuisines for lunch and dinner seven days per week. Some examples of the recipes offered at these stations include sushi, chicken tikka masala, and mojo pork served with fried plantains and steamed yucca.


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:

Aramark is recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion for our commitment to reduce food loss and waste in our operations by 50 percent by 2030. All food-production locations track and record their daily waste through the Aramark waste portal. The waste is categorized into production, service, and storage waste allowing use to understand the source of the waste and intervene accordingly. Other waste reduction practices include production worksheets, standard recipes, front-to-back storage systems, trim standards, small batch cooking, and portion control.
GDS operates LeanPath 360 machines at both dining halls (Gator Corner Dining Center and Fresh Food Company), as well as our catering kitchen to track pre-consumer food waste. In 2018 GDS was recognized for setting and completing the most food waste reduction goals with the Lean Path system.

"Team set 62 goals this school year and accomplished 45 of those goals. This site has accomplished more goals than any other site to-date. University of Florida COGS as a percent of revenue dropped from 28.28% in October at the start of their goal setting journey and ended as 22.07% in March. LeanPath estimates this percent change equates to a savings of $29,071. Since starting LeanPath in February 2017, the site has reduced waste by 44.84% overall or the equivalent of $49,917 compared to their baseline".

The LeanPath Spark post-consumer food waste prevention system will be implemented into both dining halls before the end of 2019.


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:

GDS has been trayless since 2008. Other efforts to reduce post-consumer waste include training staff on portioning guidelines like choosing the right serving utensil for the recipe. Menus and food offerings are also able to be customized, such as asking for no sauce or to leave a certain ingredient out, with the intentions of adhering closer to each diner’s individual palate. The hope is the customization should decrease the amount of post-consumer waste caused by a residential dining facility with high volume and preset menus.

https://www.gainesville.com/news/20081021/trayless-dining-to-save-uf-ton-of-food


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
No

A brief description of the food donation program:

No, a partnership with a food donation organization is in progress but not yet implemented.


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:

GDS has been recycling used cooking oil since 1995. Our current recycling vendor is Quest Resource Management Group who turns 90% of the oil is used for animal food and the remaining 10% is used for biodiesel. In 2018 this led to the diversion of 41,928 pounds of cooking oil.


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:

Since March 2014, pre-consumer food waste is being composted into a soil amendment through a partnership with the University of Florida’s Facilities Services. https://www.facilitiesservices.ufl.edu/departments/resource-management/recycling/recycling-guide/food-waste/

GDS also partners with the Field and Fork Student Gardens and Organic Gardens to compost coffee grounds and lemon rinds. In 2018, the partnership led to the diversion of an estimated over 9,000 pounds of coffee grounds and 16,000 pounds of lemon rinds. The containers used for the coffee grounds program are five-gallon buckets that originally held food products in several operations. This allows GDS to repurpose already circulating materials rather than seeking out new containers.

https://sites.google.com/site/uforganicgardens/home


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:

Since March 2014, food waste and compostable certified materials are separated by GDS staff at the dish return unit at both of our dining halls. At this time, other locations do not offer post-consumer composting receptacles. A post-consumer composting pilot in our student union food court consisting of six retail stores will be launched in May 2019. This will be a collaborative effort by the university, Office of Sustainability, and GDS to educate and guide people on how to properly sort their waste.


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:

GDS’ dining halls, Arredondo Room, Camelia Court Café, and non-national brand catering operations boast dine-in reusable service ware options such as plates, bowls, mugs, silverware, serving dishes, serving utensils, cloth napkins, and cups. Catering operations also offer the use of reusable service ware for events outside of the university’s student union


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:

As of January 7, 2019 all GDS locations have switched to compostable straws. All but four of our locations use EcoProducts clear PLA-7 compostable straws. Wendy’s and Subway locations are the only exceptions as they use compostable straws of the following brands respectively: G2 by Chef’s Choice PLA-7 straws and Karat Earth paper straws. At the dining halls, compostable to-go options consist of Eco-Product hot coffee cups, silverware, to-go boxes, soup containers, and cups used for the vegan smoothies at Gator Corner. Retail locations with compostable containers include: Eco-Product salad bowls (Croutons), GenPak Havest Fiber food containers (Pollo Tropical, Panda Express, Wing Zone, Chomp-it locations), Ecotainer cups (used for water cups, alcoholic beverages), and PepsiCo fountain cups (used at most locations). Compostable disposables are available for use in zero-waste catering events where reusables may not be convenient or possible. The host(s) of the event has the opportunity to request post-consumer compost bins from the University of Florida’s Facilities Services to participate in the on-site composting program.

http://www.g2bychefschoice.com/straws-1
http://karatpackaging.com/karat-earth/
http://www.internationalpaper.com/docs/default-source/english/company/businesses/ecotainer-product.pdf?sfvrsn=4
https://www.ecoproducts.com/index.php
https://www.genpak.com/harvest/products/
https://classicfare.gatordining.com/zero-waste-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:

GDS offers three reusable container discounts for diners across campus
1. $3.50 Gator-logo cup that allows diners to purchase fountain beverage refills for $0.99
2. $0.25 discount on coffee purchases when customers bring in their own mugs to various coffee vendors around campus including Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, and POD Markets
3. Reusable to-go box container at our two dining halls. The reusable container is priced at a one-time fee of $3.50, while we also offer a compostable to-go container priced at $0.50 for each to-go meal. Although the reusable container costs more up-front, diners can gain a return-on-investment for them after purchasing seven of the disposable compostable 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:

GDS has been styrofoam food container free since 2011 and plastic bag-free since 2013.

During the transition to compostable straws, about 25,000 of the previously in place plastic straws were diverted from the landfill via a donation to the Repurpose Project. The Repurpose Project is a “non-profit junk shop with a mission of salvaging valuable resources left behind by traditional reuse markets”.
http://www.repurposeproject.org/

During Spring 2019, GDS went through a dinnerware upgrade at both residential dining halls leaving behind over 1,500 plates and bowls in need of a new home. With the help from the University of Florida’s Office of Sustainability, GDS has managed to donate over 500 plates to date to various organizations. GDS plans to divert the remaining plates before the end of the year. Most of these plates have gone to various offices on the university campus in order to help these offices become certified by the Green Recognition for Office and Workspaces (GROW) program.

GDS diverted more than 50 fluorescent light bulbs and two computer monitors through the Office of Sustainability’s Spring Collection Day.

GDS responsibly disposed of approximately 8 computer monitors, 4 printers, 3 keyboards, and other various electronics through the local Best Buy’s recycling program.

The CO2 cartridges used at the six on-campus Starbucks locations are continuously collected and recycled as scrap metal.
https://www.facilitiesservices.ufl.edu/departments/resource-management/recycling/recycling-guide/metal/

50 plastic and 13 metal hotel pans were diverted from the landfill through a donation to a student-run food rescue and donation non-profit, Campus Kitchens Project.
https://campuskitchens.org/locations/#university-of-florida


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Information for the dining credits is for FY18/19. Information for the rest of the STARS submission is for FY17/18.

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.