Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.25
Liaison Meredith Moore
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Meredith Moore
Sustainability Programs Coordinator
Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment
"---" 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?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

Housing Dining Services is the main customer of the Illinois Student Sustainable Farm. Housing purchases 90 - 95% of the food grown on the farm and serves it in our residential dining facilities. Housing was also instrumental in the initial funding of the farm. Items grown on the farm are highlighted in the dining centers and the farm also operates a produce stand weekly on the main quad.


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:

Housing Dining Services operates Field of Greens, a Vegan / Vegetarian only restaurant with a focus on sustainability. The focus here is fresh foods with a low carbon footprint.


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:

Housing Dining Services makes every effort to purchase locally and from these type vendors. These type purchases are mandated by the Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act as well as other state procurement guidelines. University Housing works with our prime vendor, Gordon Food Service to support and purchase items from vendors that are Business Enterprise Program (BEP) certified. The GFS contract with Illinois Public Higher Education Consortium (IPHEC) also includes a goal to purchase from BEP certified vendors.


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

Vegan and Vegetarian entrees are served at all meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner at all 5 of our residential dining facilities where we serve 10000 to 12000 meals per day. Our 5 retail locations and food truck highlight vegan and vegetarian items. Housing hosts 2-3 annual “Know Your Food, Know Your Impact” events that highlights various healthy, low impact foods. Housing has also worked to reduce high impact proteins, such as those from ruminant animals, as a function of our menus. We still offer these items but far less often.


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:

Illinois is routinely among the PETA top 10 most vegan friendly campuses. Housing offers vegan supplements at all dining operations with multiple vegan entrees and sides at every meal. Housing operates two dedicated Vegan / Vegetarian dining units, Field of Greens and Soytainly.


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:

Customers can use the Illinois App and EatSmart (NetNutrition) website to view all vegan and vegetarian menu offerings that are prepared on-site in all dining units, including all-you-care-to-eat dining halls, cafes and retail stores. Additionally, vegan and vegetarian options are labeled at point-of-service in the all-you-care-to-eat dining halls.


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:

We use Leanpath, a food waste tracking system. The system elements include a in scale, camera, and touchscreen user interface in each dining unit. Before discarding any food waste (overproduction, expired items, trimmings, etc.), a culinary team member places the food on the scale, the camera takes a picture of the waste, and the user answers a few questions, with just a few short taps. That data is then automatically transmitted in real-time to the LeanPath Online Reporting Dashboard. The information gathered is reviewed weekly by our Chefs and plans are implemented by our dining unit management and culinary staff to reduce waste.


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:

All dining units in Housing Dining Services have been trayless since 2008.


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:

Prepared and unserved foods are donated to local food banks. There is a Registered Student Organization Dedicated to packaging and delivering this food. Raw, unprepared foods are donated to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. A small portion of unused food is also prepared daily for a program called Everybody Eats. The program provides free meals for those with food insecurity at our 2 largest dining 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?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

Used cooking oil is recycled by Mahoney Environmental into biodiesel or used for research by student in the Illinois Biodiesel Initiative. All food waste is turned into energy and fertilizer in an anerobic digester at the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District.


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:

All food waste from residential dining is run through our Grind 2 Energy systems and taken to a digester where it is turned into energy and fertilizer. All 5 of our residential dining facilities operate one of these systems. Both pre and post-consumer food waste is used in the system.


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:

There are two on-campus composting options. There is one tumbler at the National Soybean Research Center and a bakashi composting system at Davenport Hall.


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:

100% of dine-in service ware is reusable.


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:

Reusable to-go containers are available as part of our Good2Go program at all residential dining locations. Compostable items are used in our retail locations wherever possible.


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:

The residence halls and nearby coffee shops offer a discount for bringing your own water bottle or coffee cup.


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

Dining has a strong focus on wellness as well as sustainable food options through
its resident Dietician.

Housing recycles used cooking oil, glass, paper, cardboard, plastic, tin cans, aluminum and when available, we will resume recycling nitrile gloves.


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.