Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.47
Liaison Sally DeLeon
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Maryland, College Park
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Allison Lilly
Assistant Director, New Initiatives
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:

UMD Dining Services’ Sustainable Food Committee, including students, staff and faculty, advises the department on sustainable goals and strategies. UMD Dining Services promotes sustainable food at the University of Maryland and established the following goals in 2012:
1) 1-4% annual increase in sustainable foods purchases (meeting the criteria identified for sustainable food categories including local, fair, humane, and ecologically sound) based on financial feasibility and product availability
2) Annual, incremental increases in sourcing from local growers, with special emphasis on Maryland growers and harvesters
3) Annual, incremental increases in sourcing unprocessed, whole foods
4) 20% sustainable food by 2020

Sustainble food commitment: http://dining.umd.edu/sustainability/sustainable-food-commitment/


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:

Dining Services partners with students and other campus departments to grow food on and for campus. In campus community gardens, students learn about growing herbs, flowers, and vegetables and get involved in campus sustainability and community. Expanded growing and learning opportunities can be found at the Terp Farm Project, Dining Services sustainable, vegetable farm, located at the UMD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Terp Farm grows produce for the campus dining program, supports educational opportunities for students, and provides food to those in need. Since Terp Farm’s inception in the beginning of 2014, Terp Farm has grown over 47,011 pounds for dining operations 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 Farmers Market at Maryland brings local vendors to campus each Wednesday from April through November. Located in the center of campus, students can find local produce, meats, cheeses, eggs, bread, and other local goods at the Market. The market hosts student interns who learn how to organize and run a farmers market. During the Summer of 2017, a student apprentice at Terp Farm initiated a cut flower CSA at the Farmers Market to bring locally sourced fresh flowers to the campus community. The Terp Farm Flower CSA is expanding in its second season, through the leadership of two new students in an Institute of Applied Agriculture Independent Study.


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 a dedicated vegan station at each of our three major dining halls. Additionally there are vegan and vegetarian selections across all dining room stations and suring special dinners and pop-ups. UMD received an A in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal’s (PETA’s) annual rating of Vegan Friendly Campus. Through the Dining Services Advisory Board (DASB), Dining Services regularly conducts focus-groups with vegan and vegetarian students to continuously improve the offerings and program.


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:

All specials include a vegan option. Additionally, Dining Services hosts dining events that focus on low impact dining and are inspired by the Menus of Change Initiative. On Earth Day, the dining halls feature sustainability focused meal choices. This event features themed meals from around the world to make students consider their impact on a global scale. This signage and activities ask how a single person’s actions might change their contribution to global emissions and their overall negative impact on the planet. Earth Day menus are themed as low carbon dining, focusing on vegetarian and low meat options. Students are encouraged to learn more about their options through signage and information about each unique meal.


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:

UMD Dining Services hosts a number of sustainably-themed events to raise student awareness. These events include a Fall Harvest Festival, and an Earth Day Dinner, amongst other events. These events incorporate locally grown ingredients and engage students in activities to learn more about their food and its roots. Students participate in scavenger hunts and interact with staff while picking up their food items. Many of these events include local musicians and items to emphasis the concepts of localism and sustainability. Dining Services partners with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and other campus partners to bring educational booths and activities to these events as well.


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:

Dining Services operates the Green Tidings Food Truck on campus which features local, sustainable cuisine to the campus community. Green Tidings purchases its food from vendors who are certified humane or local in the PA, MD, VA, & NJ areas. This truck operates during lunch hours, Monday-Friday. Additionally, the Maryland Student Run Food Co-Op resides in the Student Union and serves as a meeting place for those interested in both sustainable foods and attitudes. This student run outlet features many vegetarian and vegan items on their menu. Together, student workers and volunteers cooperate to provide cheap, healthy, veg-friendly food at fair prices.


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:

Dining Services informs students about sustainable projects and events that are going on in the dining halls and on campus. Sustainability table tents and posters are rotated weekly with nutrition themed signage. Topics range from updates about sustainability events or composting, recycling, meat consumption, and more. Students also contribute to this information sharing by assisting in the design of signage and contributing content ideas.


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:

Dining Services hosts student interns who lead sustainable food projects ranging from the Terp Farm, Farmers Market at Maryland, UMD Campus Pantry, Student Waste Audit Coordinator and Green Dining Internship. Projects include: data analysis, sustainable food purchases analysis, waste auditing, outreach activities, etc. Dining Services also hosts weekly office hours to meet with students to assist with research projects, class assignments, student org initiatives and discuss sustainability initiatives on campus. Guest lectures and a bi-yearly sustainability symposium hosted by Dining Services also assist with reaching out to students to showcase current sustainability projects. A link to the last symposium can be found below:
http://dining.umd.edu/sus_post/student-presentations/


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:

Dining Services manages the UMD Campus Pantry in collaboration with other partners on campus and through the leadership of student interns. The UMD Campus Pantry provides emergency food to students and staff in need. Additionally, Dining Services supports a campus-wide study of food insecurity and student well being in collaboration with the UMD Counseling Center. Through these initiatives, Dining Services aims to eliminate food insecurity on campus.


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:

University of Maryland participates in Recyclemania, a friendly competition for college recycling programs. Additionally, the University of Maryland’s Climate Action Plan contains waste reduction goals to divert solid waste from landfills to other locations. Dining Services is part of this commitment and serves a vital role in its composting contributions. Finally, the Campus Pantry and Food Recovery Network, a student led program, take excess food from campus and provide it to those in need.


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:

Beginning during the 2016-17 Academic School year, Dining Services implemented Anytime Dining. Patrons are provided with plates to put their food on, which are deposited on a rotating carousel after meals are finished. This eliminates the need for trays. Students use of plates over trays leads to reasonable portion sizes, as students cannot take as much food in a single trip. To encourage this trend, Dining Services also introduced smaller plates and bowls which reduced the maximum portion size and stopped students from taking more than they could eat.


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:

UMD-DS partnered with the Food Recovery Network in September, 2011, to improve waste reduction and enhance campus social responsibility. The Food Recovery Network is a student-led organization started at UMD that collects unused food from the dining halls, catered events, and concessions program and donates it to those in need in Washington, D.C. The Senior Executive Chef and unit management teams coordinate with the student leaders in order to effectively and safely run this program. Dining Services also runs a campus pantry to assist students and staff on campus who are food insecure. This pantry’s stock come from donations from Dining’s Terp Farm, excess food supplies from our warehouse, and donations from the campus community.


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:

Dining Services diverts food materials from landfills for composting purposes. Cooking oil is recycled and turned into biodiesel.


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:

UMD-Dining Services works with the Department of Building and Landscape Services to compost pre-consumer food wastes in the Diner, South Campus Dining Room, Denton/Catering and at the Student Union. Pre-consumer food waste from the Salad Room at South Campus dining hall is turned into soil amendment on site, and the product is then used for campus rooftop gardens.


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:

Dining Services collects all pre and post-consumer organic waste for compost. This includes all waste from Dining Halls and Dining locations around campus. Composting is utilized at large special events including Maryland Day. Post-consumer food waste and paper towel composting is also being piloted by Facilities Management in office building kitchens and bathrooms. This composting material is sent to Western Branch Composting Facility.


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 only utilizes reusable service ware for “dine in” meals. With the implementation of Anytime Dining, students are no longer permitted to take their meals from the dining halls and all meals are now consumed inside of the dining halls. This program eliminated 6.3 million disposable items from our waste stream annually. All plates, silverware, and cups in the dining halls are 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:

Residential dining program is eat-in without disposable containers, but when to-go items are used, they are compostable. These items are utilized on the Green Tidings Food Truck as well as for Catering Events that occur on campus.


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:

Dining Services locations offer a twenty cent discount for bringing one’s own mug or cup to consume beverages. There is also a five cent discount for bringing one’s own bag at campus convenience stores.


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:

Dining Services continuously looks for improvement in its ability to minimize waste. The best way we do this is through working with students on new ideas. Historically, the student groups on campus such as the RHA and SGA have come up with great ideas to improve our sustainability. One such project right now is a reusable bag initiative proposed by the SGA which would provide students with reusable bags to use in the Dining Halls instead of the plastic bags offered.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

University of Maryland Dining Services uses the fall semester to track progress on Sustainable Food goals. In keeping with the metrics used for Dining Services goals, we have used total expenditures for 8/25/14-12/31/14 on this metric (and not total annual expenditures).

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.