Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.34
Liaison Sally DeLeon
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2022

STARS v2.2

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 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:
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. The in-person, on-campus Farmers Market was paused in Spring 2020 to accommodate COVID-19 safety measures. An online, virtual market was created to find, contact, and support local vendors. Find more information at: farmersmarket.umd.edu The student team at the Terp Farm manage a cut flower CSA at the Farmers Market to bring locally sourced fresh flowers to the campus community. This program was paused due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.

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. The program was paused due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis and need for this staff team to assist with Quarantine and Isolation meals.

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:
The University of Maryland procurement process includes language that encourages participation and offers support to disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and local small and medium sized enterprises in all bids.

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:
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 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 during 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 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:
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 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 the Campus Race to Zero Waste (previously 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, takes excess food from campus and provides 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:
During the 2016-2017 academic year, Dining Services implemented Anytime Dining. During typical service, patrons are provided with plates to put their food on, which are deposited on a rotating carousel after meals are finished, eliminating 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. As a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, all food was served with disposable, carry-out packaging (compostable and recyclable where feasible). However, the dining halls have remained trayless.

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:
Dining Services 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 programs 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 comes 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?:
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:
Dining Services collects all pre- and post-consumer organic waste for compost. This includes all waste from Dining Halls and Dining locations around campus.

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 compost collection is also available in office building kitchens and bathrooms. This composting material is sent to the Prince Georges County 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. As a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, all food was served with disposable, carry-out packaging (compostable and recyclable where feasible).

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:
In normal operations, residential dining programs are 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. As a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, all food was served with disposable, carry-out packaging (compostable and recyclable where feasible).

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:
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.

A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:
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. Starting in 2020, all produce grown on-campus through the Community Learning Garden is donated to UMD’s Campus Pantry and distributed to students, staff, faculty, and local community members. Learn more at: https://umdphgarden.wixsite.com/commlearninggarden/about 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 2014, Terp Farm has grown more than 82,259.5 pounds for dining operations on campus or the UMD Campus Pantry. Learn more at: http://terpfarm.umd.edu/ Dining Services also manages the UMD Campus Pantry, a food pantry dedicated to alleviating food insecurity in the UMD community by providing food to students, staff, and faculty in need. Between 2014 and 2020, the Campus Pantry has made over 20,000 distributions. In the 2020 calendar year alone, the Campus Pantry distributed over 285,000 pounds of food. Learn more at: http://campuspantry.umd.edu/

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:
University of Maryland Dining Services uses the fall semester to track progress on Sustainable Food goals.

University of Maryland Dining Services uses the fall semester to track progress on Sustainable Food goals.

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.