Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.09
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of New Hampshire
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jennifer Andrews
Project Director
Sustainability Institute
"---" 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?:

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

Leaders in Slow Food UNH and the EcoGastronomy program have hosted a winter farmer's market on campus for several years running (though it has been on hiatus since March 2020 due to COVID event restrictions.) See https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2018/04/farmers-market-comes-mub.

The UNH nutrition program regularly places nutrition students to support SeaCoast Eat Local, a nonprofit organization that advocates eating local food for the health of the community, environment, culture and economy. The students complete their NUTR 600 field experience supporting Seacoast Eat Local's programs to make local food accessible to all through the SNAP to Farm program, the Granite State Match Program, education and outreach, and by running multiple farmers markers in Durham and surrounding communities.

In addition, UNH Cooperative Extension provides education and technical support to producers who grow food for sale at farmers markets, CSAs and other direct markets across New Hampshire. In addition, Cooperative Extension's Master Gardener Program often sends volunteers to answer gardening inquiries at local farmers markets.

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?:

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

UNH Dining supports the University Dairy Bar, a 3 Star Green Restaurant certified dining facility, themed as "Local, Sustainable, Fresh."
The restaurant's initiatives focus on reducing waste and providing both sustainable and healthy food options. This is advertised to patrons through signage that highlights procurement from local farms, steps and criteria that led to Green Restaurant certification,
"Guiding Stars" on the menu to indicate the nutritional information of offerings, and other practices that the Dairy Bar implements towards sustainability, including the availability of reusable to-go containers, and the composting of pre- and post-consumer food waste.

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?:

A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:

UNH strives to source from social enterprises, and local SME's. See https://www.unh.edu/dining/sustainability/local-food-awareness

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

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events or promote plant-forward options?:

A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:

We feature the WildCat Plate in our dining halls, which cues and reinforces the choice of fruits, vegetables, and healthy plant proteins as the foundation of healthy eating.

Blog posts like this one are part of the regular stream of education and awareness building about plant-forward options at UNH: https://www.unh.edu/healthyunh/blog/nutrition/2020/08/going-plant-based

In addition, we host low impact events such as the "Flavor Forward Luncheon," which includes only plant-based items on the main food line. “Flavor forward” messaging has been adopted to address low attendance at dining events that were previously marketed as “meatless.” These events are focused on lower impact and healthier food choices by highlighting plant-based options that are 2 stars or higher within the Guiding Stars Program.

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?:

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

Dining Services offers labeled vegan options at every meal daily in each of the three dining halls. The Stillings and Holloway Commons dining facilities both offer full option vegan food stations every day.

UNH has integrated"plant-forward" options as a feature in all of our Dining Halls, and features them as part of our Healthy UNH program.

Philbrook dining hall has an allergen-friendly station with vegan options across food groups, excluding the primary protein offered. However, at least one of the main course options outside of the allergen-friendly station at Philbrook is always vegan and includes a protein source. Students can also go online to view the daily menu for each dining hall, which includes a vegan category.

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?:

A brief description of the sustainability labelling and signage in dining halls:

All UNH dining halls feature an infographic with the Menus of Change principles, which focus on supporting healthy and environmentally sustainable food choices. Rotating Menus of Change principles are routinely featured on the dining halls’ table tents to get patrons engaged and thinking about sustainability. More information on Menus of Change is available here: https://www.menusofchange.org/principles-of-healthy-sustainable-menus.

Vegetarian and vegan options are indicated prominently on menu signage.

Also prominent is signage placed throughout the Dining Halls supporting our "Take Lass Waste Less" campaign.

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?:

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

UNH Dining facilities use the Aurora System FoodPro Food Management System to help make more efficient dining decisions. Unused food is weighed at the end of the night, which generates a weekly report. Dining then uses these reports to reduce excess waste for specific food items based on consumption trends. In conjunction, Dining incorporates a “Take Less, Waste Less” initiative focused on educating patrons on reducing food 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?:

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:

There are three dining halls on the UNH campus. Stillings Hall and Philbrook Hall are completely trayless (Philbrook November since 2008, Stillings Hall since January 2009). Holloway Commons, due to its multi-floor design, still provides patrons the option to use trays. However, UNH Dining began eliminating trays from Holloway Commons facility through “Trayless Tuesdays” in January 2008. The result of this program has been that many students have voluntarily ceased using trays. UNH Dining facilities also feature the "Wildcat Plate", which features food group guidance to promote healthy eating and help with portion control.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:

A brief description of the food donation program:

At the end of each semester, the dining facilities donate all perishable food items to local food pantries. In addition, UNH Dining, and the UNH College for Life Sciences and Agriculture are partnering with Gather, a community organization dedicated to ending hunger, to
repurpose rescued wholesome food from UNH dining halls, and repurpose it into nutritious meals that are available to those in the community of need of food. https://www.unh.edu/healthyunh/sites/default/files/media/informational_flyer_food_repurpose_project_april_2021.pdf

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

UNH Dining and the New England Center have invested in waste oil collection systems that allow cooking oils to be saved and used for biodiesel fuel. Two companies collect waste vegetable oil from all three UNH dining halls and process it into biodiesel, which powers farm equipment and heats greenhouses on campus farms. UNH Dining also manages the collection and delivery of the waste oil. See: https://www.unh.edu/dining/sustainability/sustainable-efforts

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

UNH University Hospitality Services collects between 25,000 - 40,000 lbs. of pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste per month. All UNH dining areas - Holloway Commons, Stillings, Philbrook, Huddleston, and the Memorial Union Building - have installed food-waste pulpers to pulverize food waste into very small pieces and to extract liquid. The result is a dry paste-like material that composts quickly due to increased surface area, thereby increasing the speed with which the food waste decomposes which eliminates the problem of odor. The University Hospitality Services staff load buckets of waste onto their compost truck and take them out to Kingman Farm for composting. All of the UNH dining halls, as well as the Dairy Bar, run pre-consumer food waste composting programs.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

The same program described above that collect pre-consumer waste from dining halls also collects post-consumer food waste. In addition, post-consumer food waste is collected from multiple retail dining locations on campus, and from WildCat Stadium, by Agricycle (https://www.agricycleenergy.com/), which creates renewable energy with it through biodigestion.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

All UNH dining halls provide reusable dining plates, cups, and utensils for all "dine in" meals. All dish washing equipment uses sustainable detergents to further reduce environmental impacts.

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)?:

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

UNH retail locations use primarily compostable service ware for their takeout items. In addition, all dining halls have the option to purchase reusable to-go containers for $3; the containers can br brought back dirty to UNH dining locations and exchanged for fresh ones. The University's new Wildcat Stadium is working toward becoming a zero waste facility, and all to-go containers are compostable or recyclable.

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?:

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

All UNH Dining retail locations such as the Dairy Bar, Wildcatessen, and Philbrook Cafe offer beverage discounts for bringing in reusable mugs, and discounts for participating in the re-usable to-go container program.

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

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

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.