Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.29
Liaison Allison Mihalich
Submission Date Oct. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Notre Dame
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
2.00 / 2.00 Mike Seamon
Vice President
Campus Safety & University Operatis
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

Campus Dining strives to meet the ever changing balance between social responsibility, customer preferences, and financial concerns. We continually evaluate these decisions with a dedicated task force who constantly monitor these questions. This group keeps pace with the changing nature of social concerns such as the environment or workers’ rights and is currently investigating and taking action on topics such as local sourcing, sustainability, and employee education.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

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?:

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

The Notre Dame Campus Community Garden has a new home for the first time in seven years. The original garden began in 2010 as a partnership with Food Services, HR Wellness, St. Liam Health Services, and the Office of Sustainability, but due to a growing campus, this year the community garden needed to find a new location to call home. Jessica Woolley, Manager, Notre Dame Work Control Center oversees the Campus Community Garden and served an integral part in the transition of the garden to its new home at 54067 Ivy Road. Sarah Misener and the Campus Services division provided much needed support during the move to the new location by installing a pump and electrical services to the new site. Preparations for this year’s growing season are already underway with 18 gardening plots in use and 20 more coming soon. As time, resources, and space permit, the garden will continue to expand, allowing additional plots free of charge for current University faculty, staff, and students.

Even though some perennial plants had to be left behind at the former White Field garden, the new location has many benefits. The new site offers space to current gardeners and provides room while providing room to add new gardeners. It also affords everyone the chance to look at the practices being used, and see if there might be room for improvement. One of the new changes in processes this year will be the creation of a permaculture garden which is an agricultural gardening method that seeks to create a highly efficient self-sustaining ecosystem.

Another benefit of the new location is a dedicated space for students in the sustainability minor horticulture class. The class, taught by Theri Niemier, co-owner of Bertrand Farms, was offered for the first time this semester. The students sowed seeds in the greenhouse, located on top of the Hank Family Center for Environmental Sciences, and then transplanted them to the new garden space this spring. “It’s great to have students interested and involved because where students go, the energy goes,” says Woolley.

To participate in the campus garden, gardeners agree to grow organically, visit their plots often, and keep their area free of weeds and insects. The University in turn provides compost, mulch, and leaves. There are also work days held two to three times a year at the beginning and end of growing season, where all gardeners come together to maintain the entire gardening area. In the garden, there is no hierarchy of status or position. It’s like an equalizer where everyone comes together from all across campus to share their skills and talents with fellow gardeners, furthering the sense of community. Woolley says, “Although organic gardening is hard work, it is very satisfying to see how things grow and how much appreciation you develop for our farmers and the work they do to grow our food.”

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:

We offer multiple vegan entrees at each meal (21 meals per week). Additionally, we have numerous vegan options on the menu such as a quinoa stew, various vegan lentil based dishes, vegan burger, a stir fry station that allows the students to select their own vegan options prepared in a separate pan, plain and flavored hummus, soy and other alternate milk, soups, tofu, edamame, vegan wraps in the deli, steamed vegetables each meal and numerous other side dishes.

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

Campus Dining is completely meatless during Lent every year:
All of the burgers served are Beef Mushroom Burgers, 25% mushroom.
Campus Dining sponsored a sushi rolling event with their chefs as a grand prize for the residence hall winner of the annual energy reduction challenge - Megawatt Madness.
Notre Dame is active in Menus of Change http://www.moccollaborative.org/

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

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

Each year Campus Dining has a fall harvest fest, focusing on local foods. https://dining.nd.edu/whats-happening/events/2016/10/24/harvest-dinner-2/
Celebration of National Nutrition Month: https://dining.nd.edu/whats-happening/events/2017/03/28/celebrate-national-nutrition-month-with-chef-dennis-malone/
Campus Dining also sponsors ethnic based festivals, many of which are not meat-centered.
Other events include visiting chefs such as Chef Jehangir Mehta and Mushroom Mania https://dining.nd.edu/whats-happening/events/2015/09/09/mushroom-mania/

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:

Notre Dame has chosen Modern Market as one of the dining options in its new student center. 'At Modern Market we serve artisan fare without the pomp - simple counter service with amazing, scratch-made food that nourishes your mind and body.
We have a holistic view on health. We think added sugar is the devil and (good) fats are our friends. Our food philosophy can be summed up perfectly with a quote from Michael Pollan – "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Our food is beautiful and tastes amazing.

We cook using simple, whole ingredients purchased from farmers, ranchers and suppliers we know and trust; who love and respect the planet as much as we do.
We’re a place where paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and 'non dieting' friends can all enjoy a great meal, together. Good, clean food works for everyone, and so, we are trying to bring it everywhere. We hope you come try us out.'

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?:

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

From our website:https://dining.nd.edu/nutrition-health/
'Part of serving the needs of campus is diversifying the nutritional profiles of our menus to accommodate a variety of needs and preferences. Campus Dining provides the following guide to help better inform our guests of our dining options. The Performance Dining icon indicates items prepared using healthy techniques and wholesome ingredients that work together synergistically to enhance both physical and mental performance and promote overall positive health.Look for the V to find vegetarian choices of entrees and soups. These items do not contain meat or fish. Vegetarian diets are one opportunity to benefit in both good health and social responsibility. Vegetables require much less natural resources to grow than animal products. Look for the VGN symbol to find items made without animal products. For a list of vegan choices, please visit our Special Diets page.Due to changes by the FDA regarding gluten-free labeling, Campus Dining does not identify food items as gluten-free. We do however offer menu items that don’t contain wheat, rye, or barley as ingredients. To avoid gluten, keep an eye out for our wheat icon.

All diners also have access to Net Nutrition on our website: https://nutrition.nd.edu/NetNutrition/1

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

Our chefs work with local community, homeless, as dietary and cooking consultants and teachers.
Our staff works with local community groups, a kitchen revamp is an example of a recent project.
We work with student groups such as residence hall groups to education them about sustainable food systems.

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)?:

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

Notre Dame offers nutritional counselling to all its students from our staff registered dietitian. https://dining.nd.edu/nutrition-health/nutritional-counseling/
Special diets are accomodated: https://dining.nd.edu/nutrition-health/special-diets/
A wellness blog has information for students: https://dining.nd.edu/nutrition-health/wellness-blog/

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:

The University instituted Lean Path in November 2015. An article from our blog in September 2016: 'What is LeanPath you might ask? LeanPath is a food waste prevention tool Campus Dining started using last November to help calculate and control the amount of our food that was ending up in landfills. By having employees take pictures of the leftover food, choosing what type of food it is, and weighing the food, we are able to draw many conclusions.

Initially, we set the baseline on our waste over a 6-week timeframe. LeanPath then looked at the data and helped us to set waste reduction goals in problematic areas. Since we started measuring against our baseline (January through June), we prevented 76,627 pounds of food from being thrown out, which is a 39.3% reduction of pre-consumer waste—equal to 7.7 elephants! This process also reduced our CO2 emissions by an amount equivalent to using 3,247 gallons of gas.

Throughout the process we have broken down the waste into two different categories, Pre-Consumer, and Post-Consumer. Pre-Consumer waste is any food that can no longer be used due to issues dealing with temperature concerns or quality concerns after a shift. If the product will not be considered safe, or if the quality will suffer from reheating, we need to throw it out. Post-Consumer is any product which a customer has touched. This could be a pan of food on a service line, or the leftover food from a plate. All of this has been done by paying attention to our pre-consumer waste.

As we continue to work with LeanPath, we will seek to record and reduce Post-Consumer Waste. Stay tuned for more updates on this process. In the interim, suggestions regarding how we may reduce even more waste are always welcome!'

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:

Trays have been removed in many of our dining operations. In two of the large dining halls trays are optional and inconvenient. We have signage that informs students of the amount of food and beverage waste they are generating each meal and the benefit and savings of being trayless. We also sponsor Waste Free Wednesdays, a program run by students to check the food and beverage waste per person and to raise awareness of the issue of food waste on college campuses.
From our wellness blog: 'I have overheard a few people stating concerns that it is hard not to use a tray—something to the effect of, "I can only carry one plate and one glass." I have excellent news...this really is an easy fix! Take it from a pro, you can balance at least two plates or a bowl and a plate in your non-dominant hand along with your flatware. Check out the picture to see what I mean.
Now, the good part. Just to give you an idea of what going trayless or 'tray inconvenient' adds up to, last year on the Thursday before Good Friday, the Office of Sustainability hosted a waste and weigh event in conjunction with a tray inconvenient day. From that event at South Dining Hall, the evening averaged 2.83 ounces of waste per person. At a previous waste and weigh event where everyone used a tray, the event averaged 3.31 ounces per person. Those numbers alone represent 14% less waste!
In addition to less food waste, there are many other benefits as well. It's estimated that by going trayless, 14,000 gallons of water are conserved annually, not to mention the man hours necessary to wash, dry and replace the trays. Being required to go back for seconds also makes you consider if you really want the extras, instead of forcing yourself to finish the pile of food you may have otherwise stacked on your tray.
If you are concerned about dropping your food, try it with empty plates until you feel comfortable making the change. Once you master it, this skill becomes very useful at holiday dinners when it's time to help your family with the clean up.
If you need additional tips and inspiration to get on board with the trayless movement, check out these videos from the Office of Sustainability and as always, happy dining!

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:

We support two local homeless shelters, the South Bend Center for the Homeless and the Hope Rescue Mission. We send the two shelters leftover cooked food product daily, which have been correctly handled, and given in good faith. We also donate perishable products prior to closing for Christmas Break each year.

Notre Dame Campus Dining is pleased to announce their partnership with Food Rescue US: an organization dedicated to providing “food for all”. Through a network of food donors, food runners, and partner agencies, Food Rescue US facilitates the transfer of fresh food that would have otherwise been discarded to food insecure families throughout the US.

Campus Dining serves over 10,000 meals daily within two dining halls. While striving to produce only what is needed, there are inevitably items not consumed. This partnership will allow Campus Dining to utilize these prepared items within the greater South Bend area and not only reduce food waste, but support the University’s commitment to community engagement for the common good.
Food Rescue US is based in Norwalk, Connecticut. They are currently working in 9 cities across the United States. This is their first association with a college dining program.

Cultivate Culinary School & Catering is thrilled to announce their partnership with the University of Notre Dame, to partner with the University in achieving their sustainability goals and to provide high quality well balanced meals to food-insecure families throughout the Michiana area. By working with Levy who manages the clubs and concessions on campus, Cultivate sees this as a key strategic partnership designed for long term community involvement.
“At Cultivate Culinary School, we strive to help combat poverty, hunger, and job insecurity. Working alongside Notre Dame and Levy will enable us to reach our community in a new way,” said Kelly Hofferth, Cultivate Culinary School executive director. “We’re also excited to provide more service opportunities to our students. They will discover the safest, most economical ways to save and store food.”
Cultivate Culinary School was also recently selected by the Notre Dame Athletic Department’s Community Commitment division, as the food rescuer for all of the home football games this fall. Cultivate will pick up fresh, usable food that would have otherwise been thrown away after the games. Students and staff at Cultivate Culinary School will then temporarily store the food and prepare frozen meals. The meals are distributed to food-insecure families in several locations, including St. Joseph County and the Michiana area.
“Partnering with both groups is a huge blessing for us, and it will definitely increase our ability to help others,” said Hofferth. “We plan to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity.”

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)?:

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

Food scraps from preparation areas are sent to a local farmer to use as animal feed.
Used cooking oil is recycled through a program where a tanker delivers fresh oil and picks up the used oil.

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

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

Our pre-consumer waste is handled in two ways. First, the University’s Food Service Support Facility sends on average 100,000 pounds per year of pre-consumer vegetable trim to a local farm to be used as animal feed. Second, we use garbage disposers to send the pre-consumer food waste in our units to the City of South Bend Waste Water Treatment Plant. The sludge, or biosolids, is then stored at the South Bend Organic Resources Facility. Sludge is beneficially reused on farm land through a land application program. The Organic Resources Facility operates the land application program, and also produces a compost material year round from yard and other vegetative waste.

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

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

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:

Our dining halls and catering department utilize china, silverware, chopsticks, and glass or plastic glasses. Our ware washing procedures minimize water, gas, and electric.

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:

Reusable mesh bags can be purchased for the dining hall Grab-N-Go program. https://dining.nd.edu/whats-happening/news/dining-halls-continue-sustainable-efforts-by-removing-grab-n-go-bags/
The dining halls do not allow food to be carried out except for a piece of fruit and a pastry.
Campus Dining has eliminated the use of styrofoam containers.

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?:

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

We have both a reusable mug and a reusable bag program available. Our retail operations offer discounted coffee for customers using a reusable mug.

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)?:

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

All waste cardboard is separated from other recyclable materials and baled to be sold as OCC.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.