Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.28
Liaison Geory Kurtzhals
Submission Date Jan. 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Notre Dame
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.88 / 2.00 Geory Kurtzhals
Sr. Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

The Notre Dame Campus Community Garden began in 2010 with several campus partners. Due to a growing campus as well as a growing interest in home gardening, the White Field location became too small, and the decision to move to a larger area on Ivy Road was made. 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.

The new location offers many benefits such as space to current gardeners 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 the new location was 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. Students sow seeds in the greenhouse, located on top of the Hank Family Center for Environmental Sciences, and then transplant them to the garden space in the spring.

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 workdays held two to three times a year at the beginning and end of the 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.

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:

Due to their made-from-scratch dishes using whole, simple ingredients, Notre Dame chose Modern Market as one of the dining options in its new student center. Modern Market is able to satisfy any dietary requirement from gluten-free to vegan, using simple, whole ingredients purchased from farmers, ranchers, and suppliers that are known and trusted, and who are sustainability-minded.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh has opened on the University of Notre Dame campus, marking its first Indiana location. Garbanzo produces meals using antibiotic-free meats, plant-based proteins (such as hummus and falafel), and fresh produce sourced directly from local farms. Guests use takeout containers made of 90 percent post-consumer recycled paper and enjoy a menu that boasts 22 percent vegetarian main dishes.

Notre Dame's Garbanzo unit earned Green Restaurant Association three-star certification, which is given based on 40 criteria ranging from the amount of vegan and vegetarian dishes served to recycling practices and efficiency of appliances.

Prior to opening, the chain renovated the space in order to improve its sustainability practices through the installation of items such as digital menu boards, energy star appliances, and occupancy sensors.

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:

Campus dining supports disadvantaged businesses by setting a standard for the sourcing of ingredients from Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises.

Notre Dame Food Service features items produced in Indiana and Michigan or within 250 miles of Notre Dame. We purchase nearly 5.6 million dollars in locally sourced products, which makes up over 38% of our annual purchases.

These products are fresher and save natural resources, especially gas that is more and more costly each day.

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:

Campus Dining is completely meatless during Lent every year:
All of the burgers served are Beef Mushroom Burgers, 25% mushroom.

In celebration of the Feast of St. Francis, Campus Dining hosts an annual "Harvest Dinner" focused entirely on locally sourced, seasonal, and plant forward options.

Both dining halls have added vegan stations, and new vegan entrees are trialed throughout the year.

Notre Dame Student Government hosts an ongoing Meatless Monday pledge program.

Notre Dame is active in Menus of Change http://www.moccollaborative.org/

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:

Campus Dining provides a minimum of 25% plant-based proteins. They offer a wide array of vegan entrees and sides at each meal (21 meals per week), including a stir-fry station which allows students to select their own vegan options that are 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 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:

From their 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 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:

Since 2015, Campus Dining has utilized Lean Path, a food waste prevention tool that helps calculate and control the amount of 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 can evaluate the environmental and financial cost of the waste produced and strategize about how to reduce it in the future. By using Leanpath technology to track food waste at its two dining halls and its Center for Culinary Excellence, The University of Notre Dame saw a 68 percent reduction in food waste weight in one year.

Campus Dining also has continued a feed-the-cows program whereby non-consumable food, especially lettuce and vegetables, gets fed to livestock nearby.

In 2019, all locations on campus used a total of 103,167 pounds of fresh oil. Any and all of the waste oil we pulled from the systems has been recycled into Bio Diesel.

Our Grind2Energy also has sensors that allow us to measure how much food is disposed of on an ongoing basis using real time dashboarding.

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:

As part of the Menus of Change network, the University has made adjustments to portion sizes to cut down on waste. By combining these principles with our LeanPath data, Grind2Energy data, and ongoing Waste Free Wednesday student initiative, the University continues to see decreased volumes of wasted food after meal periods.

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:

The University manages an internal donation program that supports two local homeless shelters, the South Bend Center for the Homeless and the Hope Rescue Mission. We donate perishable products prior to closing for Christmas Break and other extended breaks each year.

Notre Dame Campus Dining also partners with Food Rescue US: an organization dedicated to providing “food for all”. Through a student-led network of food donors, food runners, and partner agencies, Food Rescue US facilitates the transfer of fresh food that would have otherwise been discarded directly to food insecure families and organizations throughout the city of South Bend.

The University maintains an ongoing partnership with Cultivate Culinary to provide high quality, well balanced meals to food-insecure families throughout the Michiana area. Food is rescued from events as well as normal dining operations. Cultivate "rescues" and reuses food through multiple programs, including a weekend backpack program to feed K-12 students facing poverty. Much of this food comes from Campus Dining as well as Athletic events. During COVID-19 campus shut down, Cultivate also received all of the fresh produce that otherwise would have gone to waste.

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:

Pre and post consumer food waste is diverted from the landfill by utilizing the Grind2Energy technology provided by Insinkerator Emerson. The technology processes food and then pipes it to an onsite tank where it is then pumped by a local septic hauler and brought to an area dairy farm that has existing anaerobic digestion and a closed-loop approach to using the food waste donation.

More information about our grind2energy program can be found here:

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:

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. All dining halls use reusable products for daily meals. During COVID-19, reusable silverware kits were distributed to all campus residents. 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/
Under non COVID-procedures, the dining halls do not allow food to be carried out except for a piece of fruit and a pastry.
Campus Dining has also invested in the OZZI technology which it has rolled out to multiple retail locations to provide an additional reusable option.
In response to COVID-19, disposable products were collected and processed for pyrolysis.

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:

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

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

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/

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.