Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Amir Nadav
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of St. Thomas
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.80 / 2.00 Pamela Peterson
Executive Director
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:

Multiple grant-supported Urban Agriculture projects will be conducted, heavily using the Stewardship Garden on the University's south campus in St. Paul, over next 5 years at minimum. They include:

Chip Small, Biology & Environmental Science, is conducting NSF experiments in the Stewardship Garden this summer, the 4th year of a 5-year, $500,000 early career NSF grant focused on how efficiently we can recycle nutrients from food waste into new food through composting, coupled with urban agriculture. Questions were informed by work with leaders in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including city councils, to better understand what information could be most beneficial for shaping how food is treated within their cities.

Jen Illig, Eric Chapman, and Dalma Martinovic, Biology, in collaboration with engineering faculty may have (ornamental) corn and vegetable plantings there as well this summer. They are generating seed data for a grant application. If any excess produce is available, they donate it to local food shelves. One goal of this research is a promotion of relationship-building and knowledge exchange between urban and rural agriculture communities.

Adam Kay and Eric Chapman, Biology, will continue using the Stewardship Garden for their 5-year NSF project that started in December, 2020 titled: Training Undergraduate Biologists through urban Agriculture (TUBA); Program: NSF-Undergraduate Biology Education-Research Collaboration Network. The network developed in the project aims to reduce attrition from biology by engaging students in socially and environmentally connected science. Importantly, the network will emphasize engage biology students in underserved communities that are hotspots for urban agriculture. Every aspect of this network will aim to create experiences for students and educators that are accessible and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; cultivate empathy, collaboration, and systems thinking skills; and foster mutually-reciprocal community partnerships.

Urban Agriculture projects with the local community:
Adam Kay, Biology, collaborates with community partners in Twin Cities area. He has been working with two community garden entities (W 7th, Conway neighborhoods) to promote urban agriculture in the community. He maintains those plots. He also conducts experiments at those plots. He regularly donates produce from those gardens to food shelves in the neighborhoods.


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?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
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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?:
No

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

Plant-based menu items available at every meal service


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:

Vegan menu items available at every meal service


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:

Signage at the food stations indicating environmental impact based upon food choices


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:

Daily weighing of food waste in residential dining halls


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:

Trays were removed from our residential dining operations 5+ years ago.


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:

We participate in a local chapter of the Food Recovery Network.

Additional information is available in this Newsroom article,
"Food Recovery Network Turns Waste to Sustainability at St. Thomas." https://news.stthomas.edu/food-recovery-network-turns-waste-to-sustainability-at-st-thomas/


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:

We participate in a food to farm (hog) program.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
No

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
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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:

The University of St. Thomas started a composting pilot program at the Binz Refectory dining hall in the fall of 2017. Approximately 1,600 pounds per week were collected for compost from this location. Although the Binz closed in the spring of 2020, the university's Facilities Management department continues to expand collection of compost across the University.


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:

We provide and reuse/wash plates, tumblers, coffee mugs, bowls, flatware, etc.


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:

Presently use compostable to-go containers in both residential and retail dining operations


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:

We offer a substantial discount for the use of a reusable coffee mug and or a reusable tumbler in our retail operations


A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:
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Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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