Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.22
Liaison Jay Price
Submission Date March 3, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.60 / 2.00 Daniel Covington
Data Analyst and Office Administrator
Facilities 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 VOLunteer Supported Agriculture (VSA) program is a Vol-centric Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and experiential Organic Farm Internship for UT Knoxville undergraduate students. CSA programs are mutual relationships between growers and subscribed community members in which the members have a direct relationship with their food producer and help share the risk associated with production. The VSA works to connect community members with their farmers and inspire the next generation of agricultural ambassadors by offering shares of our harvest for purchase. Interested parties can become members by paying an up-front fee that will help buy seeds and supplies and provide stipends for our student interns who are participating in the unique, experiential, organic production internship component of our program. In return, members receive a weekly half-bushel box of fresh, locally grown, organic produce for twenty weeks! Box contents will vary from week to week and feature a variety of seasonal produce.


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:
---

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:
---

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?:
Yes

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

Weigh the waste events
Volunteers will be asking people who are returning their dishes to the dish return to first scrape the remains of the food on their plate into a plastic bin that will be sitting atop a scale. Volunteers will then dump the food scraps into a compost bin. This event aims to spread awareness and consciousness of how much food we waste daily. This will also be a time for students to ask questions about food waste, composting on campus (and off), and other sustainability initiatives on campus.


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:

Additionally, there is a specific vegan station in the Fresh Food Company Stokely location which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For lunch and dinner, individuals may select tofu and vegetables of their choice and have it sautéed before their eyes.

VolDining also announced that as of 2019 all vegetables they serve will no longer be prepared with dairy products and will all be vegan.


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?:
No

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

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?:
No

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

The UT Culinary Institute has created the food4VOLS program to end hunger and waste on campus. Partnering with Vol Dining, food4VOLS collects usable food from campus outlets and transports the food to the Culinary Institute where the food is transformed by students into ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat meals that are distributed to those with food insecurity via the Big Orange Pantry.


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:

Disposable food trays are no longer provided anywhere on campus for dine-in customers. All dining halls provide reusable plates for customers.


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:

The Big Orange Pantry and Smokey’s Pantry were founded to target food insecurity on campus and the surrounding community. Big Orange Pantry serves only students, faculty, and staff who have been referred by the Center for Care and Resilience, an office within the Division of Student Life. Smokey’s Pantry, however, is open to anyone, though its focus is on those directly affiliated with UTK or UTIA.

These pantries receive donations from the public as well as other entities within UTK and UTIA. For example, the UT Culinary Institute donates to Big Orange Pantry through their food4Vols program. The UT Grow Lab donates all produce to Big Orange Pantry directly.


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:

Pre-consumer composting services are available for most buildings on campus in which VolDining operates. Compost bins are also available to students for post-consumer composting services at select locations.

Additionally, pre-consumer food waste may be recovered by food4Vols to be turned into new meals at the UT Culinary Institute and donated to Big Orange Pantry.


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:

Pre-consumer compost is collected by the Office of Sustainability at all dining hall locations and nearly all franchises on campus, including Starbucks, Panda Express, and Raising Cane's. Food waste and other compostable materials are brought to the UT Composting Facility.


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:

Post-consumer food waste on campus is collected from all major buffet-style dining locations, all food courts, all Aramark restaurants on campus except for one, and from select offices. A composting pilot for residence halls has also been implemented in order to determine the need for and convenience of residential composting on campus.


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:

All UT dining locations offer reusable service ware for dine-in meals.


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:

Compostable to-go cups, bowls, plates, straws, and silverware are available for use in all dining locations across campus except for Chick-fil-A.


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:

The Mug Project is a campus-wide initiative to eliminate single-use cups and bottles. UT students, faculty, and staff can bring their own mug of twenty-four ounces or less to various locations across campus and receive $0.70 off drip coffee and fountain beverages. The program also offers 15% off specialty coffee beverages. All VolDining locations are participating in this program except for Chick-fil-A.


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:
---

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.