Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.23
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date June 14, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Texas at Austin
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Neil Kaufman
Sustainability Coordinator
Division of Housing and Food Service
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:
---

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

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

UT Housing and Dining Services operate two campus production and learning gardens. These are managed by professional staff and maintained by UT students, both paid and volunteer. The produce from these gardens is used both in the kitchens and sold at UT Farm Stand.


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?:
Yes

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

UT Housing and Dining Services operates both a campus farmers market (UT Farm Stand) and hosts a CSA distribution site. UT Farm Stand is a nationally recognized (NACUFS Gold Award in sustainability education) initiative to provide affordable, fresh produce on campus all while educating students on the value of sustainable agriculture.


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:

There is a vegan entrée available at all 5 campus dining locations managed by UT Housing and Food Service. These entrees are fresh, varying, and designed in part by the food service dieticians.

UT Housing and Food Service participated in the US Humane Society's Forward Food Program to train its chefs on the technical skills of commercial vegan cooking.


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

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

UT Housing and Dining Service has incorporated "Meatless Mondays" into its menu. Students are encouraged to practice eating more plant-based foods on Mondays through an increased availability of vegetarian and vegan entrees.


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

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

UT Housing and Dining hosts an annual event to promote sustainable eating by integrating educational messaging with a customized menu based on local and/or sustainable options.


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 inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labeling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

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

There are a number of education characters and signs on the walls, sneeze guards, and windows of the buffet-style dining locations. These signs mainly discuss food waste, but many address the environmental cost of food as well.


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

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

UT Housing and Food Service partners with professors to provide its facilities, data, and professional staff in creating a living learning labarory for UT's students.


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)?:
Yes

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

UT Housing and Food Service has two full time dieticians that implement food safety, nutrition, and education into all food service units. Cultural-themed events are also a regular part of the programing in food service.


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:

UT Housing and Food Service has participated in various third-party waste reporting initiatives including the U.S. EPA Food Recovery Challenge and Recyclemania. All foods are purchased and managed with the FoodPro software, significantly over-purchasing and mitigating 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?:
Yes

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

UT Housing and Food Service went trayless in 2009 at the buffet-style locations. That resulted in a 50% reduction in edible food waste.


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:

Un-servable but edible food is collected in all dining locations for pick up by a local charity, Austin Baptist Food Pantry. All food items collected during Trash to Treasure are also donated to the local food pantry.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

The food that is still safe to eat but below the standards for serving students is donated to a local soup kitchen.


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:

Kitchens contain bins specified for compostable materials including food scraps, soiled paper, and compostable disposable items. These bins are emptied into compost collection containers and taken to an off-site compost 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:

All a-la-carte dining locations have pre-consumer composting streams available and clearly labeled. Buffet-style dining locations also compost all post-consumer waste.


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:

The utensils used in the a-la-carte locations are a reusable metal. They are collected at the waste bins, washed, and redistributed. The buffet-style dining locations use ceramic dishes and metal utensils.


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:

"Eco2Go" containers can be used for meals to-go. These containers are a durable plastic that are returned, washed, and reused. There have been over 1 million uses of the Eco2Go container since 2010.


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?:
Yes

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

DHFS offers a 5% discount to customers using their Eco2Go reusable to-go container. They also offer discounted coffee or fountain drinks when using a DHFS reusable coffee mug or water bottle with an extra incentive of free fountain drinks on Fridays for DHFS water bottles. Other coffee locations on campus offer discounts when customers bring their own coffee mugs.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

http://www.utexas.edu/student/housing/index.php?site=16&scode=0&id=1901

There has been a move towards offering single-use condiments served in compostable cups instead of landfill packets.


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.