Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 59.88
Liaison Alex Frank
Submission Date April 14, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Wisconsin-Madison
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Alex Frank
Sustainability Analyst
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?:
Yes

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

From August to October the Wisconsin Union Directorate hosts a weekly farmers market at Union South (https://union.wisc.edu/events-and-activities/special-events/cfm/). Vendors include:
- Parrfection Produce- a co-op of farmers from Monroe
- Munchkey Apples grown locally in Mount Horeb
- Savory Accents
- Porchlight
- Bloom Bakeshop

The market also features Farm to Table bags as a part of Campus Supported Agriculture (CSA). Each bag contains fruits and vegetables from the week’s harvest, along with a recipe card tailored to your bounty.


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:

A sustainability-themed electric food truck, Electric Eats, was announced in winter 2021 (https://www.housing.wisc.edu/event/electric-eats-food-truck-sneak-preview/2021-12-14/) and will offer sustainable food options around campus beginning in the spring semester (not currently counting for this report until it officially debuts).


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?:
Yes

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

Dining & Culinary Services' preferred vendor is asked to prioritize local and small businesses whenever possible. Dining & Culinary Services works with a number of small producers regularly. While it is not part of formal purchasing policy, it is still a consideration while purchasing.


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:

Dining & Culinary Services hosts a variety of low impact dining events throughout the school year. An example event is the Earth Day Meal, when all dining markets focus on serving seasonally appropriate, local, and low-carbon foods (https://www.housing.wisc.edu/event/earth-day/).


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:

Dining & Culinary Services includes vegan options at all times and in all dining markets (menus available here: https://menus.housing.wisc.edu/menus/). These options are clearly marked on the market menus and feedback is regularly requested from students through Vegan Focus Groups, which take place every semester (https://www.housing.wisc.edu/event/vegan-focus-group/).


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:

Dining & Culinary Services designates vegan and vegetarian choices via symbols on the menu website and on in-market line signs. More information on the signage can be found on this page: https://www.housing.wisc.edu/dining/nutrition/. Sustainable food choices are also highlighted on signage, such as a "low carbon station" during the Earth Day Meal and other theme meals (see attached image).


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:

University Housing utilizes a software system (CBORD) to track overproduction of food (including what gets composted and what gets sent to food recovery organizations). This information is used to forecast future food needs with the goal of minimizing overproduction.


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 are not available to customers in Dining & Culinary Services All-You-Care-to-Eat dining facilities.


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:

Surplus food from Dining Markets is redistributed through the Frozen Meals Program, a student-led initiative of Dining and Culinary Services and the department of Food Science (https://business.wisc.edu/undergraduate/blog/uw-frozen-meals-program/). 3,381 pounds (4473 meals) were repurposed through this effort in 2019-2020 and 7,901 meals were distributed to the community in 2020-2021. Surplus food is also redistributed through the student-run Food Recovery Network (https://win.wisc.edu/organization/FRNUW).


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:

All used cooking oil is recycled via Restaurant Technologies – Total Oil Management. All compostable materials collected at UW-Madison during the reporting period was sent to a local digester that produces biogas for electricity generation. (Note that at the end of this reporting period, July 2021, UW–Madison was forced to suspend collection of food waste generated on campus and this will be reflected in future reports, https://sustainability.wisc.edu/composting/)


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 bins are available in food prep areas with instructional signage. (Note that at the end of this reporting period, July 2021, UW–Madison was forced to suspend collection of food waste generated on campus and this will be reflected in future reports, https://sustainability.wisc.edu/composting/)


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 compost bins were available in dining areas in FY20 with instructional signage. (Note that at the end of this reporting period, July 2021, UW–Madison was forced to suspend collection of food waste generated on campus and this will be reflected in future reports, https://sustainability.wisc.edu/composting/)


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:

Dining & Culinary Services uses reusable china and utensils for dine-in meals in all dining markets. This program paused temporarily from September 2020-May 2021 while the university gathered information and prepared additional COVID-19 safety precautions for dishwashing staff.


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:

Ticket to Takeout is UW-Madison’s reusable to-go container program, which is the only option to take food to go in Dining Markets since Fall 2018 (https://www.housing.wisc.edu/2018/08/university-housing-dining-culinary-services-ticket-to-take-out-program-makes-to-go-food-environmentally-friendly/). This program paused temporarily from September 2020-May 2021 while the university gathered information and prepared additional COVID-19 safety precautions for dishwashing staff.


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:

Customers who bring their own reusable mugs get a flat-rate, reduced cost on tea and coffee.


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

UW-Madison offers Halal options at all of Dining Marketplaces and staff have been trained on how to handle these items (https://www.housing.wisc.edu/2018/11/halal-friendly-options-available-at-all-dining-markets/).


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.