|Submission Date||March 4, 2022|
OP-8: Sustainable Dining
|2.00 / 2.00||
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
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 college has hosted, in partnership with campus dining, a farmers market on campus for 5 years.
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:
There is a dedicated vegetarian/vegan station in the dining hall
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:
Yes, the college supports a number of small and local vendors in its dining operations.
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:
Yes, we host a number of low impact dining events, including Earth Week and an Annual Farmworker Awareness Week.
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:
Yes, we prioritize plant-based proteins in the cafes and a complete protein vegan option is available to the campus communities at every meal served in our cafés. We communicate vegan options to our guests using the Vegan Circle of Responsibility icon, on both online menus and menus in the café. We have one dedicated vegan station and offer several vegan staples including vegan dinner rolls, soy milk, and vegan shortbread cookies.
Sample Meatless Monday offering:
Curried quinoa and butternut squash cold salad
Black beans with cumin
Cellentani pasta with marina sauce
Vegan oatmeal cookie
Full salad bar
Full self stir-fry station
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:
We inform guests about low impact food choices and sustainability practices in many ways. On guest tables and in signs around the cafe, we share information about pressing sustainability issues and relevant policies, including antibiotics use on animal farms animal welfare issues, sustainable seafood, and farmworkers rights. Using our Circle of Responsibility (COR) program, we communicate sustainability attributes of ingredients through our online and in-café menus. Menus are labeled with COR icons that denote the following (and more):
if the dish includes local ingredients, and which farm they are from
if the dish includes animal products from a farm with a third party animal welfare certification
if the dish includes seafood rated as Green or Yellow by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program
if the dish is vegetarian and/or vegan
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:
Food prep in the two central eating areas is all composted, recorded and tracked monthly.
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:
Yes, we are trayless in our all-you-care-to-eat café at Vassar and train all servers in portion control in order to minimize post-consumer food waste
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:
Yes, we donate food to Dutchess Outreach Services and the Community Food Network FeedHV platform. We are in the process of becoming Food Recovery Verified.
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:
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
The main kitchens for both of Vassar's main dining areas collect all food preparation and other pre-consumer food waste for composting. The Vassar Experimental Garden runs an on-campus composting program where students may discard compostable food and non-food waste or it may be disposed of in multiple bins located at the Senior Housing areas and dining establishments.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
Vassar College collects pre and post-consumer food waste.
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 central campus dining hall uses reusable dishes, cups, and flatware.
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:
Vassar's Green2Go Program offers reusable dining containers for students in venues programmatically suitable.
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:
Vassar College offers a 10% discount for the use of re-useable mugs at the Retreat and the Bridge Cafe.
A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:
Sustainability and well-being is at the heart of what we do. For example, we host monthly Well Being Wednesday to educate guests about a variety of healthy eating topics, such as healthy fat and whole grain consumption, and always make culturally diverse options available in the café.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.