Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Parker Long
Submission Date Aug. 27, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Commonwealth University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.63 / 2.00 Parker Long
Sustainability Reporting and Outreach Coordinator
Facilities Management - 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:

VCU Dining supports the VCU Learning and Community Gardens, located on the Monroe Park and VCU Health campus.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

Market 810, the main student dining center on the Monroe Park Campus, is a certified Virginia Green facility, as determined by a state-sponsored program that promotes sustainability. Market 810 relies on LED and natural lighting, and restrooms feature motion-sensor, low-flow water taps and provide air dryers instead of paper towels.


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:

The VCU SWaM Team, in coordination with senior university leadership and the Director of Procurement Services, annually establishes university spend goals with SWaM businesses and reports performance to DSBSD and The Board of Visitors. These goals are always represented by a percentage of overall discretionary spend at VCU, and reflects Virginia's SWaM spend goal of 42%.

In fiscal year 2020, we exceeded the Virginia state goal, reaching at 46.2% spend with SWaM suppliers and vendors.

These goals and metrics also include purchasing by VCU Dining.


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:

VCU Dining has implemented a plant-forward initiative. This includes adding more vegetables on our menu and provides so many benefits, with a long list of positives for healthier people and a healthier planet.

To achieve our goal of increasing the plant-forward ingredients on the menu, we launched a major plant-forward menu innovation initiative to elevate the role of these healthy and more sustainable ingredients on our menus.


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:

In the main student-dining center on the VCU Health campus, Market 810, there is a standing vegan section that serves daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. This selection includes a fresh salad bar with vegan proteins, as well as hot entrees using tofu or tempeh. The in-house pastry chef also regularly makes vegan desserts. VCU Dining Services also offers gluten-free foods and vegan options at all dining services locations.


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:

VCU Dining provides signage at all dining locations that identifies vegetarian, vegan, and locally sourced food.

More information can be found on their website: https://vcu.campusdish.com/HealthAndWellness/Healthy-Options-On-Campus


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:

VCU Dining reduces food waste across our campus operations with the dual goals of conserving resources and keeping food out of landfills. Our practices include back of house operational practices to reduce waste before it’s generated, programs to help consumers decrease food waste, feeding those in need during instances of excess safe, unserved food, and finally implementing composting programs wherever possible.


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:

VCU's Dining Service provider has served 100% of meals on campus trayless since 2009.


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:

VCU Dining donates prior to major academic breaks and at the end of every semester as well as ~ 500 pounds each semester as part of a student waste education initiative.


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:

One hundred percent of dining services used fryer oil is recycled for the purpose of making biofuel.


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?:
No

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

Our primary Dining services contractor Aramark uses reusable silverware in its buffet locations on both the Monroe Park and VCU Health campus.


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)?:
No

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:
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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?:
No

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