Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 54.15
Liaison Leslie North
Submission Date March 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Western Kentucky University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Christian Ryan
Sustainability Coordinator
WKU
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

Dining services at WKU are provided by Aramark. While not labeled an official policy, they describe sustainability programs and practices on their webpage. http://wku.campusdish.com/Sustainability/WhatWeAreDoing.aspx


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:

WKU Dining Services, provided by Aramark, sources some items, such as pork and seasonal vegetables from the WKU Farm. However, volume constraints limit this sourcing to special catered events and occasions.


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:

WKU provides indoor space for a local farmers market, the Community Farmers Market at a location near campus. The provision of this building allows the market to operate year-round.
The WKU Farm does not consistently provide food for campus dining services, but does provide a CSA program for faculty and staff.


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:

Vegan options are available at most campus dining outlets. These are indicated with signage. In Fall 2014, the college newspaper published a full description of vegan options on campus, in cooperation with Dining Services.


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:

Each new academic year is opened with a cook-out for new students. In Fall 2016, Housing and Residence Life, WKU Dining Services, and WKU Recycling collaborated to host the first zero-waste cook-out. This low impact dining event begins a new tradition of welcoming new students with demonstrated sustainability practices in dining events.


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:

For Campus Sustainability Day and Earth Day dining services offers Kentucky Proud menus in the dining hall and in dining locations across 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?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
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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:

WKU Dining Services posts signs in the main campus dining hall describing efforts at waste reduction (such as composting food waste), as well as labeling Kentucky Proud products. In campus coffee shops, signs explain that milk is "Udderly Kentucky".


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
No

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

WKU Dining Services employs a full-time nutritionist at WKU who, in collaboration with student dietitian interns, engages students in a variety of health and wellness awareness initiatives. The nutritionist works with the Office of Sustainability to support the WKU Food Pantry and community garden project. Additionally, WKU's commitment to an international experience for every student includes dining experiences that are culturally diverse. Culturally themed menus are offered regularly in the dining hall.


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:

WKU Dining Services employs a food waste prevention program created by Aramark. Food preparation staff weigh all of the food waste associated with preparation and continuously seek to reduce waste. Other methods of reducing food waste include local sourcing, which results in fresher product and longer shelf life with less 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:

Trayless dining was implemented in the campus dining hall in 2011. Trays are available only upon request.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
No

A brief description of the food donation program:

Students are presently organizing to create a Food Recovery Network or Campus Kitchen chapter at WKU. Support for this initiative was included in a recent contract renewal for Aramark Dining Services.


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:

Used cooking oil is collected from campus dining locations by Engineering students who convert it to bio-diesel at the university farm. It is used in farm trucks and other equipment, reducing not only waste, but emissions, costs, and our carbon footprint.


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:

In January, 2014 WKU began composting pre and post consumer waste from the main campus dining hall. The food waste is pulped, collected in a bin, and taken to a local arboretum for finishing to compost where it is used on site. On average, 1 ton of food waste is diverted from the waste stream each month.


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:

See above.


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 main campus dining hall uses metal cutlery and reusable plastic service ware.


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:

In several of the food retail outlets, including Burrito Bowl and Freshens, to-go containers are compostable, but these are not captured in the composting program.


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:

Customers are given a discount for using their own coffee mug in all campus coffee shops.


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:

WKU Dining Services (Aramark) began offering reusable to-go containers as an alternative option to styrofoam in fall 2016. Participation in the program is voluntary. Additionally, the two Subway restaurants have began a no bag default practice in fall of 2016. Sandwich wrappers are secured with stickers and bags are provided only when the order includes multiple items.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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