Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.52
Liaison Seth Vidana
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Western Washington University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.75 / 2.00 Steve Wadsworth
Resident District Manager
Dinning Services
"---" 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:

ARAMARK Higher Education’s National Commitment to Affect Positive Sustainable Change
As part of their environmental stewardship program Aramark develops unique solutions for campus partners that support environmental commitments in every one of the 500+ Higher Education accounts they serve. Aramark calls these global commitments Green Stakes™ - our stakes in the ground, and our national commitments to affect change. The stakes include:

1. Energy and Water conservation program at each campus
2. Only purchasing paper products with recycled content
3. Using Green Cleaning products
4. Diverting 100 percent of the fryer oil waste
5. Increasing sustainable food options to consumers by 5 percent annually
Aramark’s Commitments and Goals:
• University Dining has committed to doing the following:
• Ensure composting at all locations
• Implement Zero Waste Dining Commons (Ridgeway, Viking and Fairhaven)
• Implement Zero Waste Catering Events
• Reduce utility usage 10 percent by using EnergyStar appliances in dining facilities
• Complete Sustainability Assessment (within 90 days)
• Host quarterly waste audits with student participation
• Offer monthly newsletters to update, communicate and educate our progress
• Implement a Green Captain Student Program.

Aramark’s Green Thread Philosophy
At ARAMARK Higher Education, we have a deep respect for and commitment to protecting and improving the environment. Aramark is committed to long-term environmental stewardship programs and policies within the areas of sustainable food, responsible procurement, green buildings, energy and water conservation, transportation, and waste stream management. We work to reduce our environmental footprint while delivering exceptional operational results, and offer expertise along with practical solutions for our campus partners to help them reduce their environmental impacts. The company refers to these programs and policies as “Green Thread” woven into their business operations.

Green Thread promotes sustainable practices within six categories or “pillars of stewardship”:
• Sustainable Foods
• Green Buildings
• Waste Stream Management
• Responsible Procurement
• Energy and Water Conservation
• Transportation

Sustainable Food
We understand the vital importance of food in our daily lives and interactions. Our food choices have a significant impact on our health, our culture, and the natural environment in local and global economies. As an organization we are committed to strengthening our existing network and beginning new connections that make positive transitions from field to fork. We in the business of changing the culture of food by nourishing our guests with menus that emphasize fresh whole foods. These foods are grown and harvested locally and sustainably wherever possible and are prepared in ways that respect and maintain quality, freshness, and pureness.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
No

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

The Viking Support Agriculture Program is Western’s Community Supported Agriculture program, bringing students, staff, and faculty in contact with Whatcom/Skagit County produce and producers. By signing up, participants receive a box of local, fresh, organic fruits and veggies every Thursday during CSA season.

The VSA is a program of the Office of Sustainability and was initiated through a Whatcom Community Foundation grant to help our community support sustainable local agriculture and make nutritious food available to members of the Western community. The VSA program supports Growing Washington and Alm Hill Gardens, located in Everson 25 minutes northeast of Bellingham. Growing Washington partners with over a dozen local Whatcom and Skagit County farms.


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:

All three of the WWU dining facilities offer nutritious vegan options for every meal. All vegan meals are carefully prepared and provide a complete protein.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
No

A brief description of the low impact dining events:
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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:

Western holds two sustainability-themed meals each year, one during Sustainability Week in the fall and other for Earth Week in the spring. During these meals, dishes are made from locally grown, seasonal vegetables. Specific dishes are accompanied by a locally grown label and an information on the seasonal vegetables used.


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:

We display “local” tags for items, Have small signs with local vendor information
• A large 8 foot sign in the entrance which lists all of our local partners (this will be updated at the beginning fall quarter)
• A large map of Washington with the locations of our local partner’s locations (this will be updated at the beginning fall quarter)
• Sustainability Spotlight Board that has monthly rotating information about our sustainability initiatives
• Large Farm To Fork sign which lists when local produce is in season
• Compost signage
• Daily Root map & station signage (listing were vegan options can be found in the dining hall)
• Less meat informational signage
• Partnership with local non-profit organization Sustainable Connections, which allows us to utilize their “Eat Local First signage & materials


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:

Sustainability Action Plan Committee and WWU Food Working Group are committed to research and implement new ways of adopting sustainable food into university's dinning halls. In the past, the groups have come up with comprehensive plans and guidelines to abide in purchasing, vendor choice and farmer-buyer relations.


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:

Dinning Services website provides information and guidelines about Nutrition, Diet, as well as Seasonal Health and Wellness tips. See more on: http://wwu.campusdish.com/EatWellContent/WellnessEducation.aspx


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:

Quality Assurance Program: Monitors, among many things, food production practices which help control waste measures on the pre-consumer and post consumer side of service
Food Recovery Network: Unites students on college campuses to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste from their campuses and communities and donating it to people in need.

Food Connection: Collects surplus food from restaurants and caterers and delivers the food to those who will enjoy it in order to reduce food waste and ease the pain of immediate hunger.


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:

All dining hall food is served on individual, reusable plates or bowls. Trays are available on request for handicapped patrons. Markets and café facilities offer trayless, compostable and recyclable single-use dining ware options as well as non-renewable packaging. Trays are never used in retail or conference meals.


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:

Western donates leftover kitchen foods to Lighthouse Mission - a local homeless shelter and to Bellingham Food Bank, hosts meals for the homeless during the academic year, and sponsors food drives through the Helping Hands program that serve those in need, disabled, or homeless in Bellingham.


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:

Cooking oil is recycled through a third-party contract.


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:

Dishwashing areas contain compost-specific containers. Although compost is typically used for post-consumer waste they also serve as receptacles for pre-consumer foods that cannot be prepared due to expiration, or for food scraps generated in the preparation process. Compost and recycling is collected and processed by a local waste management company.


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 waste constitutes the majority Western’s compostable material and includes food scraps along with biodegradable wrappers, containers, and plant-based dining-ware. Western has several composting programs managed by various entities. The dishwashers in the dining halls’ kitchens scrap all post-consumer food into the Food Plus bins. Beyond the dining halls, there are composting containers that are placed in strategic locations across campus with specific concentrations in high-use academic buildings, commons areas, and dining facilities. There are also Big Belly Compactors on the exterior of campus, with signs inside of the buildings indicating a compost bin is in a close proximity. Residence halls provide compost bins for students who live on campus and have a general composting container for the building. Sustainable Office Certification Program offers a volunteer credit in its scoring system for a food-waste composting bin in the office group working spaces. Compost and recycling is collected and processed by a local waste management company.


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:

All dining hall food is served on individual, reusable plates or bowls.


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:

University Dining Services provides compostable to-go service ware at all locations, however some cafes still use non-compostable straws. Compost receptacles are available in some residence halls, some buildings and throughout Red Square.


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:

University Dining Services provides reusable mugs that can be purchased at most markets and café vendors on campus. When a customer provides this or any reusable mug to a beverage vendor they will receive a discount on their purchase.


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:

Dining Services implements strategies such as bulk buying, avoiding single serving containers, and has a heavy emphasis on compostable package and recycling.


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