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Campus Dining is Going Green

By Sharon Chen
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Cafeterias are not known for healthy, sustainable eating, but colleges across the country are aiming to change that. By approaching sustainable campus dining in different ways, colleges are also making important strides in climate change progress; these decisions translate into smart economics as well.

Universities are spending increasing amounts of their budget buying locally produced, humanely raised, sustainably harvested, and fair trade food products.  Campus cafeterias are routinely composting food waste (Cornell composts eight hundred and fifty tons of food waste a year), and a growing number of schools have on-campus community farms that provide fresh produce to students. Schools are working with local food banks and grocery stores to dispose of excess food in an environmentally conscious way. And some campuses are even coming up with more creative ways to address food and sustainability.

College campuses have a broad array of avenues to pursue when it comes to sustainability, and these twelve colleges are leading the way when it comes to making campus dining healthier for students and for our environment. 

Twelve College Campuses Leading the Way for Sustainable Dining 

Clare Algozin | | August 26, 2015

Many cafeterias around the United States are working to provide students with healthy, sustainable meal options. To do this, colleges and universities are changing the way that they purchase and prepare food in their cafeterias, and many of them are beginning to source food locally.

Universities can play a big role in their local and state economiesl they provide jobs and attract new businesses to the community. Now, many of these institutions are taking their role a step further and investing in local agriculture by serving locally sourced food in their cafeterias. Here are 12 universities leading the way in sustainability.

American University in Washington, D.C., purchases roughly 36 percent of the food served in its dining halls within 250 miles of its campus. The university has also started a community garden on campus and hosts a drop-off location for local CSA initiatives. American University students conduced a survey that showed that by removing cafeteria trays, food waste and the number of dishes used per person declined significantly. In Fall 2009, the university eliminated trays in its Terrace Dining Room.

Boston University dining halls serve meal options that include organic, fair trade, free-range, vegetarian fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free, and sustainably harvested food items to students. Their dining services department spends approximately 36 percent of its budget on food items sourced from 58 local farms and 81 local processors. Boston University also offers students discounts for using reusable mugs and composts the pre-consumer food waste produced for all meals.

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