Student Group Profile: Greening Dining

Posted on November 17, 2015

Greening Dining has collaborated with Campus Dining since 2002 in an effort to adopt more sustainable practices in the dining halls.

wooden coin Coin used in the GoViv reusable container program

The group brings together students of all backgrounds - economics majors, EEB majors, vegetarians, athletes, vegetarian athletes, etc. From this diverse array of members comes a diverse array of ideas and projects, with the common goal of implementing sustainable food-related practices on campus. Apart from general group meetings, students also meet in smaller focus groups to work on specific projects. The full group meets monthly with Campus Dining and the Office of Sustainability.

reusable container GoViv reusable container

Together over the years, they have worked to develop Dining Services' sustainable practices and policies, including increasing organic and local food options, implementing tray-free dining and ensuring that food waste is sent to local farms or composted. In 2013, the group introduced GoViv, a reusable food container program, in Café Vivian in the Frist Campus Center. Last year, with the help of Campus Dining, Greening Dining replaced the napkins with compostable ones, introduced more vegetarian and vegan options to the dining halls, and ran a food waste awareness campaign in Mathey Dining Hall where leftovers were disposed in a clear container on top of a scale. The pilot encouraged practices that minimize waste and raised student consciousness of how much waste is produced at each meal.

food waste pilot Food waste was emptied into a clear bucket and weighed

This year, the group has been focusing on greener dining through continued food waste reduction efforts. A second food waste awareness campaign, this time with a photo contest, will be launched in early December! Other initiatives include: bringing composting to the eating clubs; reducing the campus carbon footprint with more vegetarian options; providing better food labeling in the dining halls; and most recently, promoting sustainability at Frist. The biggest problems at Frist, and the projects underway to address them, all have to do with generating less waste. These goals include selling fewer packaged items; removing bottled water from Late Meal; and of course, bringing composting to the gallery.

For more information or to become a member of Greening Dining, contact the Dining Chair, Reka Zempleni '16.