neon cafe vivian sign

Café Vivian in the Frist Center: sustainable offerings, prepared while you watch.

The University’s Campus Dining has collaborated closely with Princeton students for over a decade. Together, they have created an award-winning earth-friendly University dining program, characterized by an eagerness to experiment and innovate. Campus Dining continues to adopt precedent-setting practices that lessen the environmental impact of Princeton’s meal options, while intensifying educational efforts in sustainable dining.


Increase sustainable food purchases to 75 percent by 2020 and raise awareness about green dining.


  • mushrooms

    Campus Dining participated in the weekly spring campus Farmers’ Market. Featured were delicious samples from local producers, including Blueberry Bill’s blueberries, Severino Pasta, Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms and more. 

  • plated food

    Campus Dining held the inaugural Tiger Chef Challenge as a way to strengthen community engagement through food. The event featured a culinary competition that paired students with chef coaches, an enchanted food garden with fresh produce, and vendors that showcased local and sustainable items. 

  • sustainability award logo

    Campus Dining won the Gold Medal for the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Award for 2016 in the category of waste management for its on-going efforts to minimize waste sent to landfills and waste water systems by diverting biodegradable waste to composting (or other landfill deferred systems) whenever possible, and by maximizing recycling efforts throughout the department. Campus Dining was also awarded the overall Grand Prize across all categories (other categories included Outreach and Education and Procurement Practices).

  • green restaurant certification logo

    In 2016, Campus Dining earned Green Restaurant Association certification for Rockefeller/Mathey and Forbes dining halls.

  • Campus Dining in collaboration with student group Greening Dining held a food waste awareness campaign at Forbes College. 

  • pizza made with local ingredients

    During the academic year and through the summer, the Princeton Garden Project and Campus Dining collaborate to produce menu items featuring the campus garden's organic produce.

  • STARS Silver Award

    The AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) allows metric-driven progress assessment across operations and academics for North American higher education and has recognized Princeton at the Silver leadership level

  • dining hall plates and silverware

    As part of its waste and energy reduction efforts, Dining Services upgraded dishwashers and completed conversion to “tray-free” dining in all of its residential dining halls in 2011, reducing annual campus CO2 emissions by an estimated 23 metric tons. 

Sustainable Food Purchase Percentages

Sustainable Food Purchase Percentages
Sustainable Food Purchase Percentages

55 percent of food purchased last year was sustainable, with 43 percent from within 250 miles.

What’s Next

  • Investigate the connection between food-related goals and regional sustainability drivers, such as water, soil and air quality – the Academic Nexus.

  • Research supplier sustainable practices to determine benefits associated with their social responsibility and environmental stewardship by conducting site visits.

  • Expansion of food donation program piloted during the summer and fall of 2017.

  • Evaluate food waste and set goals for reduction through production, food recovery and composting.