March is National Nutrition Month!
Do you have a teen that is looking at colleges for their future? Are you mapping out your summer college visits? What is most important to your teen when it comes to choosing a school? The city? The studies? The students? The food?
If you live in St. Augustine or have visited Flagler College that is located there, you will find one of the most beautiful college dining halls. According to several students and alumni, the food is good too with a variety to please everyone.
Going to college doesn’t have to mean letting go of your sustainable lifestyle. Many colleges are adopting a more eco-friendly way of taking care of everyday life on campus, including in their dining halls. These campus dining halls take special care to use local and organic food, conserve resources, and find smart ways to make their dining experiences positive for students and the environment.
- University of Massachusetts at Lowell: The University of Massachusetts has adapted to fit the dining preferences of students. Dining halls stay open later, and allow for students to eat five or six smaller meals a day instead of big meals. Food courts offer student diners a variety of foods with ethnic food and trends toward healthy eating.
- Tufts: Tufts helped to form the dining revolution in 1995, bringing in more offerings. They changed from a salad bar, deli bar, and hot food line to a variety of platforms including vegan and vegetarian options.
- Sterling College: Sterling College’s mission for food includes making the food system a part of its educational programs. It works to use Sterling-grown, organic, and locally produced foods when available, serving healthy, nutritious foods, and remaining as environmentally conscientious as possible.
- Colby College: Colby College practices environmental awareness in its dining services. The dining services department is working to reduce bottled water on campus, as well as the campus’ carbon footprint. The school follows the recommendations for fish species, and utilizes bulk packaged foods whenever possible.
- Oberlin College: As part of the school’s sustainability initiatives, students at Oberlin perform food waste audits, and Oberlin dining halls have a program that allows students to take out food in reusable containers. The Oberlin Student Cooperative Association feeds 600 people, and houses 175 students. Beyond the OSCA, Oberlin’s food service company is committed to local food sources, and it’s estimated that 1/3 of the school’s food is local.
- Northeastern University: This university’s dining facility was the first in the US to earn both the 3-star certified Green Restaurant distinction as well as LEED Gold status. Northeastern also practices an aggressive food composting initiative.
- Lyndon State College: Lyndon State College is proud of its sustainability on campus, including its dining halls. Local farms, dairies, and food suppliers help source the ingredients for their foods, and they work to minimize their environmental footprint by going trayless and composting paper products and food waste.
- Columbia: Columbia has several green initiatives for its dining halls. These include selling local products, and supporting green businesses. Columbia practices recycling, paper waste reduction, waste prevention, and food donation as well. Additionally, Columbia serves sustainable seafood.
- Northland College: Northland is a great example of green eating, with sustainable seafood and free range meat. The school also offers organic and fair trade options, as well as plenty of choices for vegan and vegetarian eaters. Each student receives a free mug that they can reuse and get drink discounts with.
- Berea College: Berea College focuses on sustainability by practicing waste reduction and recycling in the kitchen. They have a composting system that goes from the kitchen to the garden, which produces vegetables for the college as well as the community. Local farms and businesses supply Berea College dining when food from the college farm is not available.
- Gettysburg College: Gettysburg makes use of its fryer oil by turning it into biofuel. This small step has led to even more, encouraging the school to increasingly serve locally grown and processed food, recycle, and reduce the volume of post-consumer waste with a pulper.
- University of Washington: The University of Washington works to serve local, natural, and organic products by partnering with local artisans, food, and beverage providers. The University helps the local area by driving sustainable business practices. Chefs create vegan meals, as well, offering students protein that is sourced locally.
- Oxford College: Oxford College has worked to focus on sustainability in its dining halls. Some of the features include efficient lighting, water catching, and more. The college doesn’t just practice sustainability, it also teaches, encouraging students to learn about sustainability.
- Yale: Yale has taken on a project to focus on sustainable food. Through the project, Yale manages an organic farm on campus and works to create a sustainable dining program. It also offers educational programs related to food and architecture that teach students about sustainable food.
- College of the Atlantic: Sustainable food has been a focus at the College of the Atlantic since 1972, and since then, the school has worked to serve foods that have been raised in a caring and respectful manner. Food is made fresh in campus kitchens, the school makes use of a campus community garden, and COA runs an organic farm.
- Duke University: Duke University serves local and organic foods in its dining halls. Minimal biodegradable packaging is used whenever possible, and foods are composted. Recycling is also promoted in the dining halls and on campus.
- UC Berkeley: UC Berkeley has focused on sustainable food by greening their food supply, disposal, and operations. 26% of all food and beverages are sustainable, it had the first organic salad bar in the nation, and it was the first college campus to be certified organic. Berkeley also has a student food collective with a member-worker owned grocer, cafe and deli.
- Middlebury College: Students at Vermont’s Middlebury College enjoy sustainable practices in their dining halls. One dining hall has a green roof, which boasts grasses and vegetation that reduce heating and cooling costs as well as storm water runoff, while providing a wildlife habitat. The college’s dining halls are tray free to save energy and water, and the school makes sizable purchases of local foods.
- Evergreen: Living up to its name, Evergreen practices green dining, with 32% of its food from local and organic sources. Evergreen’s organic farm was established in 1972, and its food is consumed in the cafeteria, shared with the community, or donated.
- Bates College: Bates College was one of the first college members of the Green Restaurant Association, with 30% of its food budget going to local products. This school’s dining services recycles, composts, or diverts 82% of their waste, and used cooking oil is sold for biodiesel, so a dumpster is not needed.
Special contributor: Tim Handorf