We recognize the various levels of interest and awareness on the topic of sustainability within a large campus population and are dedicated to students through activities and programs. The goal of our program is to identify, promote and educate the UNC community on sustainable initiatives, concepts, and practices pertaining to campus dining. We regularly engage in community outreach through weekly informational tabling sessions, sustainable food samplings and we host Themed Meals & Farmers Markets in collaboration with the student organization Fair Local Organic (FLO) Food. We also work with the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling on campus to align our initiatives with the greater University goals and policies.
Our sustainable operational initiatives can be broken down into the following pillars: Sustainable Food, Waste Reduction, Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency and Building Construction & Design. For a brief overview, please review the sustainable initiatives listed below. For a more comprehensive breakdown of our most recent accomplishments, please review our Sustainability Report.
Overview of Our Program
- Feeding the 5,000, In 2015, we were the first school in the USA to host an international campaigning event meant to shine a light on the global food waste scandal, champion the delicious solutions and catalyze the global movement against food waste.
- Sustainable food purchases, inclusive of dining halls and food courts, are regularly tracked and reviewed for the following sustainable food labels: local, regional and third-party certified. Tracking helps provide CDS a way to maintain our goals as well as provides a transparent way to display our efforts to the campus community.
- Implement and maintain continuously sustainable menu options including but not limited to “Meat ‘Less’ Mondays,” grass-fed beef, Firsthand Foods breakfast meats, Maola milk products, organic yogurt, humane chicken and cage-free eggs.
- Vegan and vegetarian offerings are available daily in our dining halls and food courts.
- Fall and spring Farmers Markets, organized and hosted by FLO Food and CDS, provide campus the opportunity to purchase and sample fresh produce, local meats and a variety of other products brought by local farmers and CDS vendors.
- Partnership with the UNC Real Food Calculator Program for a biannual assessment of our Real Food purchases within our dining halls.
- Local restaurants featured within our food courts provide international and cultural cuisine and provides local businesses an opportunity to offer food on-campus.
- Recycling receptacles are offered in both back of the house operations and in front of the house for our guests.
- Back-of-the-house composting carried out at both dining halls and select food court locations.
- Front-of-the-house composting available at Lenoir Mainstreet and the Beach Cafe (2018).
- Reusable to-go container program at both dining halls.
- Reusable drink container program in our food courts to discourage and decrease the waste stream generated by plastic bottles, soda cans, coffee cups, etc.
- Food production planning and waste management practices are an integral part of our daily operations.
- Trayless dining program throughout campus implemented to conserve water and reduce food waste.
- Energy efficient lighting by converting to LED Lighting.
- Energy Star rated equipment and low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints/glues in new construction and renovation.
- Utilize and reuse recycled/reclaimed materials for dining construction.