Sustainability is essential to our operations at the University of St. Thomas. Our five tent poles of sustainable practices encumbrances all areas of service within our units. As a department, constantly strive to find new areas where we can apply these practices to our operations to provide a sustainable dining experience.
Coffee: We are committed to working with vendors that uphold the same values and ethics which the St. Thomas community has come to expect. In 2013 Dining Services switched to Alakef and Peace coffee, by popular vote of the St. Thomas student body. Alakef coffee is 100% Fair Trade/Organic roasted fresh on the north shore of Lake Superior, while Peace Coffee is a Minneapolis based company with a roastery only miles from the campuses of St. Thomas. These partnerships with our vendors provides not only a sustainable but locally sourced option reducing transportation emissions through the entire production process.
Retail Products: Dining Services offers a variety of locally sourced and organic options in its retail locations. Such as locally sourced bagels and breads, sushi, nuts, and more. Sandwiches and wraps made on site further reduce transportation costs and provides a cost effective solution for our guests.
Fruits and Vegetables: Dining Services is also proud to work with the UST Stewardship Garden. A community garden located on campus, which provides fresh fruits and vegetables to The View during the summer months. Established and maintained by students, the garden has received state wide attention through their community involvement.
LEED Certification: Three out of our ten locations, including the department’s administrative offices, bakery, and catering operations is located in the newly constructed Anderson Student Center. Completed in 2011, the Anderson Student Center is LEED gold certified, housing the View which is the largest dining location among the university serving on average 2,800 meals a day. Dining Services takes advantage of naturally lit facilities, water efficiency systems, and lighting controls. To learn more about the Anderson Student Center’s certification visit: stthomas.edu/asc/about/leedgoldcertification
Trash Compaction: In 2015 the University of St. Thomas installed trash compactors in select dining locations across campus; this initiative was discontinued in dining locations and the university is in a trail period for the other locations.
Trayless: In 2013 Dining Services removed trays from both of its cafeteria style dining halls. By removing trays the university is able to save thousands of water and food waste per year. Dining Services also continually works to remove paper goods from its dining facilities reducing our impact on landfills.
Paper Usage: In addition Dining Services works with the university within our offices in regards to paper usage among our offices. By using printing management software we are able to track and make decisions to reduce paper usage and monitor our impact on the environment. We are committed to recycling as well, learn more at: stthomas.edu/recycle
Supplies Reduction: Available in T's and Scooters, guests may enroll in a token program which utilizes reusable containers. This program aims to eliminate the plastic and cardboard containers the guest receives each time they order a meal to go. In addition, Dining Services washes the container, giving the guest an added convenience.
Meatless Monday: In 2015, The View, St. Thomas' largest dining hall, implemented Meatless Monday at its Main Course station, Meatless Monday is a global initiative to reduce the amount of meat consumed. Reducing meat consumption minimizes water usage, reduces greenhouse gasses, and reduces fuel dependence.
Dining Services is proud to partner with community organizations to donate left over or unused food product. Through the collaboration of student and culinary staff the university holds a chapter with the Food Recovery Network which helps to “fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste.” Dining Services also partners with a variety of other local charities to ensure unused food product is both benefiting the community and the earth.
University of St. Thomas Dining Services is continually looking for ways to organically compost. In 2014 we switched 100% of our hot beverage cups to a biodegradable solution, which takes approximately 45 days to break down and eliminates waste to landfills. While the University does not utilize this benefit, these coffee cups integrate the sleeve into the cup which eliminates materials and transportation emissions from additional shipments. Additionally, the cups are made out of recycled materials which supports a sustainability mission.
In an effort to further reduce our impact on landfills, disposed food waste within our cafeteria units are donated to local farmers for use with agriculture. This solution is both economical and resourceful in maximizing the utility of leftover food waste.