|Submission Date||Dec. 13, 2017|
|2.00 / 2.00||
Center for Sustainability and the Environment
From the Wells Dining website:
Wells Dining is operated by the Inns of Aurora, a local brand which also operates several award-winning dining and lodging properties in the Village of Aurora, including the Aurora Inn, Rowland House, E.B. Morgan House, Wallcourt Hall, the Aurora Inn Dining Room, the Village Market, Skillet & Embers Catering Company, and the Fargo Bar & Grill. Recently honored by the James Beard Foundation and featured in magazines the likes of Bon Appétit and Gourmet, the Inns of Aurora has gathered some of the finest chefs in the state who are committed to serving from-scratch food made with fresh and local ingredients whenever possible.
Main Dining Hall
In the Dining Hall, students enjoy a family buffet style service featuring both comfort food and varied entrees, as well as a taco bar and an extensive salad bar along with homemade soups, from scratch pizza, and an array of desserts. The managing staff makes a wholehearted commitment to meet all necessary needs, whether it be vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, and offers healthy options under the Bite Right program. If you have dietary restrictions or special request for holidays and religious observances, please get in touch with the managing staff by emailing [email protected].
Wells Dining is committed to ecological sustainability and is a willing participant in the global initiative to create less waste and consume fewer resources with great emphasis placed on fresh local ingredients.
Wells Dining has obtained fresh vegetables from the student garden on campus.
The Aurora Famers Market, a weekly market held on the campus from June through October, is a project of the Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment. The Center director serves as the market management advisory, supervising the hiring and training of a paid student market manager (paid with College funds), and also serving as a site supervisor for student interns.
Wells Dining offers vegan options at every meal, not including the salad bar option which is a standing feature. The Center for Sustainability has educated the campus community about "Meatless Monday" through Facebook messages and encouragement in employee and student sustainability guides.
We plan to phase in Meatless Monday programs.
For our presidential Inauguration, Wells College worked extensively with Wells Dining on a sustainability-focused Harvest Dinner, featuring seasonal, locally-sourced fruits and vegetables and local meats and cheeses. The annual Social dinner for the Peachtown Native American Festival features seasonal, local produce that have relationships to area native peoples (apples, peaches, squash, corn).
The student-run GRIND Cafe - a project of the Sullivan Center for Business - has as a focus on offering exclusively locally-roasted, Fair Trade certified coffees. The GRIND also offers Fair Trade certified teas and the GRIND student management staff mindfully seeks out local products (milk, creamers) and products with sustainable attributes.
All items on the serving line are labeled for "vegetarian" or "vegan", to direct customers toward those low-impact options. We also provide extensive signage about proper post-consumer compost separation in our dish room.
The Center for Sustainability and the Environment offers several different outreach/learning opportunities. During the 2016-17 academic year, in our Sustainability Perspectives series, which brings experts in to campus to speak about sustainability from a variety of viewpoints, we had talks from several speakers on sustainable food systems. These included a talk about permaculture design of urban edible forest gardens, Haudenosaunee (area Iroquois Native American people) food sovereignty efforts, a discussion of food, wellness and sustainability; commercial scale food waste composting; a regionally adapted seed company; and environmental stewardship in collegiate dining programs.
In Fall 2016, our Sustainability Film series offered a public screening of "Just Eat It", about the problem of food waste. For all our film screenings, we offer organic popcorn and butter.
The campus has participated in the NY Campus Crunch for the past few years, in which we educate our campus community about the importance of local food systems and engaging them to pledge to eat fruits and vegetables, hopefully locally grown.
Wells Dining offers the Healthy Bites program in Dining Hall, which focuses on healthy eating habits. Nutritional information is offered. The dining program has a "Let's Eat" committee to engage students in menu planning and providing more diverse menu options.
The Dining program has a standard make-your-own taco/burrito bar, and in the past offered an Asian inspired noodle bar. The program works with student organizations to organize themed dinner events (Caribbean night for the Querencia student club).
Wells Dining is a contract food service operator, and the costs for containers, hauling, tip fees for landfill trash, recyclables, cardboard, and waste cooking oil generated from their operations is paid BY their operation, so it is in their interest to reduce any and all waste from dining operations.
Wells College now participates in RecycleMania, capturing information about landfill waste, recycling, and food waste composting. We do provide information to Wells Dining about how much organic waste is generated, so they can modify food preparation practices accordingly.
Wells Dining has been "trayless" for several years in its Dining Hall and its recently opened pub, the Well. Many items are "pre-plated" to reduce food waste as well. The Dining program recently invested in smaller 9" dinner plates instead of standard size 10-12" dinner plates; this helps reduce food waste as well.
We do not yet do prepared food donations from the dining or catering operations - we continue to explore those options. During our move-out collections each semester, we do accept non-perishable food items and donate these to a local food pantry.
We collect cooking oil for pickup by a commercial reprocessor, Southern Tier Rendering, which uses this oil for various industrial processes.
The dining hall staff are currently separating and collecting preparation waste in their kitchen area and adding it to the collected post-consumer compostable waste for pickup.
We collect coffee grounds and filters from the student-run GRIND Cafe and transfer these to a special compost collection bin in the greenhouse attached to the same building to await weekly pickup by our compost hauler.
As mentioned elsewhere, Wells Dining has collaborated with the campus to establish a post-consumer waste separation station that collects compostable food products and paper napkins and directs this waste stream to commercial composting.
In our dining hall, we direct patrons to separate compostable food waste and paper napkins from reusable serviceware. All compostable food waste is transferred to compost collection bins on the dining hall loading dock to await weekly pickup by our compost hauler.
In the Well, the campus pub, we have institute post-consumer compost separation, but this is much more complicated, as there is a mix of reusable serviceware (wine glasses, plastic platters), recyclables (plastic eating utensils, cold beverage cups, condiment cups, etc), and compostable food waste, liners, napkins, etc. We have provided special signage at the separation station to demonstrate what items go into which bin, which has helped increase participation and reduce contamination of the respective streams.
Wells Dining exclusively uses reusable serviceware for its "dine in" dining program in the Dining Hall.
Each fall, the Center for Sustainability and the Environment and the Office of Student Leadership and Activities collaborated to issue all new members of the campus community (staff, faculty, students) with a reusable beverage container. Wells Dining eliminated disposable hot beverage cups from the dining hall and only offers free beverage fills to be taken out in the diners' own reusable beverage container.
The GRIND Cafe, a student run coffee house, offers a 25-cent discount to anyone using their own beverage container. In addition, the GRIND partnered with the Center for Sustainability and the Environment on the GOTCHA card program, an incentive to use reusable mugs. Members of the sustainability-related student organizations "spot" those using their reusable beverage container with a card redeemable for a free beverage refill dispensed into the bearer's reusable beverage container.
The Well, the new pub on campus, utilizes paper-lined reusable plastic baskets and some reusable glassware and plastic tumblers for its food and drink service.
Wells Dining works with its local dairy supplier to send back empty milk containers for reuse.
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