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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Marian Brown
Submission Date Dec. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Wells College
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Marian Brown
Director
Center for Sustainability and the Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

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 wellsdining@innsofaurora.com.

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
Yes

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

Wells Dining has obtained fresh vegetables from the student garden on campus.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, and/or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a vegan dining program that makes diverse, complete-protein vegan options available to every member of the campus community at every meal?:
Yes

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
No

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

We plan to phase in Meatless Monday programs.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

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).


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a sustainability-themed food outlet on-site, either independently or in partnership with a contractor or retailer?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labeling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have other sustainability-related initiatives (e.g. health and wellness initiatives, making culturally diverse options available)?:
Yes

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

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).


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor participate in a competition or commitment program and/or use a food waste prevention system to track and improve its food management practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

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.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented trayless dining (in which trays are removed from or not available in dining halls) and/or modified menus/portions to reduce post-consumer food waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
Yes

A brief description of the food donation program:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses (e.g. converting cooking oil to fuel, on-site anaerobic digestion)?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

We collect cooking oil for pickup by a commercial reprocessor, Southern Tier Rendering, which uses this oil for various industrial processes.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

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.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

Wells Dining exclusively uses reusable serviceware for its "dine in" dining program in the Dining Hall.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor provide reusable and/or third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals (in conjunction with an on-site composting program)?:
No

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

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.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented other materials management initiatives to minimize waste not covered above (e.g. working with vendors and other entities to reduce waste from food packaging)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

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.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.