Public Affairs

Keeping it Green in Dining Halls

March 13, 2012
By Stephanie Thara

Cal State LA Dining HallSalad bars are no longer the only way students can get their daily dose of green in their dorm experience. Dining halls around CSU campuses are turning into healthy, fresh and eco-friendly hubs of sustainable eating and green education.

How food is purchased, how waste is managed and how food is served is taken into consideration when developing sustainable techniques. Campuses are transforming their food services by buying/growing local and organic ingredients, going tray-free to save energy and water, using biodegradable and minimal packaging, composting waste and much more.

The ways CSU campuses have greened up their food services include:

Chico State’s Whitney Dining collects compostable food waste, uses trash bags and packaging that are recycled plastic and encourages students to bring their own CSU Monterey Bay's Meatless Mondaycups by offering a 30-cent discount on drinks around campus.

Did you know that if you switch to vegetarianism, your carbon footprint can decrease by 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide per year? CSU Monterey Bay offers Meatless Mondays, a fully stocked salad bar with fresh locally grown produce and food stations that offer vegetarian or vegan options.

Cal Poly Pomona’s Foundation Dining Services launched The Green Campaign to promote the use of recycled paper products and reduce food waste by implementing trayless dining halls.

Humboldt State's Dining Services purchases food directly from local farmers, which reduces the environmental impacts of transporting food. About 25 to 30 percent of HSU's items are purchased from local growers and food manufacturers.

CSU Bakersfield Dining converts used cooking oil into Biodiesel and has to-go containers and utensils that are fully biodegradable.

Student composting organic waste from campus.In 2011, Sacramento State went through a Dining Hall Refurbish where energy efficient upgrades were implemented, including installing Energy Star® appliances.

San Diego State Dining Services collects pre-consumer food waste in special bins which are then taken to a composting site where the food waste is mixed with yard waste to create compost.

University Dining Services has been working with Shone Farms to bring locally grown produce, wine and grass-fed beef to dining operations at Sonoma State University.