Campus Dining is committed to the goals set by the University’s Climate Action Plan and Plastic Reduction Plan. Our department’s goal is to lower our environmental impact through ongoing efforts to conserve resources, employ green design, and employ eco-friendly strategies.

To this end, the purchasing unit has challenged our vendors to offer more sustainable products in order to enable us to serve our customers high-quality products while maintaining sustainability standards.

Here are some of the sustainability practices that Campus Dining currently has in place:

Campus Dining has partnered with OCRRA (Onondaga Country Resource Recovery Agency) to turn pre- and post-consumer food waste into organic compost. Some of the compost created from our program is used to fertilize gardens throughout the University.

The Food Recovery Network is a student-run organization that collects unused food from dining centers and delivers it to local non-profit agencies. The food provided helps the agencies reduce their food costs so they are able to use more funds towards their programming. The Food Recovery Network is a national organization with a dual mission of feeding people and reducing food waste.

Compostable cutlery, plates, straws, and cups are now being used for retail, catering, and dining centers (except at franchise locations, which are bound by contracts with national brands). The department is making a transition toward more eco-friendly grab-and-go packaging.

Campus Dining partners with EcoLab for eco-conscious cleaning products. The products are:

  • Biodegradable
  • Nontoxic to aquatic life
  • Concentrated, which leads to less waste
  • Low phosphorus

Campus Dining recognizes the positive ecological and economic impacts of purchasing food from local suppliers and farms, and therefore continues to expand its connections throughout Central New York.

Using a refillable water bottle or coffee mug helps reduce our carbon footprint by eliminating waste that may end up in landfills.

University cafes offer a high-quality, reuseable insulated mug available for purchase to become Mug Club member. Benefits include a 20% discount on a regular coffee or tea each time you use the mug. In addition, Mug Club users will receive one free regular coffee or tea fill-up on Fridays. If you would like to use your own mug in our cafes, the size should be 20 oz or smaller. You will receive a 10% discount when using your own insulated mug.

In dining centers, students are encouraged to use their own water bottles (within reason) to take a beverage to go. Water refill stations are also available throughout campus and in residence halls.

Student Involvement

Students are an integral part of our sustainability.  By using the Sustainability Centers in our dining centers, you are helping Syracuse University reach our sustainability goals. Here is how it works:

Future Planning

Looking to the near future, Campus Dining continues to work towards more sustainable practices.

  • A plate study will be conducted to analyze the amount of food diners are putting on their plates. The information from the study will provide guidance on how diners can reduce waste by taking smaller portions and returning for more as needed.
  • Our executive chefs are designing a menu that will produce less waste, which includes adding more plant-based foods to our menu. Plant-based foods take less resources to cultivate than meat products.
  • Menu planning and purchasing will continue to evolve. The goal is to plan meals that will generate less pre- and post-consumer waste.
  • New energy-efficient equipment will be installed as current equipment ages and needs to be replaced.