Our Initiatives

Southwestern University Dining Services has introduced various measures in its operations that serve to preserve and protect the environment such as reducing single use plastics, diverting surplus food and locally sourcing our produce whenever possible. Other initiatives we have implemented at Southwestern include:

Reusables To Go

With Covid this year, we had to offer a safe solution for students with meal plans. Students can place their orders on their phones through the Bite U app and pick up at their convenience at the Commons or Cove. To address the increase usage in to go containers, cups and cutlery kits and reduce our disposable footprint, we offer green reusable to go containers and utensils for this service. For our to-go disposables, we switched to recycled paper cups and paper straws to keep as many single use plastic items from going to the landfills.


We have partnered with the SU sustainability committee on campus and donate an average of 15 pounds every Friday in produce scraps for the SU Garden.

Xprss Nap

XPrss Nap dispensers are another solution to reducing energy and waste. They save 30% in paper over traditional napkin dispensing mechanisms. The napkins are made of 100% recycled paper and the dispenser encourages customers to take (and waste) fewer napkins. Energy is saved because less power is used to recycle paper products than to create them from virgin material.


As part of our commitment to increase the sustainability of its operations, Dining Services uses Ecolab’s Apex™ dishwashing system. Apex combines technology and products designed to save water and energy, minimize the impact of products on the environment, and has a built-in method of measuring results. Apex uses a unique combination of detergents, rinse additives and equipment, including non-caustic chemistry and 95% less packaging material than current methods. Apex products come in a compact solid form that significantly reduces transportation shipments compared to bulkier liquid detergents. The Apex management approach monitors each foodservice operation’s “rack-to-guest ratio.” By monitoring and improving this ratio, the system helps reduce the amount of water and energy used at each facility.

Trayless Dining

Southwestern Dining has opted to discontinue the use of trays. The removal of trays has reduced the amount of electricity, chemicals, and water used in the dining halls. Trayless dining also reduces the amount of detergent used in the dishwashing process as well as the amount of grease and solid food waste going down the drain, improving the local water supply as a result.

Local Sourcing

We support local businesses and communities by purchasing from local producers and growers. Sodexo buys 100 percent of our fresh dairy products from local and regional farmers. SU Dining is partnering with True Harvest Farms located in Belton, TX for our lettuce and leafy green products. Everything that they do is from 100% recycled products; from the pots, dirt, and water in their hydroponic farm. One of the great things about partnering with True Harvest is, that not only is it local and sustainable, but the shelf life on the lettuce is 21-25 days. Imagine eating fresh, crisp lettuce that’s 10, 15, 20 days old. Just to prove it, the lettuce that was used for our Earth Day event was 15 days old!

Stop Hunger

In partnership with SU’s Food Recovery Network chapter, in 2020 the SU Dining Department donated 891 pounds of surplus food to the Helping Hands of Georgetown Food Pantry. This equates to more than 550 meals.

During our “1 Swipe Food Drive”, SU students could donate one swipe from their dining plan and help feed local families in need. Our SU students along with SU Dining donated almost $800 in Meals to Helping Hands for families in need in the Georgetown area.

The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation is committed to identifying, investing in and scaling innovative, youth-designed and -led solutions to childhood hunger. As part of our Stop Hunger campaign, we had the pleasure to serve our community. On April 22nd, roughly 300 folks were welcomed with a hot, homecooked meal with our partner at the local Salvation Army. Folks enjoyed, salad, potato salad, cheeseburgers, BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, sliced watermelon, and hot apple pie a la mode!