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 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.
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.
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!
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!