Zag Dining by Sodexo’s mission statement is to: Improve the Quality of Daily Life of all the people we serve and to contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of the communities, regions and countries where we operate. We believe that beginning with caring for our work environment and our customers is the best place to start to accomplish this mission. That is why we are so committed to being sustainable in our business operations on campus at Gonzaga University.
With April being Earth Month and Earth Day being April 22, we’d like to share with you some of the things we do on campus to reduce our Carbon Footprint and be sustainable. Here is a list highlighting just some of the things we do on campus:
- We compost at the COG and Marketplace Express and work with Waste Management & Barr-Tech in Spokane to accomplish this.
- We work with Spokane BioDiesel to recycle our fryer oil to create biodiesel.
- We recycle at all of our dining locations.
- We serve and sell Fair Trade Coffee.
- We donate our coffee grounds to the Campus Kitchen Garden.
- We always source our produce locally when available and in-season.
- We always source our dairy, meat and wheat locally.
- We focus on selling organic and healthy foods in our new market on campus and around all of our locations.
- We always offer a variety of meatless meals to reduce our carbon footprint.
- We donate all of our leftover food or food we cannot use to Campus Kitchen.
- We are tray-less which reduces waste and water consumption
- We have eliminated all Styrofoam in campus dining.
- We use compostable “To-Go” serve-ware.
- We use compostable paper napkins.
- We do not sell bottled water.
- We use Eco-Lab cleaning products that are environmentally friendly..
- We use natural light or only turn on half of the lights whenever possible to save energy.
These are just some of the things that we are doing to make every day a better day.
Gonzaga is in a Sodexo Pilot Program titled “A Better Tomorrow” in order to educate students through promotions and events about sustainability. The program has three stages that are being rolled out on campuses over the Spring Semester. The first stage was to encourage students to choose healthier items for the environment and for them. In order for us to educate the students, we hosted an event in the COG where the entire menu consisted of healthful items. We had our resident dietician on hand to answer student’s questions and to help educate them about the options available. We also created a Facebook contest which encouraged students to make the right choices by having them post photos of themselves eating healthy items.
The second phase of the program took place after Spring Break. The goal of this stage was to educate the students on reducing waste. We hosted a “Re-cycled Art” competition where students were challenged to make art out of recyclable materials. We had Waste Management come to the COG to educate the students on our Composting efforts. We also displayed a “Weigh the Waste” table where almost 300 pounds of waste was weighed and sent to the composter during dinner at the COG.
The third phase focuses on sourcing locally. Since we already source much of our product locally, we will be hosting a sustainable outdoor BBQ and farmer’s market in late April to show students this. We will have representatives from the farms and ranches from where all the products are sourced and maps to show the students where they are located.
We have recently appointed Dan Harris to act as our Sustainability Champion on campus. Dan will be distributing e-newsletters and attending meetings and conferences regarding sustainability on college campuses focusing on Food Services.
Moving into next fall, we will be launching a new bike to school campaign to encourage off-campus students to ride their bikes to and from campus. Riding a bike as opposed to driving a car is not only good for the student’s health, but also reduces the emissions in the air and our carbon footprint and saves money! We are also looking to start in the fall a Sodexo program called “Choose-To-Reuse” in which all of our to-go containers would be reusable and we will encourage students to use re-usable coffee and water containers, as well by offering discounts on their drinks. We are constantly researching new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and increase the amount of sustainable products we have on campus. Most importantly, we are committed to educating the students on why these efforts are so imperative for their future.