Grand Valley State University, MI Sustainability Efforts

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Grand Valley State University, MI, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Ongoing

Source File:


Campus Dining is continually increasing its sustainable practices while serving the campus community high quality foods and top-notch customer service. Below is a list of our current sustainability initiatives.

Local Vendors:

  • Produce: Local Farm Markets, when available
  • Ice Cream: Hudsonville Ice Cream, Hudsonville, MI
  • Baked Goods: Sandy’s Bakery, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Concessions: Kowalski Hot Dogs, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Dressings: Chadel Farm, Lowell, MI
  • Vending: Karr’s Nuts, Detroit, MI
  • Concessions: Grand Rapids Popcorn

Note: Using local vendors are an important sustainability initiative because it requires the use of less fuel to deliver the food to campus.

Waste Reduction/Recycling:

  • Campus Dining participated in a Sustainable Research Group in Grand Rapids. Food waste from our locations was made into compost.
  • Central production uses to-go containers made of corn products. For more information about the containers used, click here.
  • Campus Dining uses biodegradable grocery bags.
  • The Meal Plan brochures were streamlined into one brochure in 2007. T his reduced the number of brochures printed by 3,500 from 2006 to 2007.
  • Campus Dining sold “Earth Sense” mugs to celebrate Earth Week. Customers could refill that mug for .25¢ for the remainder of the academic year in all Campus Dining locations.
  • Customers can refill their own coffee mug at any Campus Dining location for $1. Campus Dining gave away over 1,000 mugs and refillable cups during the Sustainability Event in Fall 2007.
  • Campus Dining partners with the Housing Office by placing our brochures into their student mailings. This eliminates the use of unnecessary envelopes and fuel by the post office.
  • Nutritional information can be found on the website, eliminating the use of printed brochures.
  • Campus Dining purchases recycled printer cartridges.
  • Chemical buckets for cleaning products are reused.
  • Payroll envelopes for managers and supervisors are reused.
  • Campus Dining locations have collection sites for pop cans, plastic bottles and glass.
  • The Meadows uses reusable plastic baskets to serve food.
  • In Fall 2007, Campus Dining will began using disposable plates made of sugar cane. More information can be found here.
  • Campus Dining is also using sustainable cups, more information can be found here.
  • Used grease from Campus Dining locations is used to make bio-fuel for a GV SU campus bus
  • Campus Dining participates in Recyclemania, a 10-week competition among colleges and university recycling programs. More information can be found at

Sustainable Products (Used by Campus Dining or Available by Campus Dining):

  • Eco-Friendly Coffee and Fair Trade Tea is available at Einstein Bros. Bagels
  • EcoGround and Fair Trade coffee is offered in Java City locations and the Fresh Food Company. More information can be found here.
  • The Meadows grows its own herbs
  • Low emission fluorescent lights are used in Campus Dining coolers
  • Campus Dining purchased a flex-fuel vehicle used for food delivery
  • In 2007/2008 all Campus Dining uniform shirts will be 100% cotton.

General Sustainable Efforts:

  • Campus Dining participates in the Adopt-a-Highway program.
  • Healthy food options are available in the vending machines
  • Campus Dining educates its employees on sustainability through our BLT training course
  • Campus Dining eliminated the use of trays at the Fresh Food Co. to eliminate the need for unnecessary water and soap usage.
  • Campus Dining has a manager dedicated to sustainability.


  • To create as sustainable of a kitchen as possible in the lower Commons renovation.
  • To participate in a community garden project.
  • Utilize as many Fair Trade products as possible.
  • Use sustainable and biodegradable utensils in dining locations.
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