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Penn recognized as top performer in 2022 Sustainable Campus Index

September 22, 2022

The University of Pennsylvania has been recognized as a top performer in the 2022 Sustainable Campus Index, achieving the number two (2) spot in the Food & Dining category. A publication from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing sustainable colleges and universities overall and in 17 impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

AASHE also highlighted the Catering@Penn website as an institutional best practice.

The efforts of Penn Dining and the university’s food service partner, Bon Appetit, to procure sustainable food contributed to this #2 ranking overall and the top Ivy League university in this category.  Penn achieved top performer status by earning the 2nd highest score in the Food & Dining subcategory in STARS. The Food & Dining subcategory considers how much of the food procured for Penn’s campus is plant-forward, or is certified by a third party to encourage environmentally friendly and humane farming methods, help eliminate unsafe working conditions and alleviate poverty for farmworkers. These actions reduce environmental impact, support fair and resilient food systems, and reduce food waste. Dining services support sustainable food systems by making low impact dining options available and educating customers about more sustainable food options.

“Sustainability is a core value of both Penn Dining and Bon Appetit, our food service provider, “said Pam Lampitt, director of Hospitality Services, who oversees Penn’s dining program. “It is reflected in the percentage of our ingredients which are locally sourced, in our recipes which promote plant-based options, and in our kitchen principles that support the campus’ waste reduction goals. We are proud of our efforts and thrilled that they have been recognized by AASHE.”

A separate section of the Sustainable Campus Index, Institutional Highlights, draws awareness to innovative and high impact projects, programs and initiatives from STARS reports submitted in 2021-2022. Sustainable Catering@Penn, a newly designed webpage at University of Pennsylvania provides search functionality for information about Penn’s Preferred Contract Caterers. Through Catering@Penn, users can now search for caterers based on cuisine and dietary preference
(e.g. kosher, halal, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free). Users can also search for caterers based on diversity classification, environmental sustainability capabilities, and local/regional designations.

The university has developed 4 tiers of capabilities for each supplier: Level 1: no straws, no styrofoam; Level 2: Level 1 plus recyclable wares, reusable wares, alternatives to box lunches; Level 3: Levels 1-2 plus 50% or more food sourced locally and fresh vs. frozen; Level 4: Levels 1-3 plus ability to compost event waste.

“Congratulations to the University of Pennsylvania for their incredible sustainability accomplishments,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Upon reading the innovative and high-impact initiatives within this report, I’m encouraged that the global sustainability transformation that we desperately need is, in fact, happening.” 

Penn’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

Penn Sustainability is a University-wide initiative to advance social, environmental, and economic sustainability at the University of Pennsylvania, and coordinate programs to develop a more sustainable campus. Visit sustainability.upenn.edu.

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and are organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. All reports are publicly accessible on the STARS website. For more information, visit stars.aashe.org.

AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world's future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit https://www.aashe.org/.

 

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