Schools across the country are trying to find innovative ways to make their campus and cafeterias more sustainable. All are taking different approaches. One of the most sustainable schools in the country is Arizona State University (ASU).
ASU calls iteself the “School of Sustainability.” It focuses on areas such as energy conservation, renewable energy, zero waste, transportation, food services, and more. The Food Justice Team and I were curious as to what the “School of Sustainability” did to improve their cafeteria. ASU’s goal in food services is to maintain sustainability through water reduction, pollution management, and energy and water efficiency.
With this mission in mind, many changes and projects were implemented. The dining services at ASU, Sun Devil Dining, were committed to making “environmentally responsible decisions” and “minimizing environmental impact while providing quality food and service.” ASU also created the Campus Harvest program, growing and harvesting a variety of different plants. The Campus Harvest program also including the Arboretum Herb Garden and the Arboretum Community Garden, which the SHAB (Sustainability House at Barrett) and ASU Grow student organizations helped maintain.
SHAB is a student-initiated, student run project that work together to build a community of students that are interested in sustainability related issues. The Sustainability House is two connect dorm halls that are designed to meet the community’s needs in the new Honors College Academic Complex. These students have the responsibility of learning work together to create a vision of what a sustainable future means. These students will be supported by the university in achieving these goals in and out of the classroom.
Along with all these great ideas that ASU was able to implement into their campus, it also created a Sustainable Foods Task Force and an Engrained Café. The Sustainable Foods Task Force has about 85,000 students, employees, partners, and contractors working for a common goal.. The Sustainable Foods Task Force set out to provide purchasing guidance fo the food service providers and link the sustainable food policy with other objectives at ASU and ensure that the university’s community is well educated about all the sustainability in relation to food. Along with all the education providing for ASU’s community the Engrained Café is a café that serves locally grown and sustainable meals made to order, displays information about local farmers, and has tips on how eco-conscious behaviors can be implemented into daily lives.
ASU works hard to be the “School of Sustainability” it claims. It has used many different approaches and continues to find new ways to do so. ASU is a model and an epitome of what students and universities can achieve.