Food does not loom large enough in university sustainability metrics given its outsized role in achieving the SDGs. With increasing recognition that transforming food systems is critical for climate resiliency, human health, social and racial equity, and economic health, it is critical that we do more. We need to anticipate future innovations, understand emerging decisions that food service professionals will confront, and help guide campus decisions to advance the SDGs.
As a capstone project in their Master of Sustainable Food Systems degree, six graduate students, along with Professor Kathleen Merrigan, will present the results of a study of the many metrics used by third parties to evaluate the sustainability of campus dining providers and map these current metrics onto emerging trends and challenges. This will include sharing results of a survey and interviews, along with a literature review and in-depth comparative analysis. Rating systems, such as STARS, Princeton Review, Sierra Club Cool Schools, WRI Cool School Pledge, Real Food Project and more will be considered as part of this study.
This presentation will explore unintended consequences and missed opportunities, as well as strengths in current evaluation systems. Recommendations to improve university food system metrics (within food service and beyond) will be shared to alert the AASHE community of potential strategies that could be employed to enhance the sustainability of food systems locally, nationally, and globally.