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What We're Doing

We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations. Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious:

JMU Dining Services strives to become more sustainable and efficient in their everyday operations. We work to reduce our environmental footprint while delivering exceptional service results.  We also offer expertise and practical solutions to our campus partners to help them reduce their environmental impacts.  Our goals are to develop and implement long-term environmental stewardship programs and policies within the areas of sustainable food; responsible procurement; green buildings; energy and water conservation; transportation; and waste stream management. These programs and policies are called Green Thread as they weave throughout our business operations every day.


Check Local Purchasing
JMU Dining Services cares about more than just what you eat. We care about where it comes from too. Through our local purchasing initiative, we are able to provide the JMU campus with local products sourced within 150 miles or the state of Virginia. The list changes throughout the year depending on seasonality and availability. However, here is a sampling of a few of our partners:
  • Grayson Natural Farms
  • Kirby Farms
  • Dodd’s Acres
  • Crown Orchard
  • Parker Farms
  • Twin Oaks Community Farm
  • Light Family Farm
  • Ryan’s Fruit Market
  • Sweet as Nature Bakery
  • Andrew’s Farming Company


Check Composting
We are committed to identifying and implementing a long-term solution for organic waste at JMU. We currently compost all pre and post- consumer food waste in residential dining halls, pre and post-consumer in our busiest retail locations, our 25,000 capacity football stadium, and as well as pre consumer waste in both Starbucks.

The steady increase in tons over the years is a result of our expanding composting program.
  • Composting Packaging: Food court composting required that traditional disposable packaging be replaced with compostable products—e.g., utensils, clamshell boxes, bakery packaging, straws, napkins. Two of the items—a 5 oz. container for cold side dishes and a triangular wedge sandwich container—were developed by Eco-Products Inc. expressly for JMU Dining Services and are now being used by other universities. About 90% of all disposable packaging, materials, and cutlery are compostable at retail dining locations.


Check Recycling
JMU Dining aligns with the University on recycling efforts; we work together on programming for events such as RecycleMania. To further show our commitment to excellence, JMU was awarded Outstanding University Award for excellence for recycling and composting by Virginia Recycling Association in 2013. Currently all locations recycle in the kitchens, as well as having appropriate bins in customer facing areas. We recycle plastics 1-7, glass, aluminum, metal, cardboard, toner cartridges, electronics, and paper. 
  • In addition to recycling with the University, Dining also recycles 100% of used fryer oil in conjunction with Quest Recycling, who diverts the oil into biodiesel or animal feed.


Check Food Donation
JMU Dining Services follows a similar approach in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Food Recovery Hierarchy, with source reduction being the first step to managing a waste stream. Once all unnecessary waste is eliminated, we determine another purpose or reuse the material. If we can no longer use it, then we work with the local Salvation Army in Harrisonburg by donating excess food. As of May 2016, over 13,500 lbs of food has been donated. If the material can no longer be used in its current state, we then compost the leftover food.


Check Trayless Dining
JMU has implemented trayless dining facilities. Did you know for every tray used, it is estimated more than ½ gallon of water is wasted in the cleaning process and allows for detergents to enter the water table? Consider this: More than 2,000 people eat daily at E-hall, that’s about 1,000 gallons saved per day just for one dining location.


Check Farmer's Markets
Fall Farmers Markets are organized and hosted by dining services, students are allowed to use dining and flex in addition to cash. Our sustainability coordinator works with local vendors to encourage awareness of our local farming community.


Check Meat "Less" Monday
JMU Dining is committed to reducing its carbon footprint through the Meat “Less” Monday movement. Each food item an individual consumes has a carbon footprint or carbon output associated with its production and consumption. The production of meats and animal by-products are typically responsible for higher carbon or greenhouse gas emissions than fruits and vegetables. Dining Services emphasizes this campaign in the dining halls and retail locations by increasing vegetarian options and promoting a healthy lifestyle.


Check Vegan/Vegetarian
JMU Dining Services understands the importance of vegan and vegetarian dining and approaches it by looking at residential, retail, and Grab-n-Go dining to allow all students an option regardless of meal plan. At residential dining locations, vegetarian and vegan options are available at lunch and dinner. Our residential dining halls have a dedicated vegetarian station, offering one complete-protein vegetarian or vegan entree and two to three vegetarian or vegan side dishes at lunch and dinner. In addition, residential dining halls offer an extensive salad bar, with one having a sixty foot salad bar offering. Our newest location, DHub, will offer a vegetarian option at every station. 
At all of our retail dining location on campus, students have at least one vegan option they may choose from, some locations may have more depending on the offering. One location dedicated to offering vegan and vegetarian options and is available to all students, has a build your own quinoa bowl offering vegan cheese and meatless chicken to their wide variety of choices. A healthy, grab-and-go program, Seriously Good, is available in all retail locations and features vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free sandwiches, wraps, salads and side items.


Check Resusable Mugs
Each year school year dining services offers a mug to all meal plan holders to reduce waste to landfills and encourage reusable containers. Students have the opportunity to design the artwork for the each upcoming school years mug, and voting is done each April by the student body. These mugs can be used in all dining locations on campus, including Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Students in 2015-16 earned rewards for scanning bar codes at dining locations using the Cupanion app to track reusable mug usage. Rewards included prizes from a FitBit to free yogurt parfaits. For the 15-16 school year, 1,788 disposables were diverted from landfill.


Check Resusable To-Go Program
Dining Services offers reusable to go containers at Mrs. Greens for students to utilize multiple times. Students can take their food to-go and bring dirty containers back and exchange for a new one. This allows minimize waste being thrown away on campus.


Check Sustainable Menu-Items
Our commitment to JMU is to integrate local and sustainable offerings in the dining facilities. We seek out third-party certified options, including but not limited to:
  • MSC Certified Seafood
  • Cage-Free shell Eggs
  • 100% Grass-fed beef
  • Fair Trade Certified
  • Organic products/ produce
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified
  • American Humane Certified
- Purchase only sustainable tuna throughout our dining locations
- Pizza dough and many desserts are made from scratch daily in our bakeshop.
- Grayson Natural Farms located in Grayson County, VA; supplies the Student Success Center dining with all local beef.
- Grace Street Market houses over 20 different local items available year round.


Check Madison Garden
The garden was first constructed in 2013 in partnership with Facilities Management, JMU Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. The garden acts as an educational opportunity for students to work in the garden and learn hands on. Herbs are mainly grown in the garden and are donated to the local Salvation Army.


Check Outreach
JMU Dining Services regularly engages in the local and JMU community in order to further educate individuals. Below is a sampling of outreach conducted by JMU Dining:
  • Dining partners with Local Friendly City Food Co Op to educate students on sustainable gardening tips.
  • Sustainability Coordinator offers tabling and information sessions that engage and teach students about sustainable and healthy foods, and waste minimization.
  • Employees participate in a yearly Relay for Life event.
  • Guided tours of East Campus Dining Hall open to K-12 schools as well as higher education.
  • Student engagement with several organizations, such as, EARTH club, SGA, Food for Thought, JMU Green, and as well as several professors.


Check Virginia Green Certified
We are proud participants of the Virginia Green campaign.  Virginia Green is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s campaign to promote environmentally-friendly practices in all aspects of Virginia’s tourism industry. Virginia Green encourages its participants to reduce their environmental impacts in all aspects of their operations; and this profile provides a full list of all their “green” activities.


Check Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition
Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator is a steering committee member on the Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition. The mission of the Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition is to harness the intellectual, human and economic capital of colleges and universities to foster the emerging local food economy in Virginia.


Check Contact Us
For more information on JMU's commitment to the environment, please contact us:
Charlie Leventry
Sustainability Coordinator
JMU Dining Services