Food Waste at DU

Written by Megan Kienapfel, ESLLC 2017-2018

Sustainability is one of the many thing that DU likes to promote. With all the tours that are on campus recently, I have been overhearing a lot about what makes DU so special compared to all the other schools. One reoccurring thing I hear the guides bring up is that DU is orientated around sustainable practices. Sustainability is a word that we hear a lot on campus but there are some branches of sustainability that, I personally feel, have been overlooked more than others. Food sustainability is one of those.

download-1On campus, we have three dining halls, many retail locations, and a hospitality school. All these locations produce food daily for students, staff, and even the occasional community members. On days that there are many tours, the number of people that visit the dining hall increases a considerable amount. The dining halls try their best of estimate how much food they will have to make to feed all those people. Sometimes their estimates are off and they make more food than they could serve. What happens to that food?

Typically, the food would usually just get thrown away and that was it. However, over the past few years, there has been a group on campus called the Food Recovery Network. Their job is to go to the dining halls, retail locations, and the hospitality school and save that food from being thrown away. After they collect the food from campus, they will bring it to Denver Rescue Mission or House of Hope where the food is served to those in need. Since FRN started, on campus, they have recovered over 32,000 pounds of food.

While keeping that food from going into the trash is important, it is also important to help lower the impact of the dining locations on campus. Beans Café is a student run coffee shop on campus that has had a strong sustainability past. They try to keep the amount of food produced to a minimum so that they do not have food going to waste at the end of the day. There are also compostable cups at Beans so that when students are done with their drinks, they have that ecofriendly alternative to the landfill.

Reducing DU’s food waste footprint is what my exhibit is focused on. Through student leadership, we have been able to work with Sodexo to reduce the waste produced daily while also being able to give back to the greater Denver community. By using a mixture of student profiles, infographics, and photos I hope that I can bring awareness to the issue on campus of food waste. With the commitment slips that I will also be including, I hope that students will focus more on their personal food waste; I also hope that the students that sign the slips will consider joining FRN for at least once recovery to see how much of a difference we can make.

For more information on FRN go to their Facebook: Also check out the video we made:


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