SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The University of Rhode Island’s Hope Commons dining facility has been recognized for excellence by the National Association of College & University Food Services, for its efforts in environmental conservation.
“Some sustainability initiatives we do completely on our own and some we rely on the campus community for help,” said Michael McCullough, associate administrator of URI Dining Services. “They add up and are all important for us to be able to tax the environment less.”
This is the fifth year in a row URI has received this recognition for Hope Commons.
The school’s dining services have pushed to amplify its local sourcing, including now selling its waste vegetable oil to Newport Biodiesel for conversion to a biofuel after recycling oils for almost eight years.
The facility also has focused on using food from local vendors, including Roch’s Fresh Foods in Narragansett and from campus gardens for produce, including basil, salad greens and herbs.
The university also has eliminated the use of food trays in its dining halls and donates leftover perishable foods at the end of each semester to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
Future projects include increasing composting of food waste and renovating the university’s oldest dining hall, Butterfield. •