Farm to Fork Dinners
Each semester since the spring of 2012, the student group Real Food Revolution has hosted on-campus Farm to Fork Dinners. These meals are a great time for students, faculty, and other community members to socialize and discuss sustainability over a locally-sourced meal. Ingredients are sourced from the farmers’ market and other local vendors, and then Rice servery chefs prepare delicious and healthful meals. The goals of the events are two-fold: to initiate discussions about sustainable agriculture and to promote activism related to food politics.
Each residential college at Rice has a Food Rep--an elected member of their college’s government. They serve as a means of communication between students and the Housing & Dining offices. Reducing food waste and incorporating sustainable measures into dining processes are key components of their mission.
Real Food Week
Noticing that a growing list of universities were signatories to the Real Food Campus Commitment, Ansley Jones ‘16, Chynna Foucek ‘16, and Belle Douglass ‘16 decided to bring the same sense of food-focused sustainability to Rice. In fact, the Commitment involves pledging to buy at least 20% real food by the year 2020 and Rice already purchased 30% of its servery foods from local sources. These students’ brainchild, Real Food Week, was an event spanning a week in late October of 2015 that included a social media Q&A, a film screening, volunteer opportunities, and info tables. The events raised awareness about sustainable agriculture, composting, food waste, and other important topics.
Student Run Businesses
The management team at Rice Coffeehouse emphasizes sustainability as one of the business’s guiding principles. One example of this is that Coffeehouse uses napkins made from 100% recycled materials. Furthermore, the napkins are served in a single dispenser system that reduces consumption. Coffeehouse also uses a linen service that washes its towels and rags for re-use rather than toss out used linens. Sustainability-focused events are periodically hosted in Coffeehouse, particularly those promoting the use of reusable mugs (which also garner a 25 cent discount). Coffeehouse uses a vendor that sells primarily organic, direct-trade coffee. Similarly, The Hoot has recently made efforts to go green. With a subsidy from the Rice Environmental Society, the Hoot was able to discontinue its usage of non-recyclable solo cups and styrofoam trays. The trays are made of biodegradable sugarcane fibers.
Zero Waste Campaign
In the fall of 2015, Rice’s first ever Food Waste Reduction Competition aimed to educate students about food waste issues that are prevalent on college campuses. Some serveries had up to 23% reductions in food waste thanks to the discussions created by the campaign. The Zero Waste Campaign was the result of collaboration between the SA Environmental Committee, Eco-Reps, the course ENST 302, and the Environmental Club.