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Holy Cross Dining’s Commitment to Sustainability

As part of the College of the Holy Cross’s campus-wide pledge to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment to reduce carbon emissions and become carbon neutral by 2040, Holy Cross Dining has embarked on a number of initiatives to support this goal as well as increase its own commitments to sustainability and the Worcester community.

Sourcing Locally

Holy Cross Dining is committed to buying locally grown and manufactured products.  Currently 20% of all Dining products are sourced from local growers or producers. When a product cannot be sourced locally, Holy Cross Dining seeks to partner with manufacturers that have a commitment to sustainability.  Only hormone/antibiotic-free locally produced milk is served on campus and all coffee served on campus is either locally roasted, fair trade or shade grown organic.

Waste Reduction

Following the success of a 2009 initiative to go “trayless” in the main dining room which has saved more than one million gallons of water and greatly reduced general food waste, Holy Cross Dining put in place an initiative last year to eliminate all waste from Kimball Hall.  Kimball Main Dining Hall & Kimball Food Court recycle or compost 100% of all waste. Any waste that cannot be recycled or composted is burned for energy. In the first year of this initiative 110 tons of food waste that would have otherwise been thrown in a landfill was composted.  Next semester the same initiatives will be put in place for several other campus Dining locations.

Holy Cross Dining’s Sustainability Efforts

  • 20% of all dining products are locally grown or produced
  • Kimball Main Dining Hall is “trayless” which saves 900 gallons of water per day and has significantly reduced food waste
  • Kimball Main Dining Hall & Kimball Food Court recycle or compost 100% of all waste. Any waste that cannot be recycled or composted is burned for energy
  • Kimball Dining Hall has eliminated all use of Styrofoam
  • Filtered water is available across campus as an alternative to bottled water
  • To promote the use of reusable beverage containers discounts are given to customers who use reusable mugs
  • Holy Cross Dining organized farmer’s markets with locally grown produce
  • Cook-to-order in all Holy Cross Dining locations eliminates as much preconsumer waste as possible
  • All cooking oil is recycled and turned into biofuel

In the Community

In keeping with the College’s Jesuit mission, Holy Cross Dining is committed to giving back to the Worcester community.  Holy Cross Dining works closely with several organizations in the Worcester community providing food donations, access to and promotion of local produce, employment and fundraising opportunities.

For the past seven years, Holy Cross Dining has worked with the Worcester Regional Environmental Council, an organization working to build healthy and sustainable communities in our city through youth gardens, educational programs and farmers’ markets, to host and cater its annual Slow Food Gala. Holy Cross Dining works with the Worcester REC’s farming partners to create a menu that is entirely sourced from local farms and suppliers, including the Worcester REC’s own YouthGrow garden.
Holy Cross Dining also works with several local shelters and food pantries to coordinate can drives and food donations throughout the year.  In November of 2013 alone the College’s students, with the help of Holy Cross Dining, donated more than 1,500 pounds of food to the Worcester County Food Bank.  Additional donations are made throughout the year including donations of baked goods from the College’s Sweet Shoppe to the Wellington House, an organization that provides access to low-income housing, for their annual children’s holiday party.  

Encouraged by the College’s relationship with Dismas House, a local organization whose mission is to reconcile formers prisoners to society, Holy Cross Dining purchases organic fruits and vegetables from the organization’s Family Farm for use in their standard menu cycle.  Summer farmers’ markets and CSA programs for the College community are also organized by Holy Cross Dining with the help of the Dismas House Family Farm.

Holy Cross Dining’s commitment to the community, however, goes beyond donations and locally-sourced food.  Holy Cross Dining works with Worcester’s Seven Hills Foundation to provide employment opportunities to special-needs adults in the Worcester area; participates in the Worcester Technical High School’s Cooperative Education program; and provides fundraising opportunities to local organizations who receive a percentage of sales in exchange for  their working the College’s concession stands.