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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Posts Tagged ‘ARAMARK’

Where are they now: Emily Bachman

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Emily Bachman (’13) was a prominent contributor to Wake Forest’s sustainability efforts throughout her four years as a student. She served as the president of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), a shift leader and summer intern for Campus Kitchen, a regular volunteer in the Campus Garden, an intern with ARAMARK, where she worked to support sustainability in dining, and a semester-long intern with the Winston-Salem Sustainability Resource Center. In addition to her ambitious extracurricular activities, she completed a major in history with a double minor in environmental studies and anthropology.

After graduating last spring, Bachman took some time to travel. She spent two weeks in Israel with Birthright (accompanied by former fellow sustainability intern Sanders McNair) and six weeks driving across the country exploring several cities and national parks along the way.

Post-excursion, Bachman landed in Brooklyn where she is serving as the AmeriCorps Volunteer & Special Projects Coordinator for Rebuilding Together NYC. Rebuilding Together NYC is the New York City affiliate of a national nonprofit that is located in over 200 cities across the country. They are a “safe and healthy housing” organization, serving low income, elderly, handicapped, and veteran homeowners. They focus on critical home repairs including accessibility modifications for the physically disabled, and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, Rebuilding Together NYC focuses on energy efficiency upgrades and weatherization to lower energy consumption in homes. She is also working on an independent project incorporating sustainable landscape design, including rain barrels and native plantings, into the organization’s future projects to support stormwater retention.

In the coming years Bachman plans to attend graduate school for a degree in Sustainable Urban Design and Policy and to find a career that allows her to pursue “city planning through a sustainable lens.” She says that being able to see different cities and compare the strengths and weaknesses of their designs while traveling has helped further develop and affirm her aspirations.

She says that her liberal arts education fostered her passion for sustainability and prepared her for post-collegiate life. “It taught me to think critically and holistically. My liberal arts education allowed me to explore my interests from a variety of perspectives and to understand the many different causes and potential solutions to the social and environmental issues we face today.”

What inspires you to be sustainable?

For as long as I can remember, sustainability has mattered to me. I value human life and I do not like the idea of people suffering, now or in the future. I understand that the way human beings, especially in the western world, are living today will cause suffering in the future. Rather than wait for the consequences and begin to react when it is too late, we should work immediately and proactively to develop sustainable lifestyles.

What is the biggest issue facing our generation?

Apathy. It is so obvious that we are doing things so wrong and that we need to change, but because most people are not confronted with the impacts of their unsustainable lifestyles directly on a daily basis, they are apathetic. They don’t care and they continue with the status quo. Not enough people are passionate enough.

What is your number one tip for living sustainably?

Don’t buy what you don’t need – I try to remind myself of this constantly, especially now that I am on an AmeriCorps stipend.

By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer

Waste Diversion Rate Peaks at 55%

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Over the past fifteen years the effort to reduce solid waste on campus has expanded from its humble origins as a simple recycling program to the holistic campus-wide waste reduction initiative it is today.

Before 1998 the campus’s overall waste diversion rate was negligible; by 2010 it had jumped to 45% and in 2012 it had grown to 55%. Achievements in the waste reduction campaign have been made on diverse frontiers: waste diversion includes diversion of materials from the landfill for basic recycling, reuse, upcycling, downcycling, and composting.

One of the major contributors to the success of the waste reduction campaign is Megan Anderson, Wake Forest’s Manager of Waste Reduction and Surplus Property. Although she emphasizes the collective nature of the achievements, she has worked tirelessly on several initiatives over the past few years that have reduced the environmental footprint the campus leaves behind.

Reflecting on the diversity of waste reduction strategies made by the university, Anderson said that, “Focusing on process change, increasing efficiency, and more thoughtful purchasing are just a few examples of how we have been able to set the bar higher to reduce our waste.”

Accomplishments in the waste campaign have been made on assorted fronts. So far this year, the surplus property program allowed the university to repurpose 319 pieces of furniture, resulting in 8.44 tons of material being diverted from the landfill. In the 2011-2012 school year, the same program allowed over 1000 individual items to be repurposed and reused within WFU departments. Also, for more than two years now, Aramark has been composting pre-consumer food waste in the Fresh Food Co., Starbucks, and catering and continues to investigate options to expand the program to post-consumer food scraps.

“As the Wake Forest University community continues to grow: with more programs, more buildings, and more students living on campus,” Anderson said, “we need to continue this forward momentum.” Collective effort, she stresses, is also the way forward: “All of us have to be cognizant of how we can work together to reduce our waste.”

Read some of our stories about successful waste reduction efforts over the past few years:

Compost in action

Sustainable features of the North Campus construction project

Two departments receive awards

Surplus property program

By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern

FAQ: Sustainable Dining Options

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Q: Over the summer I read a few books that got me thinking about where my food comes from. I’ve adjusted my habits at home and I would like to continue eating responsibly when I get back to Wake. Where can I find information on restaurants that serve locally sourced food and other sustainable dining options?

A: Winston-Salem is a great city for those seeking to eat responsibly. If you are interested in eating out, our Green Guide has a listing of local green dining options, ranging all the way from cafes to fine dining.  If you like to do your own cooking, check out an updated listing of famers markets on Slow Food Piedmont Triad’s web page.  You could also consider buying a CSA membership. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and buying a membership is like owning a small piece of a farm over the course of one growing season. Every week you will receive a box of goods from the farmer, according to the size of your share.  Some CSAs have different sized packages to meet different needs and you can also split a single membership between a few friends. Sign-ups happen in the winter, before the growing season, so that farmers know how much to plant.  Three local CSAs to consider are Harmony Ridge, Shore Farm Organics, and Goat Lady Dairy.  Also look out for sustainable dining initiatives on campus, like the Fresh Food Company’s monthly Farm-to-Fork Friday and the Nutrition Fair hosted by the campus nutritionist each semester.

10 Days Celebration: Monday, April 23

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Nutrition and Wellness Fair

When: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Where: Benson 401

Join ARAMARK for the semi-annual Nutrition and Wellbeing Fair. Wrap up the semester with great health information to get your summer started! Check out just a few of the great opportunities at this free event:

  • Yoga short course, every 15-20 minutes
  • Free food samples
  • Reynolda Farm Market will be selling produce and ready-to-eat foods (bring cash!)
  • Fleet Feet Winston-Salem will provide gait-analysis and tips to optimize your run

Questions? Contact Campus Nutritionist, Beth Audie, RD, LDN at 

ARAMARK implements new ‘green’ cleaning program

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Photo by De'Noia Woods, Photography Intern

The university’s dining services provider, ARAMARK, has made numerous strides toward sustainability by reducing waste in the major campus dining facilities. In keeping with this commitment, campus dining began using a new cleaning method in the Reynolda Fresh Food Company that eliminates 99.9 percent of germs while cutting chemical usage by up to 65 percent.

Students, faculty and staff may have seen the space-age looking cleaning tools currently used by ARAMARK employees to clean tables in the Pit between uses. These glowing clean-machines, called “Ionators,” zap germs with a slight electric charge and lift dirt and bacteria from surfaces using ionized tap water. This means that no chemicals are needed to clean and disinfect tables in the Fresh Food Company.

Another new green-cleaning program employed by campus dining is the use of high efficiency floor cleaning machines from Tennant. The T3 Walk Behind Floor Scrubber is equipped with Foam-Activated Scrubbing Technology designed to reduce detergent usage by 90 percent and water usage by 70 percent, compared with traditional scrubbing methods.

By dramatically cutting chemical usage in dining facilities, employees are exposed to lower quantities of fewer chemicals, resulting in a healthier workplace. By using ionators instead of traditional cleaning chemicals on eating surfaces in the Fresh Food Company, diners also enjoy a safer eating environment.

Matt Lugo, director of marketing for ARAMARK at Wake Forest, heads up the company’s Green Thread Program at the university. This local offering of the national corporate sustainability program, “allows us to strategically align ourselves with the goals of our client and the university,” according to Lugo.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern

Faces of Sustainability: Jessica Wallace

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

When Jessica Wallace stumbled into catering “purely by accident” 20 years ago, she never imagined she would rise to the position of Catering Director at a top 25 university. Wallace entered the catering industry as a sales representative for a local event/catering company, but as time went on, she found herself more and more involved in the food-side of the company.

Before long, she was the wedding coordinator of International Home Furnishings Club, a position that sent her around the nation to cater events. It was during this time that catering became her passion. Wallace joined the Wake Forest University branch of ARAMARK as catering director two years ago where she has helped pioneer new sustainability initiatives for the university’s catering department.

Such initiatives include a waste-reduced box lunch called a “basket lunch.” A reusable basket with a cloth napkin substitutes for the typical cardboard box and paper wrappings of picnic lunches. The napkins and baskets are then collected and reused.

ARAMARK has also made strides to cut down on water bottle waste at catering events. Water stations full of fruit infused water can be included at a buffet or picnic venue in lieu of bottled water. When bottled water is requested by clients, the Posh Plate Catering team provides PRIMO water in bio-compostable bottles.

The no-bottle option was featured at the first-year-student orientation picnic site at Reynolda Gardens. Attendees at the low-waste event were encouraged to reuse cups as they walked from water station to water station along the path to Reynolda Gardens. The actual meal featured all local produce and chicken and even the centerpieces were made of fruit and were dismantled to be consumed later.

After the student-mentor picnic, students were instructed to sort food waste from paper and plastic waste. This food waste was then dehydrated in the university’s new food dehydrator to reduce the impact on local landfills.

Wallace emphasized the importance of sustainable options in today’s catering business. The new programs are all part of the ARAMARK “Green Thread” commitment to develop and implement innovative and responsible solutions that reduce the waste stream and lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.

“We want to be able to offer more sustainable choices for our clients at little to no additional cost,” Wallace said. “We also work to educate our staff and our customers to think and plan events responsibly by giving them suggestions that they normally would not have thought of.”

Outside the workplace, Wallace has a personal commitment to buying as many local products as possible for use in her kitchen. She also recycles and encourages others to do so too.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern


ARAMARK announces partnership with Grayson Natural Foods

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

ARAMARK recently announced that they will serve Grayson Natural Foods hamburger patties twice monthly in the Reynolda Fresh Food Company. The announcement comes after a long accreditation endeavor on the part of Grayson Foods and ARAMARK, who typically buys as much as possible from one national distributor to keep costs down. The move to purchase more sustainable, local products is in response to the university’s encouragement to buy local. The move is in keeping with ARAMARK’s commitment to “fostering new connections from field to fork emphasizing fresh whole foods that are raised, grown, harvested and produced locally and/or sustainably.”

Grayson beef comes from pasture-raised, antibiotic-free cows that spend their days roaming the mountainous pastures of Grayson County, Virginia. The meat production system is “Source Verified” which means that each steak or hamburger patty can be traced back to the pasture where the particular steer or heifer was born. Each animal is raised in the pasture on a diet that contains absolutely no animal-byproducts. There are no crowded concrete feedlots on Grayson farms, so the animals are not force fed unhealthy food. If an animal gets sick, it is treated by a veterinarian and taken out of the Grayson food-production system and sold commercially. Just as they are raised, each animal is processed individually, resulting in Angus burgers that are lower in fat and free of hormones.  Shorty’s already serves a premium burger made of Grayson Beef.