Campus Initiatives

The Brandeis Dining Team is committed to making your dining experience as sustainable as possible with a variety of front and back of the house initiatives.We know our guests want to do the right thing for the planet and we also know you lead busy lives, so our chefs and managers do a lot of the work for you behind the scenes! From sourcing local products to composting food waste, our commitment to sustainability was formalized with our Better Tomorrow Plan. The Better Tomorrow Plan includes 18 commitments for a brighter future by focusing on four key priorities: health, planet, community and our people. Learn more about the Better Tomorrow Commitments.

Sustainability – Food

Brandeis Dining is a committed partner in the development of a strong New England food system. Over the past several years, we have worked hard to increase the number of local vendors who provide food items to the campus, as well as integrate Massachusetts & New England products into our core menu mix. Our goal is to increase our purchases of food produced in New England by 2% per year.

Local Vendors include

    •       New England Coffee
    •       La Marca & Sons Baking Co.
    •       Red's Best
         Brandeis has joined theCool Food Pledge, committing to reducing our carbon footprint by 25% by 2030. Brandeis Dining is working the the Brandeis Office of Sustainability to track & analyze our food purchases using the Cool Food Calculator.Check out ourdining sustainability dashboardandour carbon footprint dashboardto learn more. Read World Water Day 2022 factsheet HERE.

      Here at Brandeis we make it a priority to source as many of our ingredients from the local and regional area. Brandeis Dining partnered with Costa in 2021 following a longstanding partnership with Russo’s. Based in Boston, MA, Costa connects us with an ever-increasing network of, growers & producers to help us bring in quality, local produce for you to enjoy. 

    BrandeisDining has committed to serving sustainable seafood. We are committed to offering this better choice by utilizing a flexible full line of products, purchased at fair market value and sourced from providers that ensure the highest level of quality assurance and food safety along with adherence to globalstandards of excellence for environmental responsibility and accountability in seafood.Red's Best- Red's Best is one of our primary seafood providers, committed to complete transparency in the seafood supply chain, providing a livable income for fisherpeople and creating markets for abundant, underutilized seafood species.

    As part of our goal to reduce our carbon footprint, we’ve committed to increasing the ratio of plant-based to animal-based protein in our menus. Moving toward more plant-based diets haslong been recognizedas an essential approach for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

    During the academic year, our Resident Dining Halls will swap the meat for a plant-based alternative to celebrate Meatless Monday. These occur on alternating weeks between Sherman and Lower Usdan dining halls. Our goal is to promote awareness of plant-based alternative meals, as well as reduce our overall production of meat. 

    Brandeis Dining has committed to reducing the amount of beef we serve at our dining locations. Beef production is a known contributor to increased greenhouse gases & climate change. We want to do our part to improve our food system & limit our carbon footprint. Just 4% reduction in beef served reduced our carbon emissions by 50 metric tons. 

    New England farms produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Costa, our produce distributor, connects us with these local farms in order to serve you local produce at its peak freshness. Every month we celebrate one ingredient in particular with our Harvest of the Month campaign. Look for peppers in October, Brussels sprouts in December, and kale in March.

    Sodexo is proud to sign on as a Northeast Organic Family Farm partner to support organic dairy farms in the Northeast and to help secure the future of organic dairy. We’re committed to purchasing organic dairy products from brands that source their milk from our region. Learn about our commitment and the partnership by visiting

    Swirl went vegan! Our smoothie shop in the Upper Usdan Food Court now makes all their smoothies with Oat Milk. This plant-based alternative to cow’s milk helps reduce our reliance on animals & make our menus more accessible to our vegan community.

    Throughout the semester we feature a variety of special events and themed meals. Many of these feature foods produced in New England. In 2021, we will have 2 large-scale events dedicated to showcasing our local producers & the robust offering of New England Foods

    •       Apple Harvest: Join us in Sherman Dining Hall for an apple-themed extravaganza! We will feature local apples in a variety of unique & tasty dishes. Taste local apples only found in New England courtesy of the New England Apple Association. Learn about the apple production process with Russell Steven Powell, Executive Director of the New England Apple Association.
    •       Cranberry Celebration: Lower Usdan dining hall will celebrate Massachusetts rich history of cranberry production by featuring this delicious fruit throughout the dining hall. Local cranberry producers will join us in the dining hall along with the Cranberry Marketing Committee. Learn all about cranberries, enjoy tasty dishes, and win cool prizes!

    Sustainability – Waste

    Sustainability – Waste

    Participate in our re-usable green container program for sustainable to-go dining solution in resident dining.Waste Wash Reuse is our to-go option available to all students at both of our resident dining locations. Students may take one meal to-go, per meal period.
    1.      Purchase the to-go container for a one-time fee
    2.      Fill your container with food from the dining hall
    3.      Enjoy your meal
    4.      Return your dirty container to either Sherman or Lower Usdan.
    5.      You may exchange your dirty container for a clean one immediately, or receive a token to redeem for a clean container at a later time.
    By washing and re-using these containers, we cut down on any waste that could be associated with a to-go dining program. Click HERE for more information on our reusable container program.

    Both of our Resident Dining Halls have reusable flatware available. For those choosing to participate in a to-go meal, or for any of our retail locations, we have 100% compostable flatware available for use.Please ensure these are placed in any of the compost bins throughout our facility once you are done using them. 

    Single-use straws contribute to landfill waste and are a major source of pollution. That’s why at locations like Dunkin’ and Einstein Bros. Bagels we’re encouraging students to Skip the Straw. Beverages will be served with a sipper-lid when available. Straws will still be available upon request.

    As part of our effort to reduce the use of single-use plastics, we’ve stopped selling bottled water at Einstein Bros. Bagels. We encourage students to utilize the water bottle refilling station located nearby.

    In order to track and better understand our food waste we partner withLeanpath. They provide us with automated food waste tracking technology that allows us to understand more about our operation. The Leanpath system generates reports to show us all food waste sources in our kitchens & adjust our production processes accordingly. 

    Brandeis Dining is committed to diverting a minimum of 30% of our waste to compost. We utilizeBlack Earth Compostingfor our composting needs. Our team makes sure to compost any food that we cannot otherwise repurpose. Pre-consumer & post-consumer food waste from our kitchens and dish room is collected. In addition, the disposable plates and napkins used in Sherman Kosher dining are also included in the composting program. 

    Recycling bins are available in our retail dining locations for your disposal needs. Our kitchens also recycle essential materials such as cardboard, aluminum and plastics.

    During the academic year, our team will host tables in our resident dining halls to collect and measure food waste. Students who have finished their meal will put any wasted food into bins, which is weighed at the end of the meal. We use this information as part of an educational campaign to encourage students to only take the food they plan to eat. Any food waste is composted.

    Trayless dining is a strategy to reduce food waste. Not having a tray limits the amount of food patrons can carry at one time. Without trays, patrons are less likely to serve themselves more than they can eat, which significantly reduces food waste. Trayless dining also decreases the amount of water and energy used for washing trays.

    We work hard to limit excess packaging. When packaging is used, we use recyclable or compostable materials in order to divert items from our trash. 

    Throughout the year we provide fun giveaways and merchandise through contests or other events. We make every effort to have these items be sustainably sourced. Some of our merchandise includes notepads made from recycled paper & plastic, sustainably produced tote bags, and a sustainability themed giveaway basket.