Social Responsibility and Sustainable Dining Skip Navigation

Social Responsibility

Sustainability is one of the values that is distinctly Colgate. Our commitment to social responsibility and the reduction of our carbon footprint extends to our dining services. Here is how we remain socially and environmentally conscious.
Chartwells believes the health of our ecosystem is directly connected to the health of our communities and the people who live in them. Acting responsibly is part of our company DNA, and we are committed to offering foods and approaches that are earth, body and community friendly. Chartwells has a long history of innovations and leading our industry on sustainability issues, starting with our commitment to Eat Local in 1999 and Sustainable Seafood in 2002. We were also the first to commit to serve poultry produced with reduced antibiotics; milk and yogurt free of rGBH; and cage-free eggs. Our agreement in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers was an exceptional industry position that others in the industry felt compelled to follow. In support of this position, we are committed to the below sustainable initiatives for Colgate University:
  • Academics and Research
  • Energy
  • Buildings and Land Use
  • Health and Wellness
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Water
  • Community Engagement 

Our Programs:

Project Clean Plate

Project Clean Plate, is a program that enhances awareness among students about unnecessary food waste at each meal, to encourage students to significantly reduce the amount of food wasted at each meal. Incentives are given to students who return a clean plate to the tray return during the program's implementation period. Once specific waste reduction benchmarks are achieved, Chartwells will make a donation to a local food bank in the name of the Colgate College. 

Be A Flexitarian

The "Be A Flexitarian" initiative encourages our guests to eat no meat at least once a week. This initiative helps diminish the environmental impact of animal production, especially as it relates to beef and greenhouse gas emissions.

Love Food Not Waste

Love Food Not Waste campaign is designed to increase the awareness of our guests and address concerns about the waste that is created and its cost impact. The campaign focuses on four key areas of waste: food, water, energy and packaging. Our Love Food Not Waste campaign addresses ways that our staff and guests can reduce the amount of waste they produce by encouraging them to change their dining behaviors.

Trim Trax

Trim Trax is a food waste reduction program that is used by Colgate Dining Services to track, measure and reduce the amount of kitchen food waste in our facilities. It is designed to increase operational efficiencies and create awareness about reducing food waste and its environmental impact. This program has been extremely successful to date in reducing waste year over year.

Carbon FoodPrint

Chartwells' Carbon FoodPrint™ toolkit is a Web-based program designed to engage our managers and clients to work as partners and build an extensive strategy to minimize the carbon footprint of their foodservice operations. The toolkit focuses on four key areas: menu engineering, kitchen services, site equipment, and facilities management. Colgate Dining Services has used this toolkit to review current efforts and to find opportunities for future improvements.

Energy Conservation

Energy Conservation: The benefits of responsible energy conservation are multifold. Conserving energy not only preserves resources, but our efforts help cut energy costs. Idling equipment at operating temperature is the greatest waste of energy in cooking. For this reason, we designed a program that minimizes energy costs and improves production efficiency in the kitchen.

Preheating equipment

Often, more energy is used to preheat equipment than to actually cook the food. Instead of requiring the opening cooks to turn on the cooking equipment at the beginning of their day, Chartwells instructs kitchen personnel to turn on equipment only when (and if) necessary.

Reducing temperatures

Turning the cooking equipment off or setting the temperature controls lower uses less energy during slack periods. This practice applies to griddles, ranges and broilers, as well as ovens. In many cases, the equipment is electrically divided into sections with separate controls. Because of this, we can operate only the necessary equipment during slower times and have the other pieces set to a lower temperature or turned off. Because of the time required to bake and roast most foods, ovens are generally not used for cook-to-order production and should be off during off-periods of the day. Efficient use of energy requires that all cooking equipment be turned off anytime that doing so does not interfere with production. In addition, Chartwells is glad to participate in all of SFSU's energy conservation initiatives, such as minimizing the cooling and heating of vacant offices and energy reduction programs during summers.

Maintenance of equipment

Equipment operates more efficiently when well maintained. If a switch, thermostat, contact or heating element fails on a piece of electric equipment, it will not function properly until it is repaired. To save energy, Chartwells maintains its equipment to ensure proper operation and finishing of foods. Cooking equipment performs better and more efficiently when kept clean. Spills and splatters are always cleaned as they occur. This prevents foods from burning onto the equipment, making it more difficult to clean later. Burned-on spills and food particles will affect equipment performance and can result in an inferior product. We keep the physical plant abreast of all maintenance issues and monitor repairs on all equipment.

The Urban Cultivator

Chartwells will be bringing The Urban Cultivator Commercial to the Colgate campus to the Coop this fall. This cultivator gives us the ability to provide the freshest herbs and greens possible for our customers. Designed to accept the flats of herbs you already receive from your supplier, keeping your herbs and greens growing until the minute they are needed.Our mission is simple: we want to provide each and every guest access to healthy and organic herbs, vegetables, and microgreens, while reducing our carbon footprint. We want to create a wholly sustainable culture where delicious, fresh food is the focal point.

Colgate Gardens

The herb garden will be developed with the Sustainability Manager and a taskforce of students, faculty and administrators. Each spring, students, Colgate faculty, staff and Chartwells management will assist with seeding, growing and harvesting vegetables and herbs from the garden.

Menus of Change

Chartwells is committed to the health and wellbeing of our guests and our planet; therefore, we are adopting the Principals of Healthy, Sustainable Menus, developed in partnership by the CIA and Harvard School of Public Health. These principles focus on engineering our menus to create a more sustainable food supply, provide delicious, nutrient dense meals for our guests and protect and improve the health of our planet.

Key Principles

  • We are adopting the Principals of Healthy, Sustainable Menus, developed in partnership by the CIA and Harvard School of Public Health.
  • We will promote and commit to unique menus that emphasize less beef, more produce and whole grains and conscious menuing.
  • Our chefs will be a part of a pioneering initiative that encourages offering a healthier plate for our consumers and minimizing our eco impact.

Buying Local Products to Support Family Farms

Supporting the preservation of the American family farm, reducing the carbon footprint of our supply chain, and giving back to the local communities are central to our core values. In collaboration with our partners at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, we seek to reduce our dependence on factory farming and to partner with qualified local and regional growers and develop relationships with local farms whenever possible. We define “local” as typically within a 250-mile radius of Colgate University.

Our Partners

  • Winter Sun Farms, Binghamton
  • Bradley Farm, New Paltz
  • Evolutionary Organics, New Paltz
  • Fitzgerald Farms, Accord
  • Four Winds Farm, Gardiner
  • Gill Farm, Hurley
  • Greig Farm, Red Hook 
  • Hearty Roots Farm, Tivoli
  • Hepworth Farms, Milton
  • Lagoner Farms, Williamson
  • Little Seed Gardens, Chatham
  • Markristo Farm, Hillsdale
  • Mead Orchards, Tivoli
  • Meadow View Farm, Gardiner
  • Migliorelli Farm, Rhinebeck / Tivoli
  • Phillies Bridge Farm Project, Gardiner
  • Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Poughkeepsie
  • Quimby Farm, Marlboro

Our Practices

Serving seafood that comes from sustainable sources

Chartwells purchases sustainable seafood based on the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch List. Seafood purchased under these criteria ensures an ongoing strong supply of seafood and the health our oceans. Furthermore, our position on supporting ecologically responsible aquaculture practices helps promote healthier coastal environments.

Providing fresh yogurt and milk Free of artificial growth hormones

Chartwells serves only fresh fluid milk and fresh yogurt from cows that have been certified to be free of the artificial growth hormones rBGH/rBST. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (also known as Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin) is a biochemical injected into cows to increase their udders' size and milk production. rBGH is banned in most industrialized nations but has yet to be recognized by the FDA for its implication in causing cancer, abnormal growths/tumors, and decreased effectiveness of antibiotics.

Promoting certified humane cage-free eggs

We will offer only Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) certified cage-free eggs at Colgate.In December 2007, Compass Group implemented a cage-free shell egg policy. All units are required to offer only shell eggs that are certified by the HFAC program in partnership with the Humane Society of America.

Purchasing poultry produced without the routine use of human antibiotics

The nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal production is a growing public health concern because it decreases the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat diseases in humans. Therefore, we only serve chicken and turkey that have been produced with restricted use of these drugs, especially as a growth additive in feed. Our contracted suppliers are required to provide products that adhere to criteria developed in partnership with The Environmental Defense Fund.

Sustainable packaging

We use pre-recycled, compostable napkins in all locations.
We serve on non-disposable china and reusable hard plastic for meals at Frank Dining Hall.
All out take-out locations utilize corn-based compostable packaging and flatware.
We participate in a campus-wide ban of Styrofoam products.