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Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality (EMDH) is committed to sustainability at Illinois State University. While some of these efforts have been in practice for quite some time, EMDH will continue to evaluate efforts regularly.

Food Recovery Network

A group of civic minded volunteer students dedicate their time to provide transportation of food from EMDH Catering to a local food pantry.

Food Donation Policy

When possible EMDH strives to donate surplus food in a way that fits the criteria of the appropriate community service organizations in order to benefit those in need within our local area. EMDH staff are encouraged to exhaust all alternatives permitted by University regulations along with the relevant state and local health and sanitation codes before discarding surplus food. The full EMDH food donation guidelines can be downloaded here. 

Digital Signage

Digital signage systems in Watterson Dining Commons and Marketplace at Linkins Center reduce the need for paper signage and table tents in the dining centers. Dining has eliminated the use of table tents in the dining centers in favor of these more sustainable information screens. Campus groups (departments, RSOs, etc.) are able to use the information screens at both Watterson Dining Commons and the Marketplace at Linkins for promotional purposes.

Energy Efficient Vehicle

EMDH uses a Toyota Prius in place of the large van previously used for departmental mail rounds and deliveries.

Facilities & Equipment

  • Can crushers for can recycling
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Food pulper—food waste sent to composting program at University Farms
  • Oil collection and recycling

Local Foods

EMDH partners with local farmers in an effort to incorporate (and purchase) more local produce for our guests’ consumption. Best practices and lessons learned from an initial pilot program have been used as EMDH further defines the process for purchasing local produce. EMDH currently utilizes four locally sourced products which are used in various recipes each week in the dining centers.

Permanent Dishes

During times of standard operation, dining centers use permanent dishware as opposed to disposable plates or individually packaged items, leading to less waste.

Service Style

In 2008, EMDH transitioned from an a la carte program to an all-you-care-to-eat service style. This change led to a reduction in waste due to the elimination of prepackaged items that are necessary for an a la carte environment. In addition, EMDH batch cooks many menu items. Batch cooking allows the preparation of 20-25 servings at a time in order to heighten food freshness and reduce food waste.

Trayless Dining

Trayless dining has led to reduced water consumption and energy usage that was required to wash the trays. In addition, food waste and over-consumption decreases in trayless dining environments.