Canisius University launches new green dining initiatives

The university has teamed up with its foodservice provider, Chartwells Higher Education, on a series of new initiatives aimed at making dining more sustainable.
Reusable takeout container
Canisius University recently integrated OZZI takeout containers into campus. | Photo: Shutterstock

Canisius University is trying to make its dining program more sustainable with the help from its foodservice partner, Chartwells Higher Education. To that end, the two have teamed up on a series of new sustainable dining initiatives, including the implementation of reusable OZZI boxes, the use of vertical farms and a new waste management system.

“Our commitment to sustainability is a direct response to the preferences and feedback we have received from students and the Canisius community,” said Janet Elis, director of campus dining for Chartwells, in a statement. “We take pride in creating opportunities for students to make more eco-friendly choices that drive positive planetary impacts, one meal at a time.”

Here’s a look at the new efforts at the New York university.

The first initiative is the integration of reusable OZZI to-go containers into its dining system. The goal of the program is to reduce single-use plastic and paper. Some other benefits associated with the program are minimizing operation costs, decreasing dependency on fossil fuels and reducing the university’s carbon footprint. Canisius University has 800 OZZI boxes in circulation to date.

The next initiative is the introduction of an indoor vertical farming company called Farmshelf. The company enables Chartwells to grow more than 50 types of leafy greens, herbs and edible flowers, in house. In addition, Farmshelf produce prevents nutrient loss, uses 90% less water than conventional farming and eliminates fuel consumption since the produce doesn’t have to be delivered from another source, according to a statement.

Chartwells and Canisius also teamed up with Goodr, a minority-and-women-owned food waste management company that coordinates the pickup and donation of excess food from campus. The technology also allows Canisius to measure and manage its surplus food and organic waste.

In addition, Chartwells has launched a new food insecurity program for Canisius students, which allows diners to anonymously opt in to receive messages at the end of each day, inviting them to pick up a takeout meal. The university also runs Petey’s Pantry, a food pantry available to Canisius students.

Last Fall, Chartwells also teamed up with HowGood to introduce climate labeling on its menus. Canisius University joined the program earlier this year.

Canisius University is currently in the first year of a seven-year sustainability plan, dubbed Laudato Si’.  The plan is led by the Vatican for Catholic institutions and communities who seek to achieve a sustainable lifestyle. The new initiatives by Chartwells, fall in line with Laudato Si’, according to a statement.