Hope College Dining has been awarded Gold certification in the Sustainability and Ecological Engagement and Development (SEED) program of Creative Dining Services, reflecting on-going commitment to environmental stewardship that is a quality right at home at Hope.

SEED allows Creative Dining Services locations to track their ecologically-friendly efforts and be recognized for such efforts through audits of activities and actions.  Initiatives pursued at Hope range from trayless dining, which reduces food waste as well as use of water, detergents and energy for cleaning; to pulping food waste and using it in composting on site; to assuring that more than 21 percent of food and beverage purchases are local products.

Dan Zehr, who is assistant director of dining services at Hope, reflected on the Hope program’s great use of resources.  “We pride ourselves on being efficient users of natural resources.  Everything we use can be either composted or recycled,” he said.

Zehr also praises Hope students for their interest in and support of sustainability, not only through Hope College Dining but campus-wide and through their own choices.

“Students at Hope have a willingness to participate in being a sustainable community,” he said.  “They ask the important questions and show a passion for making Hope a great place to be.”

The college hosts numerous organizations and student groups focused on sustainability, including the Green Team, Hope Advocates for Sustainability, GreenHope and the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute partnership.  Each encourages students and staff at Hope as well as residents of Holland to be proactive members of society in regard to becoming an environmentally-friendly city and sustainable place to live.

Creative Dining Services manages dining operations at the college.  SEED is an initiative of Creative Dining Services’ Grow corporate sustainability program, which focuses on the principles of knowledge, understanding, conscience and action.  The SEED certification has three levels, Silver, Gold and Platinum, which are based on points awarded in the categories of non-food waste, food waste, energy and water, and sourcing.  A Silver certification is given to locations that reach 2,400 points, Gold for 4,000 points and Platinum for 7,000 points.  Hope College Dining scored 4,300 points to earn its Gold certification.

Along with the SEED certification, Hope has received statewide recognition for its efforts in becoming an advocate for environmentally-friendly practices through certification from the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program in 2014, as well as partnering with Albion College, Antioch College, DePauw University and Oberlin College in the Great Lakes Colleges Association-supported Environmental Dashboard initiative which enhances sustainability initiatives at each institution.  In addition, the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore initiative in which the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute is a partner received the “2016 Top Project Award” in September from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Neighborhood Environmental Partners Program.

More information about sustainability at Hope is available at green.hope.edu and hope.edu/sustainability-institute.