/ Sustainability

Dining Services

Hope College Dining Services prides itself on its green initiatives while maintaining a high standard for quality food and service.

Our Dining Services team 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. 

Water Quality and Reduction Initiatives
  • Use of phosphorus-free dish detergent
  • Went trayless in 2010, saving 120,000 gallons of water and eliminating tons of food waste each year
  • Refrigerated salad bar requires less energy and water than ice
  • Installed a new dishwasher in 2013
    • Saves 613,000 gallons of water per year
    • Reclaims heat from the exhaust system and returns that energy into the hot water reservoir
    • Reduces detergent and rinse additives by 1,500 pounds per year
Waste Reduction Initiatives
  • Compost 40 tons of food waste and paper materials for campus care
  • Partner with Alternative Energy Solutions (AES) to recycle our waste vegetable oil and convert it to biodiesel used to produce electricity
  • Donate excess prepared food to the Community Kitchen as part of of Food Recovery Network Chapter
  • 43% of all food and goods are grown, packaged or manufactured within 250 miles
  • Utilization of an on-campus herb and micro-greens growing system in parternership with Bit-Farms
  • Recycle over 120,000 cardboard boxes each year as well as tin, glass and plastic
  • Napkins are made from 100% recycled paper and processed without chlorine
  • Food and napkin waste is mechanically mulched to reduce volume by 50% before composting
  • Use environmentally friendly disposable products made of PLA (corn-based), potato, and pre- and post-consumer waste items
  • Food containers at athletic concessions are compostable or recyclable
  • Used food service equipment is sold or dismantled and recycled where possible
Keeping Hope Care Pantry
Nonperishable food and personal care items for students facing food insecurity. Room 017 on the ground floor of the Bultman Student Center. This is organized by the Student Life Office in partnership with the Office of Sustainability and Dining Services.
  • Tracking purchases from food and beverage companies within 150 miles from our dining locations
  • Continual growth of our network of smaller, local, regional farmers and producers
  • Building a robust vendor partner portfolio of producers of sustainable products bearing third party designations such as Marine Stewardship Certified, Cage-Free, Fair Trade Certified
  • Partnering with the Humane Society of the United States and integrating principles into our menus.
  • Purchasing items grown, manufactured or produced within 150 miles
    • The benefits of local purchasing support local agriculture, manufacturing and small business development
    • Dollars spent locally reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to shorter transportation routes, and, importantly, also create and support local and regional jobs
  • Our sourcing and purchasing program FARMSTEAD™ allows us to work collaboratively with local and regional growers, producers and food hubs who typically experience limited access to extended markets. Through our proprietary FARMSTEAD™ program, we partner with 52 farms, food hubs and farmers markets across six states, and our program is still growing! Creative Dining supports local agriculture and gives small, family-owned producers the ability to market their meats, cheeses, and produce. Following safe and fair rules of engagement, we leverage our direct purchasing program so that our chefs can use the freshest, locally grown ingredients. For more information please click here.
  • A copy of Creative Dining Service's Animal Welfare Policy can be found here.
  • Participation in Community Sustained Agriculture (CSA) shares for procurement of farm-direct produce
Plant-Based Eating
  • In 2020, thanks to support from one of the Hope Adovcates for Sustainability Interns, we launched a "less-meat-Monday program" to help promote plant based eating. 
  • During Earth Month (April) and Campus Sustainability Month (October) Dining Services and the Office of Sustainability partner to produce a weeklong educational campaign about the benefits to your health and the health of the planet for opting for plant-based dishes. This includes social media posts, podcast episodes, film screenings, chef series events and informational tables/displays. 
  • Creative Dining Services also recognize the health, environmental and economic benefits of vegetable-centric cuisine, which is why they are working with the Humane Society of the United States and have signed the Forward Food Pledge to expand and measure our programming in the menuing of non-animal products.
Menus of Change

We align with the Menus of Change® program to do just that. It’s 24 operational and menuing principles crafted by the chefs and scientists from the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Our chefs prioritize these and more (without sacrificing flavor):

  • Plant-forward menuing with fresh produce and whole grains
  • Fresh and seasonal ingredients, local and global
  • Whole, minimally processed foods
  • Smaller portions and less refined sugars
  • Quality over quantity: scratch cooking over canned or overly processed
Dietary Needs

We have established a set of allergy icons that will identify ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. There are eight icons:

  •   contains egg
  •   contains fish
  •   contains wheat
  •   contains milk
  •   contains peanuts
  •   contains shellfish
  •   contains soy
  •   contains tree nuts


A ninth icon (leaf) indicates that a food item is vegan. 

Learn more at: https://hope.edu/offices/dining-services/dietary-needs.html 

Honey Bees
Thanks to a grant and partnership with Creative Dining Services, three honey bee hives were added to campus in spring 2022. The honey was harvested in the fall and bottled into 8-ounce jars and later sold in the Bookstore. The funds were then added to the Campus Revolving Fund. For more details, read an article from the winter 2022 News from Hope College magazine. A portion of honey was also used in a few recipes in the dining halls.