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  • Genevieve Fontana

Sustainable changes

By: Genevieve Fontana, Contributor

One of the many changemakers on campus is Janet Elis, the director of dining services for Chartwell Food Vendors, and she has made it her mission to prioritize environmental concerns. Janet holds the responsibility of ensuring food quality and safety while also partnering with and providing support to students on campus. Chartwells has made “Do the Right Thing” a core value in their culture, prioritizing social and environmental responsibility as a top commitment. Earth-friendly initiatives include:

  • Using local produce.

  • Using cage-free eggs.

  • Purchasing RBGH free milks and yogurts.

  • Finding fair-trade coffee.

  • Buying sustainable seafood.

  • Finding reduced antibiotic chicken and turkey.

  • Reducing single-use plastics.

  • Using compostable disposables only.

  • Having biodegradable serviceware in the Market, the dining hall and at True Burger.

During the 2023-2024 school year, Chartwells has actively promoted the “bring your own mug” program and introduced the OZZI Box initiative. By using the OZZI system, environmental costs can be reduced, as disposable products are replaced with 100% reusable ones. The use of reusable containers eliminates the need for paper and foam products, which ultimately reduces the reliance on fossil fuels and minimizes the dining service carbon footprint. Additionally, Chartwells plans to monitor and measure food waste to identify areas for improvement. Furthermore, the company aims to prioritize sustainable purchases and implement the HowGood system in the main dining hall to further enhance its environmental efforts. HowGood has analyzed recipes from the Chartwells rotating menu across eight standard metrics of greenhouse gas emissions, processing, water usage, animal welfare, biodiversity, soil health, labor risk and land use.

Janet adds that LED screens have been installed in the dining hall to eliminate paper waste and educate Canisius University about the HowGood system. Janet is particularly enthusiastic about Farmshelf, an innovative vertical indoor farming and growing system which has been delivered to campus this past week. Through this initiative, Chartwells will cultivate and utilize fresh herbs and leafy greens in their cooking, fostering a more sustainable and locally sourced approach to providing food on campus. This semester Chartwells staff will be growing basil, chives, joi choi, and spring mix and now every Wednesday, Chartwells will be combating food waste by running the “Clean Plate” initiative. Any student that’s eaten everything off of their dinner plate gets to enter a raffle when they return their dish on their way out.

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