Sustainability in Georgetown’s Dining Services
Hoya Hospitality, which runs the Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall (“Leo’s”), along with several other dining locations on campus, strives to provide a sustainable dining experience. Throughout various initiatives, Hoya Hospitality maintains their pillar of sustainability by minimizing food waste, reducing consumption of resources, increasing sustainable foods, and reducing GU’s carbon footprint. These efforts will continue to be the focus moving forward.
Below is an overview of the major initiatives and progress to date.
Sustainably Sourced Foods
Reducing carbon emissions, supporting our local food systems, and keeping food fresh are just a few outcomes of sourcing ingredients responsibly and locally. As of the 2021-2022 school year, dining at Georgetown has accomplished:
At least 20% of the ingredients are grown, harvested, or produced within a 150-mile radius from campus.
100% of coffee served on campus, including the Nitro Cold Brew machine at The Table, is sourced by Commonwealth Joe, a local coffee roaster located in Arlington, Virginia.
Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly
Hoya Hospitality continues to make big strides in providing a range of food options for students’ dietary preferences. Vegans and Vegetarians can find many dining options at Georgetown.
- As of the 2021-2022 school year, Hoya Hospitality culinarians celebrated “Meatless Monday” the first Monday of every month by engineering innovative menus that focused on plant-forward dining.
- Hoya Hospitality partnered with Georgetown Renewable Energy & Environment Network (GREEN) and other sustainability-focused student organizations to collect guest feedback by conducting a survey on which vegan and vegetarian recipes students would like to see on the menus.
Waste Reduction in Dining Locations
Waste reduction programs are no stranger to dining at Georgetown with various efforts from pre-consumer to post-consumer waste.
- Batch Cooking: To ensure peak flavor and minimize food waste, chefs cook in small batches for each meal period. Batch portions are reassessed 2-3 times during the day to accommodate the demand and improve future batch portions.
- Reusable To-Go Program: Hoya Hospitality encourages environmentally conscious habits while simultaneously reducing food waste with the Reusable To-Go Program. Students can take food to-go from The Table to not only reduce food waste but eliminate potential waste from single-use to-go containers.
- Compost Stations: Hoya Hospitality has partnered with GREEN to host compost station events during the 2021-2022 school year to minimize landfill waste.
- Reusable Diningware: Since public health recommendations led to the return of disposables, Hoya Hospitality partnered with GREEN to provide students with reusable silverware kits to minimize disposable utensils used on campus. With the continuous support of GREEN, Hoya Hospitality was able to transition back to reusable diningware at The Table for Spring 2022 semester.
- Automatic sink fixtures have been installed in all the bathrooms at Leo’s in order to save water and provide a more sanitary environment for employees and guests
- Since Spring 2008, Leo’s has been a trayless facility which significantly reduced water consumption used to sanitize the dish room (reduced water use by about 3 cups per avoided tray). Through trayless dining practices, Leo’s conserves about 145,000 gallons of water annually.
Chemical & Pollution Reduction
- Active Ion Cleaners: Dining at Georgetown utilizes an innovative “green” method of cleaning – Activelon Pro. This portable cleaning tool eliminates usage of chemicals by converting tap water into a powerful cleaner, while eliminating greater than 99.9% of harmful bacteria.
- Electric Vehicles: Since FY 2010, Hoya Hospitality updated the golf-carts within their fleet to electric, which led to improved air quality through reduced tailpipe emissions.
Student Involvement in Dining Sustainability
A variety of student groups support sustainable dining initiatives through educational and advocacy events at Leo’s. For more information, visit our page on student sustainability organizations.