​​Operating Principles

​UWSP is committed to sustainability and its practice in our daily operations. Sustainability is the human enterprise of living to meet today’s needs without compromising the needs of future generations, and to be ecologically sound, socially just, culturally affirming, politically doable, and economically viable. We demonstrate our commitment to sustainability through such measures as local food purchasing, resource recovery (recycling), composting food wastes, energy reduction, and continually exploring ideas to promote and support sustainability initiatives.​

University Dining will use all reasonable efforts to incorporate affordably priced local and renewable products and services that reflect the campus’s commitment to sustainability.  We will also focus efforts on utilizing reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable products when available.​​

For more information on UWSP sustainable practices, check out ​Sustainability at UWSP​.

 Recycling and Composting

​The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point recycling and composting program began in 1989. The program was initiated with very little guidance and a small budget. The campus created its recycling program from scratch and continues to utilize it. The UWSP recycling program includes recycling bins in all campus dining locations, and recycling of items such as batteries, grease and oil, and appliances. 

UWSP has its own recycling and reuse center handled by UWSP Grounds Crew. Composting is also part of the UWSP Grounds Crew’s daily routine. Food waste is composted and used for fertilizer in flower beds and on practice fields. The compost pile is located next to the Recycling and Reuse Center. Dining also works with WIST to support the FRESH Project collecting compostable PLA to-go wares for reclamation.

In 2009, University Dining took steps to eliminate the sales of bottled water in all locations and to focus on the use of reusable bottles. This was eventually extended to everywhere on campus after SGA​ banned bottled water in vending machines.

​​Used cooking oil is collected by the College of Natural Resources for biofuel research and SANIMAX for biodiesel creation.

 Local Sourcing

University Dining continues to develop and improve its long-term strategy for using local and organic products in residential, catering, and retail areas. We recognize the importance of supporting local businesses and farms that provide jobs and economic development. Our local sourcing definition is purchasing a product/service manufactured, harvested, extracted, or supplied within a 200-mile radius of the UWSP campus.

Sub-levels are further defined by tiers of distance for the product service and business ownership: Community (0-100 miles), Immediate (101-200 miles), Intermediate (201-300), and Regional (301-400 miles). ​

University Dining also asks the following questions to strengthen our local sourcing initiatives:

  1. Are the farms or businesses family or cooperatively owned?

  2. Is there a commitment to reducing reliance on synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals?

  3. Does the company operate in such a way as to protect and sustain the region's land and water resources?

  4. Do practices include treating animals with care and respect? Do they have a national certification? (i.e. American Humane certified)

  5. Are employees provided with safe and fair working conditions?

  6. Can University students and staff openly visit operations to enhance learning?


University Dining uses Intercon's Blue Planet Brand of Cleaning Chemicals 

Additional eco-friendly practices include:

  • Purchasing items that are certified fair trade and/or organic

  • Energy Star-rated appliances and equipment

  • Use of biodegradable/compostable take-out containers

  • Utilizing bulk pump dispensers and minimizing personal-size food items

  • Energy-saving light bulbs and motion sensor lighting

  • Use of 100% recycled paper napkins

  • Coordinating delivery logistics to reduce the number of trucks entering campus.

University Dining utilizes the Design for the Environment labeling program.

How is their program different from other "eco-labels"?

  1. First, we are focused on chemistry and identifying safer chemicals. Our approach to product review is grounded in the EPA's 40+ years of experience in evaluating the human health and environmental effects of chemicals. This expertise enables us to go beyond established lists of 'bad actor' chemicals and to use expert judgment to determine the likely health and environmental hazards of chemicals that haven't been widely studied.

  2. Second, we look at a complete set of health and environmental endpoints based on experimental and modeled data and expert judgment.

  3. Finally, we work closely with companies to help them understand the chemistry of their products and to select safer alternatives to chemicals that pose potential health or environmental concerns.

What does the U.S. EPA Safer Choice certification mean?

When consumers see the​ U.S. EPA Safer Choice certification label, they can be confident that the ingredients have been through a rigorous EPA review. This label shows that EPA scientists have evaluated every ingredient in the product to ensure it meets Safer Choice Standard and Criteria.​​

Design for the EnvironmentDFELogo.png

 Socially Responsible

University Dining serves milk from Red Barn Dairy, the only American Humane Certified dairy in the state. Not only is Red Barn Dairy dedicated to a high level of animal care and treatment, but the milk is certified rBGH-free. Abbotsford Farms is a network of over 150 farmers across the country, many of them being small farm owners. They are dedicated to supplying only top quality, natural value-added, and certified American Humane eggs.

We exclusively offer socially responsible coffee in all our locations and have partnered with Atomic Joe's Coffee and Mission Coffee.  

As much as possible, we utilize seafood certified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program or the Marine Stewardship Council.

 Giving Back


University Dining regularly schedules trips to local farms and businesses to promote student involvement in the local food marketplace via our Culinary Learning Journeys (CLJs) program. Every semester, our Focus on Food Series highlights many local food items like Wisconsin Artisan cheeses, Heirloom Potatoes, Cranberries, Apples, and other Wisconsin-grown or produced foods.

We also work collaboratively with the following campus student groups:

Student Government Association (SGA)

University Dining has always been highly involved in the environment. UWSP's SGA is the only Student Government Association in the UW system with an Environmental & Sustainability Issues Director and Environmental & Sustainability Issues Committee. This position and committee were direct requests of the student body. The director and committee sponsor environmental events and campaigns, such as “Reducing Food Waste," which can be seen in the DeBot Dining Center. This campaign aims to educate students about how much food is wasted in DeBot each day and persuade them to waste less food. SGA also has a student-run, student-funded Sustainability Reserve, the only of its kind in the UW system, which can be accessed and utilized by any student organization or individual. ​​​

For more information on the Sustainability Reserve and the green projects that the Reserve has funded in the past, see the Sustainability Reserve tab of this site. Other SGA green initiatives include a bike rental program, online ride board, sponsorship of the U-Pass system and Campus Cab, and helping the city of Stevens Point to become an Eco-Municipality. SGA continually writes legislation regarding environmental issues and concerns, such as purchasing 100% post-consumer recycled paper for the campus and policy for all existing campus buildings to be brought to LEED standards. Although the legislation doesn't always take effect, SGA's efforts have proven to pay off greatly in the end, as SGA has been one of the driving forces in promoting UWSP's reputation for sustainability.


Students for Sustainable Communities (SSC)

The SSC's mission is to promote education and understanding of planning with regard to land use, and environmental, economic, social, political, and legal criteria. SSC also provides leadership experience, practical exposure to planning professionals, and involvement within the university and the local community, as well as in the regional and national planning arena.

Waste Management Society

The Waste Management Society's mission is to provide additional activities in the field of waste management to facilitate unity and exchange of experiences and information.

 Local Vendors

​​​​​​​​​Silver Spring​​​

Nine Patch Farms
The Mission LLC
New Roots Coffee Company

Red Barn Family Farms
Parrfection Produce Farm Market

V Marchese Inc.
Sacia Orchards
New Morning Coffee Roasters
Nelson Pade
Pan O Gold
Nasonville Dairy
Portesi Pizza
Quaker Bakery Brands Inc.
Ocean Spray
Bay Valley Foods
Neesvigs Empire Fish

Ney's Big Sky
Grassland Dairy
Cedar Crest Ice Cream
​​ ​

Additional Resources:​​

  • farmshed.org  Central Rivers Farmshed is a growing movement in Central Wisconsin to build and strengthen relationships between local farms, restaurants, retailers, and consumers.
  • localharvest.org  The best organic food is what's grown closest to you. Use this website to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.
  • transfairusa.org Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
  • freerice.com Lets you build your vocabulary while helping end world hunger.
  • foodprint.org​ FoodPrint​ celebrates local sustainable food, educates consumers on food-related issues, and works to build community through food.​
  • msc.org The MSC's fishery certification program and seafood ecolabel recognize and reward sustainable fishing. We are a global organization working with fisheries, seafood companies, scientists, conservation groups, and the public to promote the best environmental choice in seafood.
  • Seafoodwatch Fishing practices worldwide are damaging our oceans—depleting fish populations, destroying habitats, and polluting the water. Informed consumers can help turn the tide.