What is AU Dining doing to preserve the Earth?

Environmental sustainability is a fundamental part of our mission, guiding how we operate. We reduce our environmental impact through practices that enrich and support the natural environment.

Green Thread

We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations. Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious:

Local Purchasing

Did you know Dining Services sources food from many local farmers, growers and distributors? The list changes throughout the year depending on seasonality and availability. However, here is a sampling of a few of our partners:

Compass Coffee is a coffee roaster and cafe chain based in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 2014 and currently has eight existing locations, including one active roasting facility.

The French Bread Factory in Sterling VA is a full service wholesale bakery serving throughout Maryland, Washington D.C., and the Northern Virginia metropolitan area. The help supplement products produced by our own house bake shop, from dinner rolls, croissants, Danish, muffins, to pies, seasonal cakes and cookies.

Family owned and operated since 1931, Harrisburg Dairies continues to be a leader in the dairy industry. They specialize in all-natural rBST-free dairy products sourced from nearly 35 local farms.

The Hershey Creamery Company was founded in 1894 by Jacob Hershey and his four brothers: Isaac, Paris, Ephraim and Eli Hershey (no relation to Milton S. Hershey of the Hershey Company), providing ice cream and novelties to campus.

A 4th generation family owned and operated business in Washington DC since 1907, supplying paper supplies.

Compostable Take Out Containers and Utensils

Take out is green at all residential dining halls. Ask for compostable to-go containers and utensils today!


Dining Services partners with campus to recycle from all dining locations across campus. We are committed to minimizing our environmental footprint. Look for signs in our locations for information on where to put your recyclables.

Trayless Dining

Did you know Dining Services has saved 900 gallons of water per day, 198,000 gallons of water per school year, by going trayless? By dining trayless, you have helped positively impact the waste stream. Dining trayless minimizes food waste, conserves energy and water, and reduces the amount of cleaning chemicals entering the waste stream.

Waste Minimization

We minimize our waste by reducing, reusing and recycling. We minimize our footprint through our waste reduction efforts. Across our operations, we have established practices from initial purchase to final waste disposal that decrease the overall cost of waste both environmentally and financially.


Take part in our reusable mug program to reduce waste at Starbucks locations across campus.

Hydration Stations

Dining Services offers several hydration stations throughout campus.  Use the filtered water stations to refresh and refuel while helping to impact your carbon footprint. In addition, the Terrace Dining Room offers fruit-infused waters daily at all meals, to provide a healthy beverage option to accompany a meal.

Responsible Sourcing

We purchase local, seasonal and responsibly raised, grown and sourced products whenever possible. We firmly believe responsible sourcing has a direct impact on our local and global economies, our health and wellness and the environment. With every purchase we engage suppliers and partners in an effort to source environmentally and socially responsible products.

Efficient Operations

We implement practices to conserve natural resources and ensure operational efficiencies. Fueled by the understanding that our day-to-day actions have an impact, we work closely with our clients to conserve energy and water.

Transportation Management

We ensure our transportation programs reduce fuel usage and emissions. Transportation provides a vital circulation system that enables delivery of the highest quality product and service. With our vehicle fleet of thousands, it’s essential for us to minimize our use of fossil fuels and generation of emissions.