Goal: Create a model food campus that is health-promoting, ecologically minded, resilient, diverse, fair, economically balanced and transparent.

In FY19, Duke Dining's residential dining program continued to prioritize the purchase of more responsibly produced foods, such as products raised without antibiotics, humanely raised products, locally grown and raised products, and responsibly fished products. Partnerships with providers such as the local, woman-owned food hub, First Hand Foods; local philanthropic food hub, Farmer Foodshare; and the Duke Campus Farm helped the University make progress on its sustainable food procurement goals.

The Duke Campus Farm carried on its dual focus of education and production in 2019 with more than 20,000 lbs. of produce going to campus dining halls and 70 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. In Spring 2019, DCF Program Director Dr. Saskia Cornes, Dr. Robin Kirk, faculty co-chair of the Duke Human Rights Center, and Barbara Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project, taught the year-long course "Sower and Reapers: Gardening in an Era of Change." By collecting oral histories, doing archival research, drawing digital maps and making site visits, undergraduates showed how Durham residents in the College View, West End and Watts-Hillandale neighborhoods engage climate change and gentrification through their gardens. The students' curation will become part of a national exhibit on environmental justice through the Humanities Action Lab.

Duke Dining Sustainable Purchasing


Goal: Explore and implement opportunities to reduce barriers to alternative transportation modes and reduce the campus drive-alone rate.

Duke continually works to influence employee decisions on how they commute to campus. However, drive-alone rates often float up and down in conjunction with external factors such as gas prices, housing options, and regional transportation options. In FY19, drive-alone rates steadied at 79%. In FY19, Parking and Transportation (PTS) broadened their efforts to provide robust alternative transportation options across all modes. PTS supports carpool, vanpool, bus, bike, walk, car-share, and scooter trips. More than 2,350 people are registered for UnPark Yourself benefits, not including the 5,200 GoPass transit pass holders. Combined, Duke's carpool and bike programs annually reduce 300,000 vehicle miles traveled. PTS has also been transitioning to electric buses for its on-campus fleet, which will reduce both costs and emissions over the coming years. Despite concerted efforts, Duke has struggled to significantly expand the campus community of non-single occupancy vehicle commuters. Increased focus and investment in this area will be necessary over the next several years to meet 2024 targets for emission reduction in transportation.

Waste and Recycling

Goal: Create meaningful targets for waste diversion and reduce the overall campus waste stream.

Duke works diligently to reduce overall campus waste and expand opportunities for diversion. Overall waste and recycling per person is down on campus by 8% and 15% respectively, as individuals focus first on waste reduction through reuse and elimination of waste.

Programs such as the Devil's Thrift House, the first pop-up thrift store on campus in 2019, attracted more than 700 students to donate nearly 500 lbs. of material to be reused for free by their peers. Dorm items, clothes, school supplies and more were donated and rehomed to showcase how a circular economy is possible on Duke's campus.

Duke Gardens has also recently partnered with Duke Landscape Services to take all materials from campus landscaping - leaves, plant debris, clippings, etc. to a new on-site composting facility rather than that material being taken to the landfill. The finished compost is then used back on campus saving money and reducing environmental impact.

SSP Campus Waste graphic


Goal: Revise Duke's current environmentally preferable purchasing policy to make it more accessible and useful for campus purchasers while exploring opportunities to further green Duke's supply chain.

As Duke works to infuse sustainability into its supply chain in numerous ways, initiatives such as Procurement Services' Surplus and Supplier Diversity programs are gaining momentum. Between fiscal years 2018 and 2019, there has been the following progress:

  • 38% increase in the number of university and health system surplus property items donated to non-profit organizations
  • 12% increase in the number of university and health system surplus property items donated to Duke departments for departmental use
  • 20% increase in spend with minority- and woman-owned businesses
  • 18% increase in spend with veteran-owned businesses