GOAL: CREATE A MODEL FOOD CAMPUS THAT IS HEALTH-PROMOTING, ECOLOGICALLY MINDED, RESILIENT, DIVERSE, FAIR, ECONOMICALLY BALANCED AND TRANSPARENT.
Through its ‘Deliberate Dining’ program, Duke Dining seeks to address several food and sustainability problems, such as food waste, animal welfare, and labor practices. The mission of the program is to “deliberately purchase, prepare, serve and discard food so that we are stewards of our environment’s resilience, our local economy’s health, and our Duke community’s wellness” (Strategy). Duke Dining continues to develop policies and programs to address these needs within Duke and the surrounding community.
One focus area this year was food insecurity. Duke Dining worked with the Graduate Student Pantry, a resource through Graduate and Professional Student Government which provides access to non-perishable food, hygiene items, clothing and more to professional students and their families. Duke Dining has also been collaborating with the Food Recovery Network to donate leftover food from the Marketplace. Over 1,300 pounds of food have been donated during the 2022-2023 academic year.
DUKE CAMPUS FARM
The Duke Campus Farm rose to the challenge over the past couple years and yielded literal tons of success through production and educational programming. Recent highlights:
- Harvested close to 19,000 pounds of produce in 2023, which provided experiential learning opportunities to over 800 students and community members. This food went to over 100 households through DCF’s community supported agriculture (CSA) program and to community members through a partnership with Root Causes, a Duke Medical Student-led organization working to understand social determinants of health, and to create more equitable health outcomes in Durham.
- Taught two academic courses and collaborated with 14 more.
- Developed additional leadership opportunities for students through a new fellowship in public programming and communications at the farm for a recent graduate, the Sloss Fellowship, and a position for a current student seeking mentorship and hands-on experience in regenerative agriculture, the new Olsher Family Student Field Manager position.
To learn more about the recent work of the Duke Campus Farm, please view the 2022 Annual Report.
GOAL: EXPLORE AND IMPLEMENT OPPORTUNITIES TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION MODES AND REDUCE THE CAMPUS DRIVE-ALONE RATE.
Duke has implemented many policies over the past year that have led to large decreases in transportation-related emissions on campus. As Duke has resumed more normal activities post pandemic, these emissions are on the rise. However, emissions continue to be far below what they were in 2019, which demonstrates the importance of opportunities to capture reductions from the pandemic. The below graphic shows that since 2007, the following reductions have been realized in 2022:
Historical Transportation Emissions
To continue keeping emissions lower, it is more important than ever to be creative in approaches to policy- and behavior change-based initiatives. Focus areas could include:
- Commuting: Encourage the use of alternative transportation options, including telecommuting, riding the bus, and carpooling. In addition to alternative commuting options, Duke is investigating opportunities to expand its network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to encourage employees and students to transition to electric vehicles.
- Air Travel: Engage departments across campus to discuss opportunities for teleconferencing and using alternative modes of transport, including trains, for nearby conferences, events, and research sites.
- Fleet: Finalize Duke’s sustainable fleet strategic plan to build upon lessons learned from Duke Parking and Transportation’s transition to electric vehicles for its fleet.
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.
Procurement, or the products and services that Duke purchases, has been the main focus of the Campus Sustainability Committee over the past year. Duke Procurement, led by Jim Churchman, Vice President of Procurement and Supply Chain, is fully committed to further integrating sustainability in its policies and practices. Through joining Vizient’s Environmental Advisory Council, a national consortium of industry-leading peers who are charged with defining the future of sustainable procurement, Duke is assessing annual purchases compared to 23 sustainable attributes. Duke is truly ramping up efforts to develop sustainable purchasing systems across both the university and health system.
With support from a generous donor, Sustainable Duke is collaborating with departments across campus to assess the environmental health of purchased products. High-priority product categories including furniture, flooring, paint, food packaging, cleaning supplies, and pesticides. The goal of this research is to inform key decision makers about these product categories and the potential prevalence of harmful, toxic chemicals with the goal of promoting human health and wellness.
Waste and Recycling
GOAL: CREATE MEANINGFUL TARGETS FOR WASTE DIVERSION AND REDUCE THE OVERALL CAMPUS WASTE STREAM.
Overall campus waste reduction efforts have been significantly impacted by the global pandemic. Waste from single-use items increased due to safety concerns and recycling numbers decreased due to remote work and pandemic staffing levels. However, Duke remains committed - emerging from the last couple of years - to find new ways to reduce overall waste and increase opportunities for diversion. The total tons of landfilled waste per person at Duke has decreased since the 2007 baseline year. While there was an uptick in FY 2021 due to the pandemic, the amount of waste per person reached its lowest amount so far in FY 2022.
Duke Dining continues to work with Compost Now to collect and compost food waste, diverting organic matter generated in dining halls. In 2022, this partnership resulted in 256 tons of waste diverted and 26 tons of methane avoided.