Sustainable Food on Campus (part 2)

Farmer’s Market, University of San Diego

Food is one of the 7 critical issues bring discussed at the upcoming Rio+20 summit taking place this June in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. As the Rio+20 site states, “It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food,” and, in this two part blog, we will be looking at a range of ways that university campuses are doing just that throughout their operations.

Community Gardens

With the increased push to provide more locally produced food, some campuses are taking matters into their own hands by creating gardens where students and staff grow some of the vegetables and produce consumed in the cafeterias. Royal Holloway School of Management has launched its Campus Community Garden to encourage students to grow and eat their own fresh vegetables. With help from the College’s gardeners, an area of wasteland on campus, measuring 152 square meters, has been turned into vegetable patches ready for students to cultivate. SLUG (Student Led Unity Garden) at the University of Portland is an organic, sustainable garden started in 2006 by a small group of students. The University of Victoria Campus Community Garden provides a range of introductory gardening workshops. The school provides 90 plots at the gardens, including individual allotment gardens, communal gardens for volunteers and food bank donations and garden plots used by advocacy groups and classes.

Farmers Markets

A growing number of schools are also providing space for farmers markets, where local farmers and producers can sell their products. The University of San Diego started a market in 2009 that provides fresh fruit and vegetables and food cooked on site on Wednesdays from 11-2pm. The University of London  also has a certified organic farmers market on campus, where students can grab their lunch every Thursday.

Celebrating Progress made

Copenhagen Business School celebrates Sustainable Food Day on campus. The day gives students the opportunity to sample delicious sustainable foods while becoming better informed about the links between social entrepreneurship and sustainable food production. It also gives students and staff the opportunity to interact with innovators who have turned their passion for sustainable food into profitable businesses. EM Strasbourg has been organising annual eco-banquets for volunteers who had taken part in actions dedicated to sustainable development in the School through the year. Each participant is able to discover the regional specialties and chat over a glass of organic cider and fair trade apple juice. The banquet is also an opportunity to speak about progress made on sustainable development projects over the previous year.

Giving back to the community
Campuses are not just looking at food on campus, but how to help ensure food donations for local charities. Students from Marketing Institute of Singapore Training Center had a Food donation drive in support of a local charity called Food from the Heart. They also partnered with the Singapore Environment Council to deliver a talk on “Being a Responsible Consumer by Going Green” to enhance understanding of the impact of food choices. “Food Fight” is an annual tradition in which a number of MBA programs across the US, including the University of Michigan, compete to see who can raise the most food to donate to local communities in need. The school that collects the most food (total or per student) wins money to donate to the charity of their choice and a coveted trophy. Staff, faculty and students at Grenoble Ecole de Management worked with Danone, an international food company, on a humanitarian project to collect food for the Restaurants du Cœur, a nationwide association that distributes meals and food to those in need.


For more on the Rio+20 theme of Food, read the Issue Brief prepared by UN-DESA visit the Rio+20 site.

Creating more sustainable campuses: Bikes on campus

Bikes are a common sight on business school campuses around the world and are very popular with both students and staff alike. In this edition of “creating more sustainable campuses,” we look at a variety of innovative ways that campuses and the cities that they are located in are becoming more bike friendly.

  • In 2011 the League of American Bicyclists awarded a range of campuses across the US Bike Friendly University Awards. University of California Davis, who was awarded gold, offers Summer Bicycle Storage and regular auctions on campus and on eBay to sell abandoned and unclaimed bicycles. Students also have access to courses on bike repair and maintenance on campus. Other winners included University of Wisconsin-Madison  University of Maryland, University of Colorado.
  • Stanford has over 12,000 bike racks on campus and maps showing bike paths on and off campus. Students also have access to a range of bike safety repair stands where they can make minor repairs and pump their tires for free as well as free rentals of folding bikes. All this is organized by Stanford’s campus bicycle coordinator.
  • The University of Oregon’s Outdoor Program’s Bike Program, which provides bike loans, a free shop, and education on campus, is entirely student funded and operated.
  • In a project designed to increase awareness about alternative modes of transportation, faculty and Staff at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France have access to electric bicycles 4 weeks each year (trial phase), which are reservable for a 24 hour period free of charge. The school also has over 100 covered car parking spaces that have been turned into bike parking for the growing number of bikes on campus.
  • A growing number of schools, including Winchester Business School, offer subsidies and/or interest free loans for staff interested in buying bicycles for their daily commute to campus.
  • Newcastle University in the UK has a self-service bike sharing system called WhipBikes. Faculty and students pay a one-time registration fee that enables them to use any of the 150 bikes scattered across campus. If they want to use a bike, they simply pick the one they want and text its number to WhipBikes, which replies with the lock code for that bike.
  • Cities around the world are putting in free public bike systems, which are being used extensively by students.  At John Molson School of Business, Concordia University students have access to Montreal’s extensive public bike system, which features over 5,000 bikes and 400 stations, many on/near campus. Similar systems can be found on campuses around the world, including in Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and across Asia.
  • For students from Copenhagen Business School, Norwegian gas company Statoil has equipped five of its stations across the city with Cykelpleje centers dedicated to bicycle maintenance and repair. Students of Pamplin School of Business Administration, University of Portland travelling through Portland International Airport have a special bike repair section in the lower terminal, where they can take apart and reassemble their bikes, as well as several bike paths connecting the airport with the city.

Does your campus promote bike use in an innovative way? Please share your experiences and stories in the comments area below.

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