GT Dining hosts environmentally friendly competition

Tech Dining halls are competing against each other for the gold medal in green services. Brittain and Woodruff dining halls and the Student Center Food Court are currently involved in a series of competitions designed to make our campus more environmentally friendly.

These contests are only some of the many steps GT Dining is making towards healthier, more sustainable, and more socially responsible dining facilities on campus.

Local produce already accounts for a large amount of the food on campus, but GT Dining aims for more. The two dining halls as well as the Student Center Food Court are currently competing to see who can purchase the most local and organic produce.

The contest will be running every semester to help encourage the consumption of local produce. Students are contributing by eating the organic food bought from Destiny Organics that is offered in the dining halls. Basically after the food is eaten the organic food has to be reordered, and this contributes to the total score.

So far Brittain Dining Hall has a large lead ahead over the other two dining halls. The prizes have not yet been determined.

A common campus myth nationwide is the alleged poor quality of food found in dining halls. With the healthy initiative dining services is taking with this competition, GT Dining is putting a crimp in this myth, and hopefully the “Freshman Fifteen,” for good.

The goal of the second competition is to create the most compost between the dining halls.

Greenco Environmental, a composting company, is working with GT Dining to reduce waste and increase compost, which instead of going to a landfill will be reinvested into Tech’s campus come planting season.

Students’ opinions are both positive and negative, spanning from the healthy optimists to the economically wary.

“It’s a pleasant change,“ said Shiromini Jeyarajah, second-year AE. “I didn’t buy a meal plan this year, mostly because it was too expensive, but if my money was going towards better, healthier food, I might consider getting one next year.”

Kyle Pate, second-year BME said, “I like the idea of being more environmentally friendly, but going organic usually means paying more.”

Tech has always been ahead in the race to greener services. Since 2004, 40% of GT Dining services produce is locally grown and bought. In fact, this habit of buying and serving local food has been a part of Dining Services for over 100 years. Organic foods are a little rarer at only 5% of total food on campus. However, organic options are available at every food serving facility on campus, including the EastSide and WestSide Markets.

Tech has also signed on to the Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI) which promotes local and organic foods in Atlanta.

According to the Office of Environmental Stewardship’s website, “Georgia Tech has a policy of purchasing local and organic whenever cost neutral options for doing so are known and available to us in a reason manner.” This has resulted in Georgia Tech being one of the largest purchasers from “one of the largest local and organic distributors in Georgia.”

Both of these competitions only add to the already impressive environmentally friendly changes implemented by GT Dining in recent years. Brittain only stocks biodegradable reusable items and both dining halls have eliminated trays, saving 3,000 gallons of water per day.

The cooking oil used in dining halls and services is filtered and then transported off campus to make biodiesel fuel, and all napkins in all dining locations are made from recycled materials. GT Dining Services has a close relationship with the Students Organizing Sustainability (SOS) student group on campus, making sure that there are always new and exciting options for vegetarians and vegans in campus dining.

These efforts, among others, GT Dining hopes to reduce its carbon foot print by 26% in the future. For more information on these efforts visit