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As demand for more sustainable options grows, Canisius University has partnered with its food service provider, Chartwells Higher Education, to implement new initiatives aimed at advancing an eco-sustainable campus environment.  

Canisius is currently in the first year of a seven-year sustainability journey, titled Laudato Si’.  The Vatican-led program guides Catholic institutions and communities on ways to achieve an eco-sustainable lifestyle and society.  Canisius was among the first in the country to commit to Laudato Si’.  The new food service initiatives being introduced in partnership with Chartwells are in alignment with Laudato Si’.  

“Our commitment to sustainability is a direct response to the preferences and feedback we have received from students and the Canisius community,” says Janet Elis, director of campus dining for Chartwells.  “We take pride in creating opportunities for students to make more eco-friendly choices that drive positive planetary impacts, one meal at a time.” 

Chartwells’ new eco-friendly initiatives at Canisius include: 

OZZI Boxes – To reduce single-use plastic and paper, Chartwells integrated reusable and recyclable containers into its food dining system.  Called OZZI boxes, these FDA-approved and BPA-free containers have a wax coating so they are easy to rinse, wash and be reused once properly sanitized.  

Students receive an OZZI token at the start of each semester, which they exchange for an OZZI box when they order a meal to-go in the dining hall.  Students return their used OZZI boxes to an OZZI receptacle, at which time the machine dispenses another token for use by students.  

By replacing disposable take-out containers with 100 percent reusable ones, Canisius eliminates the cost and volume of paper and foam products often associated with food service operations, minimizes operation costs, decreases dependency on fossil fuels and reduces the institution’s carbon footprint.  To date, there are 800 OZZI boxes in circulation at Canisius.  

Farmshelf – To feed students in a healthful, responsible and cost-effective way, Chartwells introduced Farmshelf.  The indoor vertical farming company provides hydroponic technology and hardware, which enables Chartwells to grow more than 50 types of leafy greens, herbs and edible flowers, in-house, and elevate its dish offerings with fresh, flavorful and healthy ingredients.  Farmshelf produce prevents nutrient loss, uses 90 percent less water than conventional farming and eliminates fuel consumption, as produce is grown on site versus being delivered from an outside source. 

Goodr – To minimize food waste across campus, Canisius University and Chartwells partnered with Goodr.  The minority- and women-owned sustainable food waste management company leverages technology to coordinate and facilitate the pickup and donation of excess food from campus, which is then distributed accordingly to food shelters in the Buffalo area.  Goodr’s technology platform enables Canisius to measure and manage its surplus food and organic waste, earn tax deductions and support its neighboring communities.  

Click here to read more about these new food service initiatives and others.

Submitted by: University Communications