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Monday, May 29, 2023

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SDSU Dining has provided quality food service for the campus since 1959. SDSU Dining has provided quality food service for the campus since 1959.

A Commitment to Sustainability

SDSU is the first university to require all of its food service to meet certified Green Restaurant standards.
By Hallie Jacobs

Aztec Shops at San Diego State University is committed to making the Mesa a greener place.

Over the past few years, individuals across campus have worked toward making the university dining options more sustainable. Recently, two significant distinctions in the world of sustainable foodservice were achieved.

SDSU was recognized by the Green Restaurant Association both as the first campus to require all of its tenants to meet the Certified Green Restaurant environmental standards and as the campus with the world’s most certified stadiums/arenas.”

“From the Starbucks and Faculty Staff Club to the Open Air Theatre and Sports Arena, SDSU has demonstrated real leadership in integrating Green Restaurant practices throughout the campus”, said Michael Oshman, CEO and Founder of the Green Restaurant Association. “We commend the team at SDSU’s Aztec Shops for making this commitment two years ago and following through with lots of real action that collectively will help SDSU’s foodservice operate with a lower environmental impact.”

SDSU is also the first university in the country to require that all dining locations follow standards and guidelines set by the Green Restaurant Association.

"It's absolutely the right thing to do — it's the right thing to do for the university, it's the right thing to do for San Diego and it carries over outside the boundaries of San Diego as well," said Duane Buske,  senior general manager of purchasing and distribution for Aztec Shops. "

Getting to green

SDSU also has the most restaurants and facilities that meet the guidelines set by the association. 

In order to meet the requirements, restaurants must:

  • Use recyclable materials
  • Monitor water usage
  • Install compliant pre-rinse nozzles
  • Buy sustainable, local food
  • Engage in pre-consumer composting
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency-certified cleaning materials
  • Purchase Energy Star compliant appliances
  • Use green certified pest control services
  • Recycle cooking oil for biofuel

"Sustainability is a big part of the campus mission, and Aztec Shops takes on sustainability initiatives to support that mission," said Ben Eisenstein, associate director of marketing for Aztec Shops.

For a full list of Green Restaurant Association certified locations at SDSU, visit the SDSU Dining website. Compliant restaurants are labeled with a "Green Restaurant Certified" logo.

Moving forward

While SDSU is a leader in sustainable campus foodservice, the university is constantly improving.

"We want to improve every year," Buske said. "We're always looking at ways to be more efficient."

Plans include working to decrease water consumption levels, purchasing energy efficient appliances and continue to increase sourcing of local and sustainable foods.

"We want other campuses to follow our lead," Eisenstein said. "Part of the Aztec Shops mission statement is to be innovative and responsive, and all these things perfectly align with our mission."

About Aztec Shops

Aztec Shops is a not-for-profit corporation that functions primarily as an auxiliary of SDSU. The corporation provides a diverse portfolio of commercial services including SDSU Dining, which has provided quality foodservice the SDSU campus community since 1959.