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Many recent studies suggest that our carbon footprint may be significantly influenced by what we eat. Drake and our dining partner, Sodexo, are committed to finding ways to make our food and dining service more sustainable. For a more detailed list of Drake Dining’s sustainability initiatives, visit our site.


Organic and Local Food

In order to support local farmers, Drake Dining purchases local foods that are in bseason/available and feasible to include in dining operations. In addition, some organic products are available for purchase. While not all of our products are local and/or organic, Drake continues to increase the amount of local and organic foods available annually. In addition, Drake Dining works with local suppliers for products and services when feasible; such as, office supplies.

Sodexo at Drake University has registered for membership in the Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign conducted by the Drake Agricultural Law Center in an effort to reduce transportation costs and pollution, while supporting local/regional products when available through Sodexo approved purveyors.

Fair Trade Coffee

The Olmsted Coffee Shop & Cowles Cafe offer "Cafe Estima Blend Coffee," a smooth well-balanced blend of Fair Trade CertifiedTM Coffees by We Proudly Serve Starbucks.

As one of the largest purchasers of Fair Trade Certified coffee, Starbucks is committed to paying fair prices to help give farming families a better life and ensure coffee farms are protected for the future.


Aspretto Coffee & Numi Tea

Aspretto Coffee and Numi Tea are available at Hubbell Dining. Drake Dining has transitioned the coffee concept in Hubbell Dining to Aspretto; Sodexo’s ethical coffee and tea brand. The coffee is ethically sourced, partnering with Fair Trade and RainForest Alliance (to name a few) and supports Fair Price, working conditions, and giving back to the communities.

Our full leaf-leaf Numi Organic Tea blends are made from real, natural ingredients, the delicate fruit, flower and spice flavors need to brew for a little longer to reach their full potential.  We think you'll agree its worth the wait.

All of the teas selected are 100 percent USDA Organic certified and six are Fairtrade certified with the remaining two being ethically sourced.

Learn more about Aspretto.


Reusable Mugs

Reusable mugs are available for purchase at the Olmsted Coffee Shop and Cowles Cafe. Students who bring their own reusable mug receive a 10-cent discount on their coffee beverage. In addition, the paper coffee cups and sleeves at the Olmsted Coffee Shop and Cowles Cafe are made from post-consumer recycled paper fiber. Use of post-consumer paper fiber reduces use of tree fiber, saving trees every year.

Trayless Initiative

Beginning as "Trayless Tuesday," Drake's trayless initiative has steadily grown. Trays encourage students to take more food than they can consume, and when returned, these trays have to be washed, forcing an unnecessary use of water, energy, and cleaning chemicals. Hubbell Dining Hall began by eliminating trays every Tuesday at lunch.

After conducting polls, it was determined that we could take our trayless initiative further. Trays were then only made available for returning dishes at Hubbell Dining Hall. Both tray usage and food waste dropped drastically. Now, with the renovation of Quad Creek Cafe, trays have been entirely eliminated, making Hubbell Dining Hall completely trayless.

In addition to trayless dining, Drake Dining manages food waste in a sustainable way through continued training of our teams and continued utilization of a Food Management System to find the best management practices for food at the stages of purchasing, menu planning, meal preparation, and clean up. 

As Sodexo continues to utilize these key elements in managing daily operations, an additional benefit has been staff training on the correlation between menu planning and the environmental impact of food waste reduction.


Ecolab APEX Dish Washing System

Drake Dining uses a new ware-washing program, the Apex System (through Ecolab), that supports a more environmentally sustainable approach. Apex combines technology and products designed to save water and energy, minimize the impact of products on the environment, and has a built-in method of measuring results.


In 2009 and 2010, every first-year student at Drake University received a complimentary reusable tote, through a partnership between Drake University and Drake Dining by Sodexo. Drake University and Drake Dining plan to continue efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags in the dining operations.


Caught Green Handed

DEAL (Drake Environmental Action League) and Drake Dining have partnered on a program called "Caught Green Handed."
DEAL handed out 15 tokens per week to students observed/involved in sustainability initiatives (i.e. recycling, using a reusable mug or water bottle, conserving water while brushing teeth, etc.). The students redeemed the "Caught Green Handed" token at Olmsted Coffee Shop for a cookie. The tokens were collected at the Olmsted Coffee Shop and returned to DEAL for reuse.


Drake Dining uses XpressNaps in all dining operations including concessions. 100 percent recycled napkins and one napkin at a time dispensers, in all dining operations, reduce paper waste by 20 to 40 percent. The use of recycled napkins and one napkin at a time dispensers has a big impact saving water, trees, oil, and energy. In addition, more paper is diverted from the landfill.

Healthy People, Healthy Planet

SCA is committed to wellness. One-at-a-time dispensing reduces paper usage and waste. We recycle over 750,000 tons of paper each year, of which 400,000 is post-consumer, which reduces use of natural resources and lessens the burdens on landfills. Tork helps you reduce cost, stay healthy, and save the planet.

Learn more at Tork USA.

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