As the days begin to get colder and the mornings increasingly darker, a steaming cup of coffee is perfect for keeping warm and alert throughout the day. Due to a University of Rochester Dining Services initiative, the coffee sold on campus includes options that are sustainable and eco-friendly as well as warm and delicious.
The initiative to implement a more sustainable coffee selection on campus began in 2004. “We wanted to expand our coffee program to be more diverse, so we began exploring many different local vendors.” Unit Marketing Manager at Dining Services Kevin Aubrey explained.
Dining Services researched and met with many local merchants, and then incorporated their products into campus cafes to offer a wide variety of locally roasted coffees. Hillside Market and Eastman Dining Center carry Joe Bean coffee, a company that focuses on artisanal brewing. Pura Vida supports global causes selling fair-trade organic coffee, and The Buzz sells the popular brand Finger Lakes Coffee, which is also available in two locations of the URMC. Carrying this array of products provides environmental benefits while supporting local New York businesses.
Two of the University’s vendors have particularly unique stories. The first is McCullagh Coffee which sells a product called EcoVerde. The University began carrying EcoVerde coffee when Danforth Dining Center was remodeled in 2011, and it is now carried in both Danforth and Douglass Dining Centers. McCullagh Coffee is exceptionally sustainability conscious. Their coffee is sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee plantations that meet Sustainable Agriculture Network standards. The packaging is completely compostable and uses a soy-based ink. To deliver their coffee, the company uses fuel-efficient vans that require less gasoline and plans delivery routes to minimize miles driven on a daily basis. At their production center they installed energy efficient lighting, paint with low emission products, and buy locally whenever they can. To learn more about EcoVerde, click here. By supporting EcoVerde coffee and the company’s mission of sustainability, the University of Rochester is also demonstrating a commitment to eco-friendly practices.
Another sustainable accomplishment at the University is Connections Café, which was designed as an environmentally friendly establishment from beginning to end. The counters and floors are made from recycled materials, ceiling fans cool the space, and all of their products highlight local merchants. In particular, the café’s coffee supplier is the Coffee Connection, an organization that sells fair trade organic coffee and employs women recovering from addiction and trauma. The company provides support and helps these women make a sustainable recovery. To learn more about this powerful organization click here. In more ways than one, Connections is a unique and sustainable café the campus is proud to operate.
In a multitude of ways, Dining Services has made coffee on campus remarkably sustainable. “With over 40% of our total purchases on campus coming from local sources, we’re very proud of our local and sustainable efforts across the board. The coffee program we’ve instituted truly mirrors that effort,” Aubrey shared.
By Abigail Fagan, Class of 2014