Campus restaurant earns Green Restaurant certification

GVL/Lauren Loria
Delicious salad bar at Engrained

GVL/Lauren Loria Delicious salad bar at Engrained

Hannah Lentz

Grand Valley State University is known for its sustainability practices in facilities, classrooms and, now, campus dining.

As of March 23, Engrained at GVSU has been upgraded to 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association. Currently, Engrained is the fifth restaurant in the state to earn this advanced certification.

“In an effort to align with Grand Valley’s commitment to sustainability, campus dining is constantly evolving and improving current initiatives,” said Melissa Rentfrow, campus dining marketing coordinator. “This certification helps communicate the ‘behind the scenes’ efforts Engrained staff has made to the GVSU community.”

The Green Restaurant Association has been certifying restaurants for the past 20 years. They provide a comprehensive and user-friendly method of rewarding existing restaurants and food service operations, new builds and events with points in each of the GRA’s seven environmental categories. The ranking system starts at one star and restaurants can strive for the top honor of being 4 Star Certified.

“In order to create a sustainable campus at GVSU, campus departments must work together to provide opportunities to reduce waste in all areas of campus,” Rentfrow said. “Campus dining plays a big role in this almost 95 percent of the total amount of compost on campus is processed through dining locations.”

Engrained earned the 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant in August 2014 but continued to strive for 3 Stars. To become a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant, there needs to be a high level of chemical and pollution reduction, sustainable food, waste reduction and recycling, water efficiency, energy and disposables.

During the improved evaluation, Engrained, located in the Connection, was able to make necessary changes for needed sustainability growth.

Anna Hill, campus dining sustainability ambassador, collected data showing ongoing sustainable practices at the restaurant that were not taken into consideration during the first certification. Practices included the implementation of reusable utensils, a bulk condiment station, automatic lights in restrooms, recyclable paper in the dining office and the use of a composting service, as well as other changes.

“Earning a 3 Star certification from the Green Restaurant Association is a great accomplishment for both our full time and student staff,” said Aaron Johnson, campus dining food service director. “Each member of our team has a role in our sustainability initiatives, including Anna Hill, campus dining sustainability ambassador, who helped lead this effort.”

For more information, call the campus dining office at (616) 331-3016.