Our Initiatives

As a guest, it is easy to make smart environmental choices when you dine at a Sodexo café. We know today's college students want to do the right thing for the planet and we also understand you lead busy lives, so your Sodexo chefs and managers do a lot of the work for you behind the scenes! From purchasing local seasonal produce whenever possible to reducing inorganic and organic waste, your campus team is dedicated to providing you with an exceptional dining experience that is good for you and good for the planet. This commitment was formalized with Sodexo's Better Tomorrow Plan. The Better Tomorrow Plan includes 18 commitments for a brighter future by focusing on four key priorities: health, planet, community and people. While your Sodexo team works hard behind the scenes, they also count on student engagement and enthusiasm to spread the word about what we are doing together on your campus. We encourage you to contact us if you have comments or ideas for a more sustainable dining operation. We would love to hear from you.

3 Star Certified Green Restaurant

Gladfelter Dining Hall has been a 3 star Certified Green Restaurant since the summer of 2023. Some highlights that got Gladfelter this status are our large selection of vegan and vegetarian options, our extensive composting and recycling programs, our commitment to not using polystyrene foam products, and our leftover food donations. We look forward to implementing even more sustainable practices to get us to the highest level, a 4 star rating!


On campus we recycle all cardboard, glass, aluminum, paper, and plastic in partnership with the WWC Community Oriented Regeneration Efforts (CORE) Crew.


Food waste in landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas which is 21x more potent than CO2.  (www.epa.gov)  Our first priority is to reduce food waste.  We compost food waste that is unavoidable in partnership with the CORE Crew which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and can also be used to amend soil thereby increasing drought tolerance, improving soil structure and health, and reducing need for water and fertilizers.

Vegan Options

Dining on campus is easy when you are vegan. We have plenty of vegan options, especially down in Cowpie, our completely vegetarian and mostly vegan cafe. To eat there you can use one of your meal swipes or pay with Hoot Loot, just like you would in the Gladfelter Dining Hall. Back in 2017, we even received a score of A+ on PETA's Vegan Report Card.

Food Donation

We have a wonderful partnership with Food Connection, a local non-profit focused on fighting hunger and reducing food waste. We save our leftover food and they come to collect and redistribute it throughout Swannanoa and the broader Asheville area to people who are hungry. Thanks to them, we have diverted thousands of pounds of edible food from our compost and been able to help fight food insecurity in our community!

Xprss Nap

XPressnap dispensers are another solution to reducing energy and waste. They use 30% less paper than traditional napkin dispensing mechanisms. The great thing about these dispensers is that they help the environment while helping to keep costs down. The napkins are made of 100% recycled paper and the dispenser will encourage customers to take (and waste) less napkins. Energy is saved because less power is used to recycle paper products than to create them from virgin material. According to Xpressnap, enough is saved through using recycled napkins to power 600 American homes for an entire year! More than half a million gallons of oil were saved (38 tanker trucks worth) and 41 tons of pollutants were kept out of the environment. Using recycled napkins diverted 4,131 cubic yards of paper from landfills. This is enough to cover a football field with a stack of paper two and a half feet deep.


We are a trayless campus. Customers without trays typically waste less food and beverages. It is also a healthier approach to eating, as we all know that at times our eyes are bigger than our stomach. Trayless dining also reduces the amount of water and detergents needed to wash trays - and saves energy too!

Reusable To-Go Programs

We are glad to provide our guests with a reusable to-go box program at Gladfelter Dining Hall and Cowpie Café. This program gives people the option to take their food and enjoy it outside and gives busy people more flexible dining options.

We also have reusable mugs available in The Owl's Nest for people to utilize, thanks to the Free Store maintained by the CORE crew.

Local Suppliers

Our dining hall proudly serves campus-raised meat and campus-grown produce. Our campus farm supplies us with the fresh, grass-fed beef, raised in our back yard! That is why 100% of the ground beef we serve on campus is from our land. Additionally, we work closely with regional food distributors to procure local fruits and vegetables when in season as well as support local farmers and artisans who supply us with fair-trade and organic goods. The Local Foods Work Crew audits food purchasing to quantify how much food we are sourcing local in the dining hall. Post COVID challenges, we are purchasing 15% local and are committed to raising that percentage by continually researching local and organic food alternatives.


As part of its commitment to increase the sustainability of its operations, Dining Services uses Ecolab’s Apex™ dishwashing system. 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. Apex uses a unique combination of detergents, rinse additives, equipment and consultative services to address the operational challenges in food-service operations.