Our Initiatives

As a guest, it is easy to make smart environmental choices when you dine at Bentley University. 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 Bentley Dining chefs and managers do a lot of the work for you behind the scenes! We have formalized this commitment by implementing the initiatives outlined on this page focusing on four key priorities: health, planet, community and our people. We know we can all work together to make a positive impact right here at Bentley. For questions or more information on Bentley Dining's sustainability initiatives, please contact Darren Fabian.

Mass Impact

Mass Impact is our commitment to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, our customers, and the communities in which we work and live to support the Massachusetts and New England economies through an increase in local purchasing.

Through Mass Impact, we highlight local farms through our Harvest of the Month program, host Markets on campus, and conduct educational events on local sourcing and sustainable dining practices over the course of the academic year. If you want to learn more about Mass Impact and our Sustainability efforts at Bentley University please contact Rose Forest, Sustainability Coordinator, at Rose.Forest@sodexo.com.

Agricultural products are local if they are:

  • Exclusively grown or trapped in Massachusetts
  • Derived from an animal that was raised for at least one-third of its life in Massachusetts (except milk)
  • For milk, a majority was produced from Massachusetts animals
  • Honey produced by colonies located exclusively in Massachusetts when all nectar is collected
Processed foods are local if:
  • 50% or more of all product ingredients by volume (except water) are raw agricultural products that are local to Massachusetts and
  • Either processed or the food manufacturer is headquartered in Massachusetts
Unique food products are local if two or more of the following are true:
  • 50% or more of all ingredients by volume (except water) are raw agricultural products that are local to Massachusetts
  • Substantial transformation of the ingredients in the product occurred in Massachusetts
  • The headquarters of the company that manufacturers the product is in Massachusetts

Food grown, raised or harvested within the six New England states (ME, VT, NH, MA, RI, CT) plus a 50 mile radius

Agricultural products are regional if:

  • Vendor of the product is a regional food business and 100% of the ingredients were grown, raised, or harvested on farms within the six New England states plus 50 miles
Processed and Unique foods are regional if:
  • Vendor of the product is a regional food business and at least 50% of the ingredients were grown, raised, or harvested on farms within the six New England states plus 50 miles (For Example: Broccoli Soup; in which the broccoli and dairy were sourced regionally and equal 50% or more of the ingredients)

Humane Society of the U.S. Partnership and Increasing Our Plant-Based Offerings

In partnership with the Humane Society of the U.S., our chefs have been specially trained in plant-based culinary cuisine. This hands-on training is part of the Humane Society of the U.S.’s Food Forward program and sheds light on how to create delicious, plant-based meals that also are cost-effective and sustainable. The training also covered the health and nutrition aspects of food and recipe development. The Humane Society of the U.S. and Sodexo have collaborated to create over 350 plant-based recipes.

In the Fall of 2021, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Bentley Dining Services with support from Sodexo Operations, LLC formally entered the Food Forward pledged to increase the amount of plant-based menu offerings at our 921 Dining Hall. Our goal is that 28% of our entrée menu will be plant-based by December 31, 2024. We will achieve this through an increment of 5% annually.

Through the Food Forward Program, The Humane Society of the U.S. works with institutions and food service management companies throughout the United States to change menus at colleges & universities, K-12 school districts & childcare programs, and hospital & healthcare systems nationwide. Overall, the program has enacted meat reduction policies at over 600 institutions to date.

In a recent survey conducted by the Humane Society of the United States, Sodexo was ranked second among forty different food service providers for the sustainability of our proteins. The survey evaluated us on transparency, goals, and a plan of action. Our plant-based offerings are instrumental in helping us to achieve our Better Tomorrow initiatives and achieving our carbon emission reduction goal.

Swipe Out Hunger

Dining services is proud to partner with Bentley University in the Swipe Out Hunger program.  The program is designed to educate Bentley’s campus community about food insecurity and provide support to Bentley students who may be experiencing food insecurity. Students on a meal plan can donate up to 25 swipes per trimester to a Bentley student in need.

This program was designed using best practices provided by Swipe Out Hunger, a national non-profit that supports colleges in developing programs to meet the needs of food insecure students. To find out more about the organization, please visit swipehunger.org. 

To learn more, donate swipes or if you are experiencing food insecurity visit Bentley's Swipe Out Hunger Page.

Food for Free

Food for Free is a non-profit organization that is bridging the gap between hunger and waste. Food for Free collects untouched and excess food, repackages it into individual meals and distributes it to those in need. Bentley Dining Services packages prepared, untouched food at the end of each meal period.

Outreach and Education

Our impact on the environment includes promoting plant-based meals, preventing waste, managing energy efficiently and sourcing responsibly. Plant-based eating is gaining in popularity as millions of Americans are increasingly embracing plant-based meals for better health and for environmental and animal welfare reasons. Food service professionals are seeking ways to meet the demand for more plant-based menu items, and Forward Food is the only initiative in the country that provides such training to institutions.

Green Reusable Container Program

Our green reusable containers reduce the amount of single-use items going into our waste stream and also provides students with a convenient to-go option. At The 921 or LaCava Café students can purchase a green reusable container for a one-time fee of $5.00. At The 921 they are able to take their food to-go with a meal swipe! At LaCava Café you would purchase your food like any other time, just hand your green container to a station attendant. Once you have enjoyed your meal elsewhere you should empty, rinse, and return your container to The 921 or LaCava Café. You can exchange your container for a clean one or receive a token that can be used at a later time. Taking a meal to-go is one swipe at The 921. If you wish to dine-in during the same visit you must use another swipe.


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 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. 

Local Results: We compost pre-consumer food waste at all of our dining locations. Post-consumer food waste is collected at The 921. We also have sorting stations available at LaCava Café with trash, recycling, and compost bins. 

APEX™ Dishwashing System

As part of its commitment to increase the sustainability of its operations, Bentley University 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. The Apex management approach uses a tablet PC and wireless technology to communicate with the system's controller to download, process and analyze data to establish each food-service operation's "rack-to-guest ratio." By monitoring and improving this ratio, the system helps reduce the amount of water and energy used at each facility, and improve total operational efficiency.
All locations will benefit from using less water, energy and labor, thus minimizing their operations' overall environmental impact. In addition, the Apex system further supports Dining Services' sustainability initiatives with non-caustic chemistry and 95% less packaging material than current methods. Apex products come in a compact solid form that significantly reduces transportation shipments compared to bulkier liquid detergents.

Other Materials Management Initiatives

• Our napkins are made from 100% recycled content paper (90% post-consumer).
• Paper towels are made from 100% recycled content.
• Bulk condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce in our residential dining operations eliminate single use packaging waste.
• Our dairy products are delivered in reusable crates.