Sustainability in Focus: Sleeves Grow Trees

23 Jul

Sleeves Grow Trees


Sleeve a Message and Northwestern Dining, powered by Sodexo, have created a partnership three years in the making for a sustainable tree planting coffee sleeve program at Northwestern University. Sleeve U, a product offering from Sleeve a Message, plants a tree for every 7,000 coffee sleeves Northwestern Dining purchases to off-set their carbon footprint. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Northwestern Dining planted 15 trees simply by purchasing coffee sleeves.

Northwestern went through roughly 105,000 coffee sleeves during the school year and was one of the first campuses to adopt the Sleeve U program. Many of the trees planted, both this year and in previous years, have been planted in distressed neighborhoods across the country. Northwestern Dining trees can be found in areas such as Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma, where vicious tornadoes ripped through areas, decimating homes, as well as local landscapes.

Jason Sophian, Marketing Manager for Northwestern Dining explains, “It is great to see Northwestern Dining, a world-class dining program, work with inventive start-ups like Sleeve a Message. We value the positive sustainable impact the partnership with Sleeve a Message continues to bring.”

David Dresner, founder of Sleeve a Message and former student of Northwestern University, commented, “When we first partnered with Northwestern Dining, we sought out to develop a sleeve program. Since then, we have grown the relationship with a sustainability effort that is simple and effective in reducing the impact of disposable packaging and also replenishes what we take.”

To stay up to date with all things Northwestern Dining, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Northwestern Dining does its part for Relay for Life

27 May


Northwestern Dining joined forces with hundreds of students to raise money for the American Cancer Society during Northwestern’s annual Relay for Life. The event, which lasted 12 long hours, requires endurance and hopefulness of participants to make it through the night in order to raise awareness for the disease that has affected virtually everyone in one way or another. To aid the students in their efforts, Northwestern Dining helped out in the best way they know how: with food.

After working closely with Relay for Life student organizers, Northwestern Dining donated over 400 lbs. of pasta, enough to feed 1,000 people. NU Dining has continually donated to this cause in previous years, however, this year was different. The NU Dining team supplied not only the food, but also the dishes and equipment necessary to keep the food hot throughout the evening.

Northwestern student, and Relay for Life co-chair Jessie Moravek worked closely with the Northwestern Dining team to make sure the donation went on without a hitch. She explained how fresh food, especially at a large-scale event, helped make the 12-hours manageable and fun.

“Good food is vital to a successful Relay for Life. First of all, since it is a 12-hour event, a hearty meal is necessary to keep participants fueled for the night,” she said. “Overall, by making the event enjoyable, the food keeps our participants coming back year after year. The more people we can serve, the more money we can raise, and the closer we come to finding a cure.”

In addition to the pasta, Midwest Foods, a local produce supplier for Northwestern Dining, donated fruit and muffins for breakfast.

“The salad and fruit were a wonderful healthy addition to the meal, and helped promote the ‘stay well’ aspect of the American Cancer Society,” said Moravek. “Several participants said the abundance of food was the best part of the event.”

To show their appreciation, NU Relay for Life presented Northwestern Dining with an award commending its generous donation.

Article by Maya Voelk, sophomore, Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing.

Northwestern Dining Partners with Students for Points for a Purpose

14 Apr



As Northwestern sophomores Bryan Berger and Dean Meisel delivered their presentation at The Campus Kitchens Food & Hunger Summit, it seemed that they had been involved in the cause forever. They spoke passionately about food insecurity in Evanston and Chicago, the dining program at Northwestern, and the overwhelming problem of food waste in the United States. So it may have come as a surprise to the listeners in the crowd that Meisel and Berger’s waste reduction program, Points for a Purpose, hadn’t even existed as an idea a mere year ago.

While at Lisa’s Café at the end of spring quarter last year, Berger and Meisel ran into a friend. She mentioned that she had about $400 worth of meal points on her WildCARD to use before the end of the quarter. What’s more, she was going home the next day. Not wanting her points to go to waste, she left her WildCARD with Meisel and Berger, hoping they could put the money to better use.

Immediately, the two began doing what any other college student would do: they started buying heaps of food for themselves and others. They soon realized that these actions were helping no one. “We realized we really didn’t want a lot of this stuff,” Berger said. “We were thinking that there must be something we could do with these extra points.”

From there, the idea for Points for a Purpose was launched. Berger and Meisel met with Northwestern Dining marketing manager Jason Sophian at the start of fall quarter to propose a plan that would make use of the excess points had at the end of each quarter. After brainstorming and making revisions to the plan, Northwestern Dining was on board and the project went into action. The finalized plan allowed students to donate their points to The Campus Kitchens Project at Northwestern University (CKNU), which would subsequently utilize the points to buy food for people in need. Soon fellow students were asking how they could get involved. By the end of the fall quarter, Points for a Purpose had raised over $1,200. With the winter quarter just wrapped up, Points for a Purpose has raised close to $2,500 this school year.

Berger and Meisel hope that Points for a Purpose can draw awareness to the food insecurity present in Evanston. “It’s a commonly overlooked issue,” Berger said. “Not only do we want to give purpose to a resource we already have, but we can now spread awareness about how much food insecurity there is in the area that people don’t see on campus.”

Since starting the program, Meisel and Beger have become a chapter of Swipes for the Homeless, a group dedicated to alleviating hunger and raising awareness of food insecurity The collaboration gives Berger and Meisel a larger network of support and resources to work with. They also hope to create a stronger relationship between Northwestern and the surrounding community through their efforts.

As they wrapped up their presentation, Berger and Meisel stressed the convenience and practicality of Points for a Purpose. “It’s pretty straightforward,” Meisel said, “We’re taking a resource that’s not getting used and we’re putting it to use. Everybody wins.”


Article by: Maya Voelk, Sophomore, Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing

Northwestern Dining’s Tony Stubbs Earns Coveted Sodexo Experience Award

14 Mar



“The job has to get done. Lots of people stayed home, but someone had to be here, so I went.” 

Tony Stubbs is no stranger to the Sargent Dining Hall. For 11 years, Tony has worked as a cook at Sargent, watching class after class of hungry Northwestern undergraduate students file through. Tony, a native to Chicago, knows how brutal Illinois winters can become. Just like most local Midwesterners, he’s seen the lake freeze over and the snow swirl. But the Polar Vortex of 2014 caused even the most experienced Chicagoan to shut themselves inside. However, in the face of the storm, Tony powered through. He took two trains and two buses to work, totaling 2.5 hours of travel time during the freeze. He endured longer wait times than usual, as train switches broke due to record low temperatures. Tony’s dedication to his work earned him the prestigious Sodexo Experience Award.

The Sodexo Experience Award recognizes individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond in their work. How did Tony take the news? “Well, it means a lot. I was completely surprised by it, had no idea it was coming. I very much appreciate receiving something like this. I’ve been in this job a long but I hadn’t received an award like this before. This kind of thing doesn’t happen a lot. You know, I don’t know anyone else that’s gotten this.  It felt really good. It made me feel really appreciated. And yeah, like I said, it was a surprise. I didn’t see it coming or expect it at.”


Article by: Maya Voelk, Sophomore, Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing



NUCuisine presents:

11 Feb




“I know for a fact that when customers see Kamber is working their event, they are immediately put at ease with the understanding that everything will be taken care of,” says Grace Everett, director of catering sales for NUCuisine, “That innate ability to assure others that all will be well is priceless.”

Kamber Hadzic, who was born and raised in Bosnia before arriving in Chicago, acts as the current catering operations supervisor for NUCuisine Catering. Upon sitting down with Kamber in the kitchen of the Norris Center, it is almost immediately obvious that he possesses an unwavering work ethic. This, along with his positive outlook and passion for stellar customer service, has resulted in an extensive and valued career with NUCuisine. On the heels of his 20th anniversary with NUCuisine he took a few minutes out of his hectic schedule to chat with us about his experiences at Northwestern.

Have you always been interested in cooking and/or the food industry?

K: “I was interested when I was a very small guy, when I lived in Bosnia. I loved cooking. My mother showed me her ways. I went to a different school in Europe, though not cooking school, but when I got to America, I found cooking to be more and more interesting. When I got here I was watching chefs, they were all so good. They showed me all the tricks and everything I needed to know.”

What is your favorite dish to cook?

K: “I like cooking European food a lot. Beans, cabbage, and chicken are really popular in Europe, as well as salads. Rice and moussaka are a lot of fun too.”

After living in Bosnia, what drove you to come to the United States?

K: “I came here in 1993, I basically came as a refugee. I didn’t speak any English at all. After going to school to learn English, I came to Northwestern where I started at Sargent Hall. There I started making creations at the salad bar. After that, they asked me if I wanted to move into catering. I knew I was ready for that challenge, so a few months later I joined the catering team and haven’t looked back.

What does a typical day look like in the catering business?

K: “We’re always getting to do different things because we’re always having new events and new customers. It involved a lot of prepping and a lot of set up, both in house and at the event. There’s a lot of drop offs and pick-ups for events, lots of logistics. We have a truck and van where we transport our food. We have to make our customers happy, so everything must go right.

That sounds challenging, how do you manage to stay upbeat all the time?

K: “It’s very challenging sometimes, I like to serve people though, I like to see my customers happy. When I see their faces and I know they’re happy, I become even happier than they are. This job is something in my heart, I work with people to make them happy, that’s it. It’s important to satisfy everyone and give them more and more each day, 150%, every day.

What do you like about working at Northwestern?

K: “It’s a beautiful college and beautiful campus. My managers and my team are great and I absolutely love it here. I hope to make a retirement plan here, it’s been good.


Article by: Maya Voelk, Sophomore, Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing

#endinghunger – Northwestern Dining + Campus Kitchens doing their part for Evanston and Chicago

30 Jan


Since 2001, NUCuisine, the Northwestern Dining program has been partnering with the local chapter of the non-profit group, The Campus Kitchens Project, The Campus Kitchens at Northwestern University (CKNU). Campus Kitchens is an organization that partners with high schools, colleges and universities to recover food from local dining halls. The unused food is then turned into meals that help feed the less fortunate in the local community. Last year, NUCuisine contributed roughly 80% of the total food collected by CKNU, donating nearly 25,000 pounds of food to help feed people throughout the Evanston and Chicago land area.

“Knowing that we are able to serve such a substantial role in giving back to our community is absolutely incredible,” said Steve Mangan, the Sodexo resident district manager for the Northwestern Dining program. “Our next step is to increase that number by continuing to educate Northwestern students on the importance of food waste reduction.”

Jonathan Eisen, the Program Coordinator for CKNU, reiterated the positive relationship between the two organizations. “CKNU’s partnership with NUCuisine/Sodexo goes way beyond the meal. With their (NUCuisine) support we are able to provide nearly 600 healthy and nutritious meals for our individual and non-profit clients each and every week, ” said Eisen.

The partnership has also fostered some exciting new programs, including a nutrition education program for almost 75 children at after-school programs in Evanston. NUCuisine and Sodexo have also supported the National Campus Kitchens Conference, which wil be help in early April of this year on the campus of Northwestern University.

“This will be an even greater opportunity to highlight the strong working relationship between CKNU and NUCuisine/Sodexo to other campus kitchen groups throughout the country” said Eisen.

In addition, the partnership with CKNU aligns with Sodexo’s STOP Hunger Initiative, which was launched in 1996. Through volunteers, shared expertise, food donations, and financial donations, the STOP Hunger Initiative aims to change the fact that nearly one billion people suffer from hunger and malnutrition every day.

As we enter into a new year, these two organizations are exploring new and creative ways to increase the amount of food that can be donated. Also, despite the significant number of people in the community struggling to provide the proper amount of food for themselves and their families, the issue goes largely unnoticed by the community. Both groups aim to increase awareness for the problem over next year.

Article by: Maya Voelk, Sophomore, Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing

One Day a Week, Cut out Meat: NUCuisine & the Meatless Monday Initiative

25 Nov



Ask an average carnivorous Northwestern student about vegetarianism and you get a similar reaction out of most of them. “But what about bacon?” said one student, as she enjoyed the recent Tour of Pork. “I could never do it,” said another. While no one is forcing anyone to cut out meat completely, it might be beneficial to take a second look at why NUCuisine is so into Meatless Mondays and maybe even why you should give it a try.

According to the Vegetarian Society, approximately one quarter of the world’s population enjoys a mostly vegetarian diet. Surprisingly, the average vegetarian suffers no more from iron deficiency than those who eat meat. Vegetarianism also has the potential to reduce environmental issues. The United Nations Environment Programme also reported that livestock is the second or third largest contributor to global environmental issues. When you add the fact that vegetarians have the lowest rates of obesity, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure, it’s not impossible to see why many people may elect to live the meat-free life.

“Most people get more meat in their diet than they should,” said Justin Heaton, the campus dietitian for NUCuisine at Northwestern University. “When eating meat, it should be about 3-4 ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards for a meal.” Heaton added that there are other ways to receive the nutritional benefits of meat, namely protein. “Tofu, lentils and quinoa are really easy ways to get lots of protein.” Heaton said. “Beans are really good too.”

Every Monday, NUCuisine offers an increased amount of vegetarian and vegan options in the dining halls across campus. However, don’t expect bland vegetables and unidentifiable fake meats to dominate the menu. Instead, NUCuisine chefs have developed vegetarian and vegan recipes that are not only flavorful, but unique as well.

“We focus on pastas, cheeses, and seasonal vegetables,” said Chris Studtmann, the executive chef and operations manager for NUCuisine. “We also do fun foods, like build your own nachos, potato bars and ethnic street foods.”

While students enjoy the fresh and flavorful meatless food, the chefs have an equally good time challenging themselves to create innovative dishes and experimenting with new ingredients.

“I have fallen in love with complex gains lately, and really enjoy making them with seasonal salads,” Studtmann said. “One of my favorite recipes we are making in the NUCuisine kitchen these days is our golden raisin quinoa salad.”

Whether you choose to go meatless on Mondays, all days, or no days, it’s good to know there is an abundance of meatless options open to you at locations across campus. For more information on Meatless Monday, a meatless diet, or any health and wellness related topics, contact our campus dietitian Justin Heaton at

To find out more information on all things NUCuisine, like us on Facebook follow us on Twitter and Instagram or online at

Article by: Maya Voelk, Sophomore, Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing



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