ARAMARK, UR’s dining service provider, sent representative and Senior Director of Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship Christopher Stemen to visit UR to speak about ARAMARK’s commitment to environmental issues on Tuesday, Dec. 2 in the Gowen Room in Wilson Commons. Stemen discussed several issues threatening the environment.

These issues include population growth, carbon emissions, toxins, transportation, poverty issues, resource depletion and pollution from garbage.

Stemen believes universities, specifically research universities, are the ideal settings to develop sustainable technology.

‘In a learning institution, that’s where you get answers to these issues,” Stemen said.

Stemen explained the goals which ARAMARK’s accounts at universities, including UR, are aiming to reach. ARAMARK is striving to someday have zero waste from its services. It is making efforts to have more responsible purchases, such as partly recyclable designs for its machines. Stemen commented on ARAMARK’s commitment to local foods.

‘It’s environmentally friendly and environmentally responsible,” Stemen said. ‘We try to do it in a modest way that also pushes the envelope.”

As far as education for staff as well as students, Stemen admitted that ARAMARK has little control over the curriculum of students. However, it has helped coordinate workshops about sustainability in the past.

In 2007, ARAMARK sent representatives to ‘Power Shift,” the nation’s first climate youth summit in College Park, Md. ARAMARK is also trying to build more green buildings and hire sustainability coordinators to run them. UR already has a sustainability coordinator.

Stemen, who is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, believes these changes will not only benefit the environment, but also the company’s business. On the inside, ARAMARK has hired experts to define sustainable practices and help create sustainable goals for the company.

‘You can have a potential resource for the future,” Stemen said.

As for responsible resources, Stemen commented on changes being made currently. ARAMARK has five pillars it intends to fully achieve by 2010.

The company intends to have a 75 percent of these goals accomplished. The five pillars are energy and water conservation at every site, purchasing only recycled paper content, daily green and clean production, diverting 100 percent of fryer oil waste and increasing the level of local options by 5 percent per year at each site.

‘These are the global commitments we want on every account,” Stemen said.

Schneier is a member of the class of 2011.

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