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At Cornell, sustainable dining tastes delicious

Students enjoying a dinner planned and hosted by students from the NS4880 Dietetics class at Keeton House Dining Room in 2023.

Since 2007, when Cornell first committed to reducing its carbon footprint, Cornell Dining has been a leader amongst its peers in greening its operations. From composting food waste to incorporating more sustainably sourced menu options, Cornell Dining has redefined the conversation around sustainable dining at an institutional scale.

In 2023, Cornell University's dining program ranked second in the country according to the people who know best—the students who eat there. The Princeton Review tabulated this year's rankings from responses to surveys of 165,000 students at 389 schools.

“So often, people think sustainability means giving things up and a trade-off between scarcity vs. abundance,” says Sarah Carson, director of Cornell’s Campus Sustainability Office. “At Cornell Dining, doing things in a more sustainable way results in better quality and lower costs.”

Over the past 15 years, there has been a groundswell of support from Cornell students for more plant-based, locally sourced, culturally sensitive menu options that respect the individual needs of guests. Cornell Dining serves more than 23,000 meals daily to a diverse group of diners, including international students from 130 countries who comprise 26 percent of the student body.

Learn how students are driving menu change.