Food & Water

Check out the Food Day Recipe Checklist so that you can make sure the meals you cook are as sustainable as possible!


  • FOOD

    Sustainability is a high priority for UIC Dining Services and UIC Catering Services. After arriving on campus in July 2012 UIC Dining Services has partnered with many organizations and student groups, including the Office of Sustainability, to strengthen relationships and collaborate on various sustainable initiatives. Since then, UIC Dining Services has managed to gain a great deal of perspective and create momentum to work towards a more sustainable environment in both residential and retail operations.


    Antibiotic Free Dairy

    Prairie Farms Dairy, located in Rockford, IL is Dining & Catering’s supplier for all milk and yogurt. Prairie Farms Dairy is a dairy farmer-owned cooperative that utilizes cows which have been certified to be free of the artificial growth hormones rBGH/rBST.

    Human Antibiotic-Free Poultry

    Only chicken and turkey is served that has been produced with restricted use of drugs, especially as a growth additive, in feed. Contracted suppliers are required to provide products that adhere to criteria developed in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund.

    Sustainable Seafood

    Catering & Dining Services is committed to protecting the threatened global fish supply. In collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, they established a landmark policy to remove unsustainable wild and farmed seafood from all menus.

    Cage Free Eggs

    With the help of EcoCampus, a student organization focused on the sustainability movement, both UIC Catering & Dining Services now offer shelled and whole liquid eggs that are certified by the HFAC program in partnership with the Humane Society of American to be cage free. Cage-free eggs are healthier, more sustainable, and more humane.

    • Cage-free farms are more sustainable and cause less water and air pollution than conventional farms.
    • Cage-free farms provide safer and healthier working conditions for farmers.

    Supporting Local Farms

    UIC Catering & Dining Services strives to purchase seasonal local produce whenever possible. They aspire to reduce dependence on factory farming and partner with qualified local and regional growers.

    • “Local” is typically defined as coming from within a 250-mile radius of the producing facility.

    Reusable Mugs

    As coffee is a top seller on this campus, Dining Services introduced a reusable mug policy. Customers can purchase their coffee beverages at a reduced price by bringing in a reusable mug to any of retail location. Nearly 200 UIC Dining Services Green mugs, produced from compostable corn product, were sold within the Fall 2012 semester.

    Oil Recycling

    Waste oil used in kitches are recycled into biodiesel using Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions, a local company focused on sustainable and economical environmentally-friendly services. A total of 5,235 pounds (almost 700 gallons) of oil was filtered using the FiltaFry microfiltration system in 2012 from August through December. This resulted in:

    • 150 jugs of oil saved
    • Over 110 gallons of diesel fuel and 120 pounds of cardboard due to not having to transport the jugs
    • 7 million gallons of water saved in not having to irrigate
    • A combined 52 gallons of fuel saved in not having to process, which resulted in a carbon offset from fuel equal to over 3,300 pounds.

    All of these savings were like planting almost 170 trees to benefit the environment.

    Food Donation

    Supporting the local Salvation Army for dry food excess. Overstock of prepackaged foods are donated to the Pacific Garden Mission located in Chicago, IL and taken monthly via bicycle by the UIC student group, College of Cycling.

    Disposable Service Ware

    UIC Dining Services has virtually eliminated the use of disposable serviceware by using reusable, rather than disposable, baskets at late night dining. In the event that it is necessary to use disposable materials, disposable containers and napkins produced with high levels of post-consumer recycled material are used.

    Trayless Dining

    Dining Services offers a trayless environment to reduce the use of water and chemicals to clean wash trays; additionally, there has been a significant reduction in food waste as a result of going trayless.

    These are just a few examples of the many sustainable practices that are implemented and advertised by UIC Dining Services & UIC Catering Services on the UIC campus.


    dual toilet graphicAs new buildings or major construction projects are built, water conservation is considered.

    Water-conserving fixtures, such as low-flow toilets and aerators for faucets, are being installed.

    In addition, storm water flow may be captured for reuse in irrigation such as at the UIC Forum. Buildings that have been constructed over the past six years have been landscaped with native and hardy plants that do not require irrigation. In 2014, faculty, staff and students authored a plan to reduce stormwater runoff at UIC, that earned them winners of the EPA’s Rainworks Challenge! Read all about the Project here.

    Please report leaky faucets or running toilets to Facilities Management.

    Reduce Your Water Footprint by Wheels For Wishes



    There are multiple educational gardens on campus that showcase the necessity and sustainability of plants.

    HG_plantingUIC Heritage Garden

    The UIC Heritage Garden and satellites are educational spaces that relate diversity to quality of life issues that benefit both people and nature. The satellite gardens use an integrated approach that links environmental and social concerns to promote social change. As stewards of these sites, the six Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change (Cultural Centers) are charged with making these a resource for the campus and neighboring communities through on and off-site cultural and horticultural programs, community outreach and engagement activities. To this end, two of the CCUSC – the Latino Cultural Center  (LCC) and the African-American Cultural Center (AACC) – have worked with a new group of student leaders on campus called the Heritage Garden Student Group to pilot an internship program during the summer of 2013.

    The overarching goal of the UIC Heritage Garden is to provide an experiential learning space where students in collaboration with faculty, staff, and community members can engage in hands-on horticultural activities while expanding their knowledge of sustainable practices that include culturally diverse and environmentally friendly traditions and values.

    Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden

    Located on the West Campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Dorothy Bradley Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden was dedicated on July 19, 2002. The Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden contains more than 200 species of medicinal plants, many of which are mainstay drug-producing plants whose products are currently in use in clinical practice around the world. It builds upon the college’s long-standing reputation as one of the world’s foremost centers of natural products research. The garden exists not only for educational and research purposes, but also for the enjoyment it offers as an island of beauty on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Atkins Garden is located immediately north of the College of Pharmacy, 833 S. Wood Street.