At Davidson College Dining Services, we hold a strong respect and dedication towards enhancing and preserving the environment, all while making positive contributions to the lives of our local and global community.

The following are a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious.

Our Choices

Incorporating sustainable practices has a clear positive impact on our program. We approach every product and procedure with the three R's in mind: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Here are just a few examples:

  • Reduce - By minimizing food waste in Vail Commons, we reduce the amount of food waste generated. We allow guests to self-serve to control their portions, eliminate trays that might encourage overloading, and batch cooking throughout the meal instead of preparing everything at once.
  • Reuse - Dining Services implements several eco-friendly reusable practices. These include washing and reusing our dishes at Vail Commons and Wildcat Den, as well as introducing the Green Box Program. With this program, guests can take their meals to-go without relying on single-use containers, reducing our environmental impact while still maintaining flexibility.
  • Recycle - Dining Services places a strong emphasis on recycling items such as paper, plastic, metal cans, cardboard, and cooking oil. Additionally, they compost both pre- and post-consumer food waste to reduce environmental impact.

Our Food

The Farm at Davidson

Collaboration between Dining Services and the Farm Manager results in fresh produce being incorporated into the menus and offerings. At Vail Commons, you can find a variety of delicious farm-grown produce such as lettuces, basil, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and melons.

Food Waste Reduction

Our chefs prepare food in smaller quantities, also known as 'batch cooking.' This guarantees each dish is fresh and reduces waste at the end of the day. Furthermore, our chefs create menus with ingredients that are readily available.


Dining Services takes pride in serving seafood that is caught or farmed in an environmentally friendly manner, in accordance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s roasts 100 percent of its coffee in the first LEED ® Gold-certified roasting facility in the nation, and is deeply committed to practices with positive impacts for people and planet.

Plant Forward

Plant-forward dining is not synonymous with vegetarian or vegan menus. It simply emphasizes plant-based foods while still leaving room for meat and other non-plant-based options. However, plant-based diets are more sustainable and less taxing on natural resources.

At Vail Commons, we offer an array of fresh produce, steamed vegetables, rice, grains, stir-fry vegetable options, vegetarian sandwich choices, and a full salad bar with fresh fruits, vegetables, and beans. Finally, the Power Plant station features a complete vegan and made without gluten menu.

Distributors, Vendors & Local Sourcing

Dining Services connects with suppliers, who share our commitment to local purchasing. Whenever possible, they source their products locally, with much of their produce and dairy coming straight from the Carolinas. By utilizing a distributor, Dining Services significantly reduces the number of delivery trucks on campus each day, which is a positive step in reducing our carbon footprint and promoting sustainability.

Scratch Cooking

At Vail Commons, most of the meals are made from scratch by chefs. This practice results in a decrease in the use of packaging and packaged materials, including dressings, sauces, and soups. Our bake shop, located in Vail Commons, creates every pastry in-house.

Our Initiatives

Green Box program

We're excited to offer an eco-friendly initiative allowing visitors to use reusable to-go containers. Guests can take up to two Green Box containers per visit and bring them back for future use. Join us in reducing waste and promoting sustainability at Vail Commons.

Equipment Replacement

Locations are equipped with energy-efficient technology including induction burners, a TurboChef-Tornado exhaust hood system, a combi oven, and LED lighting.

Our Recycling and Waste


Dining Services is committed to recycling various materials such as office paper, metal cans, glass, and plastic. You can find a large recycling dumpster located behind Vail Commons. New employees are thoroughly trained on the importance of recycling and the relevant procedures.

Cardboard Boxes

Over the past few years, the Davidson College has been able to recycle around 30 tons of cardboard annually, with most of it coming from Vail Commons and Davis Café. Additionally, Vail Commons provides boxes to students during the end of the semester for packing and moving purposes.

Used Fryer Oil

US Foods collaborates with Davidson College to collect used oil, which is then repurposed into bio-diesel fuel.


Davidson College's partnership with Crown Town Compost, co-founded by a Davidson alumnus, facilitates food waste collection at Vail Commons.

Reduction of Product Packaging

To minimize packaging waste and compost, Vail Commons limits its distribution of individual portions.

Our People

Sustainable Employment

Davidson College and Dining Services takes pride in its self-operation and sustainable workforce practices. These practices go above and beyond workplace market norms by prioritizing employee wages, benefits, and work-life balance. The result is a team of engaged, committed, long-term team members who contribute to the welcoming atmosphere for guests.

Community Job Training

Vail Commons collaborates with nearby high schools to provide employment training to students with disabilities. This initiative helps prepare them to enter the workforce with confidence once they graduate. Vail Commons collaborates with FeedNC, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing proper culinary education to those in need.