Engrained Café Receives 4-Star Green Certification for Sustainability

Engrained, a café located in San Francisco Hall on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, earned the 4-Star Green Certification from the Green Restaurant Association for its commitment to sustainable restaurant techniques.

Engrained, a café located in San Francisco Hall on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, earned the 4-Star Green Certification from the Green Restaurant Association for its commitment to sustainable restaurant techniques. 

Since opening in 2013, Engrained has had the goal of providing students with an educational dining experience focusing on sustainability in the foods they offer and how they are prepared, according to Loyola Dining Services’ website.  

The Green Restaurant Association gives out “Green Points” upon assessment of the sustainability of a restaurant. These points are added to a scorecard which allows restaurants to qualify for certifications. Engrained received a total of 307.58 Green Points, according to the Green Restaurant Association website

The Green Restaurant Association is a global non-profit organization founded in 1990. Their goal is to inspire restaurants to put efforts towards sustainable practices and to offer educational resources to the organizations they partner with like Engrained, according to their website. 

Jordan Davis, sustainability manager for Loyola Dining, wrote in an email to The Phoenix she was the primary person in charge of completing this certification process for Engrained. 

Davis said earning this certification required Engrained to prove sustainability in eight different categories which included energy, water, waste, reusable and disposable, chemicals and pollution, food, building and furnishing, and education. 

“My role in achieving a 4-Star Green Restaurant Certification certification was to ensure the café continued to operate as it always has and explore other alternatives to operate in a manner that is better for our planet,” Davis wrote.

Davis said it requires continuous innovative thinking to remain sustainable in order to help lower their environmental impact at Engrained. She said Engrained serves as a great example of how dedication to sustainability can be possible on a widespread level throughout campus. 

“One example of an improvement added to Engrained Cafe was adding aerators to all sinks,” Davis wrote. “Aerators reduce the amount of water that comes out of the faucet, thus saving both water and energy. Remaining sustainable is slightly more costly, but the benefits of decreasing our carbon footprint exceed the cost.”

The café has a focus on local, plant-based and third party certified food options, according to Davis. They offer vegan and vegetarian sandwiches and salads, receiving produce from a local food manufacturer, Farm Logics, and featuring bakery items from West Town Bakery, according to Loyola Dining Services’ website. 

First-year special education major Maya Hamilton said she is happy to attend a university that focuses on sustainability on a large-scale. She said she thinks Engrained is a great place for students who want to eat healthy and green at an affordable price. 

“Engrained has a compost section in their trash,” Hamilton said. “I just wish they had those like everywhere.” 

Aaron Durnbaugh, Loyola’s director of sustainability, said he is proud of the work done at Engrained and all throughout campus to remain sustainable. 

Although not directly in partnership with the School of Environmental Sustainability, certain construction aspects of the school add to the sustainable efforts of the café, such as the geothermal system which provides eco-friendly energy to the whole building, according to Durnbaugh. 

“Some of the school’s energy and waste management helped with certain credits and points within the certification,” Durnbaugh said. “That’s just because of the way we operate the building.”

Claire Mendez, a third-year, said it’s nice to see these efforts being made on campus, and she hopes this certification can be spread to other dining options Loyola offers. 

“I like dining options like Engrained,” Mendez said. “But it is weird to have it sit right next to a Starbucks, which isn’t always sustainable.” 

Engrained serves Starbucks coffee as part of their menu and has the same workers serve these products, according to Durnbaugh. 

Loyola is hosting Sustainable Food Week on the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses starting Nov. 13 to help spread awareness for the university’s constant efforts in remaining environmentally responsible, according to Durnbaugh.

This article was written by Taylor Zielenbach

Featured image by Daphne Kraushaar / The Phoenix

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