A COLLEGE DINING HALL may not seem like the place to fan the flames of a revolution in sustainability, but the Student Center Dining Hall at Marist College in Poughkeepsie is taking steps to do just that. In April 2015, after working on the eligibility requirements for more than two years, the college became one of just 13 nationwide to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certification.
“Essentially, it’s a process whereby the college, working with the Marine Stewardship Council, ensures that all the fish products we purchase for our dining service operation meet the standards as set forth by the MSC,” says Steve Sansola, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and client rep for the campus dining services. “This certifies that the fish product is sourced through fisheries that are certified in the MSC standards of sustainability, minimized environmental impact, and effective management of those resources.”
Sansola sees the MSC certification as an extension of the mission of the school’s dining services. “We are trying to provide the best dining service program that we can offer our young people at the college,” he says. “We want to provide the best food product—meaning the most healthy—and we also want to provide products that are minimally invasive in terms of environmental impact.” And he believes the effort spent working with Sodexo, the school’s food provider, will help the practice spread. “We’re pushing [Sodexo] to push their vendors to only source these products from certified fisheries. They recognize that it’s just a matter of time before this is the norm.”