By Joshua Nicholson

The UC Santa Cruz Crown/Merrill dining hall is as fresh and green as the vegetables served there and grown on the UC Santa Cruz Farm. Recently, the dining hall has been recognized for its progress towards sustainability.

This past month, the UCSC Crown/Merrill dining hall was certified as ‘green’ by the city of Santa Cruz in a ceremony led by Mayor Emily Reilly. The certification came after a lengthy process that brought about changes in old practices and old appliances.

Clint Jefferies, food service manager at Crown/Merrill dining hall, spearheaded the project. Jefferies explained the rigorous work that went into becoming certified as ‘green’ and the criteria for the certification.

The project encompassed many changes, ranging from new energy-efficient appliances to better disposal techniques.

“The program emphasizes pollution prevention, water conservation, energy efficiency, recycling, and waste reduction,” Jefferies said.

Meeting over 150 guidelines, Crown/Merrill Dining Hall became the first place on campus, as well as the first restaurant in Santa Cruz, to win this honor.

Specific guidelines for pollution prevention include scraping excess grease into the proper container, disallowing liquids in the trash, and incorporating new dry methods of picking up spilled grease.

To decrease the amount of solid waste, the criteria require that restaurants and dining halls reuse envelopes, decrease font size to reduce paper consumption, and remove themselves from junk mail lists, among other things.

“It took about a year to meet all the requirements,” said Scott Berlin, director of Dining and Hospitality Services.

Jefferies and Berlin, both proud of the achievement, are now focused on getting all of the UCSC dining halls certified as green, a goal they hope to accomplish by the end of 2007.

“We hope to have the Porter dining hall certified within a couple of weeks,” Jefferies said. And after that, all the dining halls on campus within the year.”

The changes further exemplify the quality of dining on campus, as Marcia Winslade, co-chair of the UCSC Student Environment Center, noted. “Our dining service is one of the most progressive around,” she said.

Jefferies will be recognized for his progressive work this Friday at the Terra Fresca restaurant above the College 9/10 Dining hall.

He is the recipient of the Sustainable Food Heroes award.

“The green peas award of food sustainability,” said Tim Galarneau, coordinator of the UCSC food systems working group.

Jefferies looked to UC Berkeley as an example in “green” dining. Berkeley earned its first certification three years ago.

Jefferies strove to make UCSC dining halls, cafes, and restaurants accomplish this same feat. Now Jefferies has achieved his goal, and has the first green certification of UCSC’s Crown/Merrill dining hall and Banana Joes Cafe to prove it.