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Webinar: Reducing Dining Emissions: An Analysis of Beef and Milk Substitutions

January 27, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST


This event is part of the AASHE Award Winner Webinar Series, featuring a presentation of the Campus Sustainability Research Award winning project.

The life cycle of food is responsible for over a quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through production, processing, distribution, and waste. The environmental impact of specific foods varies by product, production method, and sometimes by region. Educational institutions such as Smith College have both the means and the incentive to make responsible food purchasing decisions that align with institutional values and emissions goals, and have been starting to make these changes using sustainability frameworks such as the Real Food Challenge. While such commitments can reduce GHG emissions, an intentional focus on emissions reduction through procurement will make a larger impact. Throughout this project we worked with Dining Services at Smith College to analyze current purchasing practices in beef and dairy milk — two of the highest GHG-emitting food categories both at Smith and globally. The methods and results of our project gave Smith Dining the resources to run rough emissions and cost analyses for different substitution scenarios.

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Aidan, Frances, Emelyn, and Kelsey majored in Environmental Science & Policy as members of the Smith College Class of 2020. They conducted research on Smith’s Scope 3 dining emissions as their capstone project this past spring, which received AASHE’s 2020 Undergraduate Research Award.

Aidan Coffin Ness

Aidan Coffin Ness, Smith College

Aidan’s focus at Smith was aquatic systems, which centered around a love of the water and a summer in Belize conducting coral reef and mangrove research. During her time at Smith she also completed a B.A. in Spanish, and hopes to use this along with an interest in water and food sustainability to find work in the environmental field.

Frances Duncan

Frances Duncan, Smith College

Frances focused her environmental studies around the climate crisis, spending a semester abroad in Iceland and Greenland to study the impacts of climate change on Arctic ecosystems and livelihoods. She enjoys using artistic methods to creatively communicate scientific information. Frances is currently coaching high school cross country in Western Massachusetts.

Emily Chiang

Emelyn Chiang, Smith College

Emelyn‘s studies focused on water, and included coursework ranging from groundwater to glaciers. During her time at Smith College she also received a B.A. in Engineering, and is now pursuing an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. She is set to graduate in 2021.

Kelsey Towne

Kelsey Towne, Smith College

Kelsey studied sustainable food systems and graphic modeling (GIS & Mathematica) within the ES&P major. She is now an AmeriCorps member with Habitat for Humanity in Buffalo, and hopes to continue working in the non-profit sector after her year of service.



January 27, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST
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