CAS promotes sustainability, works with small businesses

Campus Auxiliary Services holds a Pride of New York Showcase on campus every fall in order to promote the purchase of locally grown food. Pictured right is a cow that was brought to the event from an Upstate Cooperative farm. This event is part of CAS’s initiative to continue to improve its sustainability practices and local outreach. (Lamron Archives/Courtesy of CAS)

After exceeding the goals set for Campus Auxiliary Services in its five-year Sustainability and Outreach plan, CAS looks to continue to improve in these areas in the future.

CAS began to work on improving its sustainability and outreach in 2009 in an effort to expand the work done under the company’s “Corporate and Community Citizenship” Pillar, according to CAS Executive Director Mark Scott. 

“Under that pillar, we had three areas we were looking to impact. They were: improve our local spending, impact the minority and woman-owned business enterprises and reduce, re-use and recycle,” Scott said.

Scott acknowledged that different people have different definitions for the term local business and clarified that CAS considered local businesses to be those within a 100-mile radius of Geneseo.  

“Our focus was impacting the business community closest to the university,” Scott said.

The goals of the sustainability and outreach program set in 2009 were to have 20 percent of the businesses CAS worked with be local and 5 percent of the businesses be a MWBE company, according to Director of Supply Chain Tom D’Angelo.

Many of the local businesses that CAS works with are food related, such as Upstate Farms. Aside from Upstate Farms, which supplies most of the dairy products, CAS uses food purveyors to obtain fresh produce grown in the area into the dining halls and on campus.

“It’s important to recognize during the summer and out into the fall that there are local places that supply onions, potatoes and butternut squash,” D’Angelo said.

CAS works with many other local businesses that are not food related, including Thompkins Bank of Castile for banking and insurance purposes, according to Scott. CAS also uses local manufacturing companies, accounting and legal firms and automotive firms.

“One of the things people talk about when they talk about local food, particularly, is produce,” Marketing Manager for CAS Rebecca Stewart said. “We look at it company-wide; we look at food, not just produce, but outside of food as well … There is a very large economic impact, and there are economic multipliers as well when you get into spending locally.”

Stewart went on to explain that the local spending tends to impact communities because of the multiple jobs they create, mentioning the families that rely on those jobs and on other business that are in the community.

On top of using outreach as a means of helping to sustain the communities surrounding Geneseo, CAS works on being environmentally sustainable.

In the past, CAS got rid of all styrofoam products in the dining halls and has now begun to use floor cleaners that do not contain detergent, but instead ionized water.

“It’s not every floor surface and it’s not every square inch of the building that’s being cleaned with it, but in that way we impact the environment by not using chemicals,” D’Angelo said.

In the future, CAS hopes to utilize the eGarden more in order to find ways to improve composting attempts. Currently, CAS is working with black soldier flies in the eGarden to improve composting techniques, according to Stewart. 

While there is no timeline for these composting efforts, the main effort is to apply some of the eGarden’s practices on a larger scale, according to Scott. 

“Hopefully through this living research learning lab we’ll be able to impart some knowledge on the manufacturing communities to the policy factions that exist throughout the state,” Scott said.