Kathryn Little, 2016, Civil and Environmental Engineering

During my summer internship with Princeton University Dining Services, my main responsibility was to produce an analysis/metric of the food products purchased by the university over the past fiscal year. This food metric sorts the food items into categories based on sustainability factors such as local foods, organic foods, and social responsibility on the part of the companies. In addition to updating the old data to reflect this year’s purchases, I also added many previously uncategorized items, broadening the metric’s scope and thereby improving its accuracy. Because this internship recurs each summer, the food metric I produced can be compared to past and future metrics as a means of monitoring the University’s progress on its sustainable dining initiatives. I also had the opportunity to help categorize dining hall recipes according to carbon footprint. In the process, I became familiar with trends between food type, preparation methods, and overall environmental impact. It was fascinating to see how a large institution obtains its food, and I now have a much more informed perspective on my own food choices. I am now more certain of my decision to continue studying sustainability in some form.