A mix of colorful grilled vegetables with metal serving tongs

Badgers Eat Sustainably

Electric Eats

The newest sustainable food truck on-campus is here!

Thanks to funding from Madison Gas & Electric and the UW-Madison Office of Sustainability Green Fund, Electric Eats will be offering a variety of sustainable food options during the 2023-24 academic year!

Check it Out!

Ticket to Take Out Program

Dining exclusively uses a reusable to-go container program in order to reduce single-use disposable waste in our Dining facilities.


Head to a register at any University Housing Dining Market to purchase a token for $5.00 to receive unlimited exchanges of our reusable to-go containers.

Once you’ve purchased your token, follow these 3 easy steps:


Bring your token with you to any Dining Market on campus and grab your food to go.


Enjoy your food on the go. Wherever you go, your container goes.


Drop your to-go container into one of the vending machines located at the Dining Markets and grab your token to use next time.

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  • Only one container can be used at a time using one meal swipe.
  • Must be requested upon entry to the market.
  • Cannot be used for leftovers or after eating in the market.

Ticket to Take Out FAQs

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How does the reusable to-go container program work?

To enroll into the program, students can purchase a token for $5.00 which will be available during fall move-in and at the registers of any Dining Market during the 2023-24 academic year. Once you have received your token, you can take your food to-go!

After you pay for your meal upon entry to the market, provide your token or previously used container to the cashier and they will provide you with one clean reusable to-go container to use and disposable containers for soup and drinks upon request. You can place whatever you would like in the container, but it must be able to fully close. This means all food items must be able to fit INSIDE the container, they cannot be carried on top. Exceptions to this include carrying out one piece of fruit (apple, banana, orange, pear, etc.) and a cookie or dessert bar,

After you have finished your meal, return your empty to-go container into one of the Ticket to Take Out vending machines to receive a new token to use for another time or simply provide your empty used container to the cashier upon entry and they will provide you with a clean one to use.

What if I lose my token?

New tokens can be purchased at each Dining Market for a cost of $5.00 each.

Can I redeem my token for cash?

No, tokens have no cash value and can only be used to redeem for to-go containers.

Why can't I reuse my container without having it washed by University Housing Dining?

For health and safety reasons, only properly cleaned and sanitized containers handled by University Housing Dining staff can be used in our Dining Markets. This protects everyone’s health and safety.

Can I purchase multiple containers?

No, only one container can be used at a time using one meal swipe.

Can I keep and use my container if I move out of the residence halls?

Yes, you can use your container all throughout your studies here at UW-Madison. Because we wash and re-use these as a way to reduce waste, we ask when you are done with your studies at UW-Madison that you turn it in. We usually hold collection drives for these at the end of semesters. Or you can turn it in anytime at any Dining Market.

If I am returning to the halls, do I have to pay to be a part of this program?

You will only pay $5.00 for a token if you do not already have one.

Can I take my leftovers home in a reusable to-go container?

No, if you wish to take your food to-go you must request a container upon entry to the market.

Campus Farm

Est. 2023!

Dining has expanded vegetable production to a 1-acre campus growing area at Eagle Heights Community Gardens in 2023 to support student learning opportunities and campus grown produce. Dining utilizes the production farm as a learning laboratory for students and staff in high yield sustainable agriculture techniques and culinary excellence. Dining staff visit the farm throughout the growing season to plant, weed, trellis, and harvest delicious produce for use in Dining menus.

Check it out!

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UW Frozen Meals Program

Housing Dining’s Frozen Meals Program diverts surplus Dining meals to pre-packaged microwaveable meals at no cost to any UW-Madison student.

Pick-ups are available at 4 locations in our campus community, including: The Crossing, Hillel, The Pres House, and First Congregational Church. Over 7,900 meals were recovered through this effort in 2020-2021 alone. Follow UW Frozen Meals Program on Facebook or Instagram to learn more.

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Eat well. Live well.

Housing strives to ensure the food that fuels our residents is healthy for them and the planet. We recognize that food is a major actor in strategies to address climate change and are actively embracing solutions that support sustainability.

  • Recipe quantities are forecasted to anticipate demand
  • Product inventories are managed weekly to avoid spoilage and over-ordering
  • Research and data inform appropriate portion sizing
  • Trayless markets in all-you-care-to-eat facilities have shown to reduce food waste by 20-50%
  • Our large batch kitchen prepares and packages bulk food orders at one time to increase efficiency and shelf-life
  • Annual food waste audits help raise awareness about and reduce food waste
  • We track back-of-house food waste with Leanpath technology at Rheta’s and Four Lakes Markets, which helped reduce overall waste at Rheta’s Market by 40% in one year.
  • Housing Dining’s Frozen Meals Program diverts surplus Dining meals to pre-packaged microwaveable meals at no cost to any UW-Madison student.
  • Partnerships with student groups like the Food Recovery Network facilitate additional food distribution in the community.
  • More resources related to campus food security
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at each meal to provide students with healthy, low carbon choices
  • The online and in-person menus feature icons indicating vegan & vegetarian selections.
  • All lighting in Dining facilities is LED-preferred and occupancy sensors help reduce energy waste when rooms are not in use.
  • Rooftop solar panels at Gordon produce 42,800 kWh of electricity a year, or the energy use of five typical Wisconsin homes. See live data on the online dashboard.
  • Temperature in dining markets is controlled by a building automation system. These controls can be set to adjust at different times of the day and different seasonal temperatures to provide a comfortable experience when the space is occupied and save energy when vacant.
  • All Dining purchasing decisions for new appliances consider the long-term utility cost (electricity, gas, and water usage) and prioritize heat recovery systems to capture heat for reuse. Energy Star appliances are preferred when available and appropriate.
  • Gordon Dining & Event Center’s green roof and rain gardens prevent runoff into local waterways.
  • Consistent with all University Housing locations, dining markets use cleaning products that are sustainable and meet EPA standards.
  • Through a partnership with F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture and the Office of Sustainability Green Fund, two Tower Gardens are on display in Four Lakes Market and Gordon Dining & Event Center. These visual displays demonstrate the power of local food and the ability to grow food in small spaces. If you are interested in attending programming events or getting involved with the tower garden, learn more at the F.H. King website.
  • Dining & Culinary Services supports sustainability outreach and education through a variety of Theme Meals each year. Most notable is the Earth Day Meal, which takes place at all dining markets during Earth Day lunch period.
  • The sustainably-themed Electric Eats food truck arrived on campus in May 2022! Featuring responsibly-sourced ingredients and low-waste packaging, this 100% student-led electric vehicle is a campus-wide resource for food sustainability.

Follow these 5 steps to reduce personal food waste in the dining halls

  1. Plan your meal. Check all station menus first before making your selection
  2. Consider the source. Food requires significant water, energy, and labor resources to produce, package, prepare, serve, and dispose of.
  3. Sample smaller portions. Serve yourself or ask a server for a sample of a new dish to try before plating a full portion
  4. Take only what you can eat.
  5. Come back for seconds! Dining visitors are encouraged to revisit the stations frequently to make sure you’re getting enough to eat.

Choose carbon-friendly options at dining markets

Try the 5/2 diet: consume less meat and dairy products by eating vegetarian or vegan 5 days a week, and continue your usual diet 2 days a week. Eat in season and buy local to reduce transportation emissions.

Compost food waste

Campus-wide food waste collection has been temporarily suspended due to unforeseen circumstances. Learn more and find other options for composting.

Get involved! Are you interested in making a difference in Housing or Dining Sustainability? Join the Resident Sustainability Ambassador Program or ask about job opportunities with Housing Sustainability by reaching out to sustainability@housing.wisc.edu.

Local Dining Partners

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Local Food & Ingredients

  • Babcock Dairy
  • Bagels Forever
  • Carr Valley Cheese
  • Johnsonville
  • Parrfection Produce
  • Roth Cheese
  • People’s Bakery
  • Sugar River Dairy
  • Simple Soyman

Local/Wisconsin Manufacturers

  • Brakebush
  • Neesvigs
  • V. Marchese Produce
  • Best Maid Cookie Company
  • Klements Sausage Company
  • Sargento Cheese
  • Elegant Foods
  • Grande Cheese Company