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Guided by UC San Diego’s Principles of Sustainability, University Centers is committed to sustainable practices in day-to-day operations as well as capital improvement projects.

University Centers is working to enhance the student experience, and create a more connected campus community by implementing sustainable practices based on UC San Diego’s Principles of Sustainability .


Green Restaurants 

Two Price Center eateries, Starbucks, and Santorini Grill are Green Restaurant Certified by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). The GRA assigns restaurants points based on eight different categories such as water efficiency, and sustainable food, further outlined here. Once a restaurant gains a certain number of points based on the GRA certification requirements, it can become a certified Green Restaurant. The GRA standards provide a transparent way to measure each restaurant’s environmental accomplishments while providing a pathway for the next steps toward increased environmental sustainability. University Centers encourages all its dining options to become Green Restaurant Certified.


Student Center Garden

University Centers created, and cares for the Student Center Garden, located just below the LGBT Resource Center. The patio garden produces herbs like mint, and basil as well as vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, and lettuce. All harvested produce is donated to the Triton Food Pantry, helping combat food insecurity on campus. Interested Tritons can attend educational workshops to learn more about vegetable gardening. For more information, please email


Green Office Certified

The following offices have been Green Office Certified by UC San Diego Sustainability:

  • Price Center West Level 3 Offices
  • Price Center East, Level 4 Offices
  • The Zone
  • Student Affairs Office



Price Center restaurants composted more than 66,000 pounds of food waste, diverting it from landfills in 2018-2019 academic year. All student union vendors continue to work toward the UC goal of zero waste


Styrofoam Ban

University Centers has prohibited the distribution of polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) in any of its restaurants since 2011.


Eliminating Single Use Plastic

  • Recyclable and/or compostable packaging (including straws and utensils) are preferred for all student union retailers
  • Student union restaurants must adopt an “ask first” policy for single use items such as straws and bags
  • University Centers retail locations are committed to no longer selling single-use plastic water bottles





Sustainable Food Expo  

An annual event--the Sustainable Food Expo happens every fall at Price Center. The event is free and open to all, bringing together sustainably-focused organizations and business with the San Diego Community for a day of learning, exploring, and food-related fun! 



If your organization is interested in hosting a booth at the next Sustainable Food Expo, please read through the Mission Statement below, and check back in September for registration information. 


Mission Statement

The UC San Diego Sustainable Food Expo seeks to inform students, and the community about sustainable food solutions. The expo presents vendors, best practices, and ideas about preserving the environment, nourishing our bodies, and enhancing socially just food systems. Topics covered include nutrition, health, gardening, agriculture, food insecurity, and other areas that impact the food chain. We explore relevant challenges, and seek to highlight practical solutions.
Meet with local food providers and others who impact food, and health policy. Originally held in conjunction with Food Day celebrations throughout the United States, the Expo has become a favorite UC San Diego tradition, typically held in the Fall harvest season.




Student Resources and Involvement Opportunities

  • Sustainability Resources
    • University Centers created, and cares for the Student Center Garden, located just below the LGBT Resource Center. All harvested produce is donated to the Triton Food Pantry, helping combat food insecurity on campus. For more information, please email
    • The Sustainability Resource Center (SRC) is the one-stop place where people can go to learn more about sustainability, get resources, and relax and study in a “green” space! Currently, the SRC is working virtually.
  • Events
    • The Student Center Garden hosts monthly workshops for students to come out, and learn about all kinds of garden-related things, from types of plants to gardening basics to cooking with food you’ve grown. Past topics have included kale, and legumes. Check the events calendar on the Virtual Student Union for upcoming topics, and see which ones you’d like to attend!
    • University Centers hosts the annual Sustainable Food Expo – see below for more information.
  • Get Involved!
    • Student Employment Opportunities
      • Currently no positions open 
    • For students interested in research to make our world more sustainable, the UCSD Starbucks Sustainability Grant is offered annually. Learn more about this opportunity here and apply.
      • Past Recipients of UCSD Starbucks Sustainability Grant 
        • 2016-17 // Fatima Alcantara-Valadao 
        • 2017-18 // Enid Partika 
        • 2018-19 // Will Tanaka 
        • 2019-20 // Joseph Vechinski  
        • 2020-21 // Sabrina Lin



Starbucks Sustainability Grant

Up to five grants are available each year, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, to assist UC San Diego students with research or learning projects related to sustainable food production, and distribution, resource conservation, or agricultural environmental practices.

Learn More

Starbucks Grant