Dining for a Cooler Planet: Lessons for Engaging Students & Launching New Initiatives

Tania Taranovski, Director of Programs

Photo of campus dining service with webinar title overlain, Dining for a Cooler Planet

Hosted by: Farm to Institution New England and the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network on October 19, 2023

How can we excite and engage our students in our initiatives? And keep them engaged? Can college and school dining areas help us reach our climate and sustainability goals? These are the kinds of questions dining directors, educators, and sustainability and nutrition staff in higher ed and K12 schools continue to grapple with. Come hear how one university is effectively tackling these challenges through new initiatives, Kathy Wicks and Monica Guzmik, who lead sustainability efforts within UMass Amherst Dining Services, will share components to one of UMass Dining’s premier sustainability educational campaigns. Student engagement was at the heart of how it was conceived, developed, implemented, grown over time, and the success metrics. The webinar will also focus in on the related and recently launched Carbon Footprint Rating System. The session will wrap up with a group sharing about current experiences, best practices, and challenges with new initiatives and student engagement.

FINE’s Farm & Sea to Campus webinar series creates peer-to-peer learning opportunities for dining program directors, chefs, foodservice operators, supply chain businesses, and other community partners who are engaged in procuring and promoting New England food. 


Tania Taranovski | Director of Programs, Farm to Institution New England


Kathy Wicks (she/her/hers), Director of Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Dining Services/Auxiliary Enterprises

Monica Guzik, Sustainability Manager for Dining and Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst


Speaker Bios


Kathy Wicks

Kathy Wicks (she/her/hers) oversees all sustainability initiatives for Auxiliary Enterprises. She focuses on including sustainability in everyday decision making for the division, aligning efforts with the campus wide sustainability priorities, and building diverse partnerships. Kathy has extensive experience in building multi-sector collaborations, leading community engagement strategies, and strategic planning for a variety of food systems initiatives. She has a Master of Public Health from UMass Amherst and a Bachelor Degree from Smith College as an Ada Comstock Scholar. Kathy enjoys gathering family and friends to cook together using local ingredients year round. She also enjoys practicing mindfulness meditation and supporting local music.




Headshot of Monica Guzik wearing a black shirt standing on a campus

Monica Guzik is the Sustainability Manager for Dining and Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst. She is a strategic partner to the Director of Sustainability and helps facilitate and support the various sustainability projects, events, and initiatives within the department and across campus. Monica is an alum of UMass Amherst for both her undergraduate and graduate degree where she studied sustainability and food systems. She is excited to be bringing her energy, insight, and passion for sustainability back to the campus community. Prior to working at UMass, she was the operating manager for a mobile farmers market that addressed local food access and market access for farmers in the rural Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. In her free time, Monica enjoys working in the garden, tending to her chickens, and spending time outside with friends, family and her dog.

FINE Webinars

FINE’s webinar series creates peer-to-peer learning opportunities for regional food systems stakeholders. Whether you work at an institution, for a food hub or distributor, at a nonprofit, or as a producer, researcher, teacher, or community leader, today’s webinar will provide you with new resources to help your work. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don't miss future webinars.