Marcus Yarber

Marcus Yarber

FAMU Dining Serves Up Healthy Choices

Whether at the Café, the Rattler’s Nest, or any of the other Metz-operated dining facilities on campus, FAMU students, faculty and staff can find plenty of ways to eat healthy meals while also protecting the environment.

One reason is that when the Metz Culinary Services was chosen as the campus food service company in 2014, an important criterion was the company’s commitment to sustainability.

Metz makes a concerted effort to serve plenty of produce, offer vegetarian options, and increase educational efforts to encourage healthy dining habits, including encouraging diners to avoid food waste. Also, company policy sets out standards for behind-the-scenes sustainability practices.

Each day, a range of wholesome produce is provided, including vegetarian entrees for those choosing to “eat low on the food chain.” Choosing plant-based proteins is eco-friendly because many studies show that meat production requires much more energy and other inputs than plant production. This is essentially because two stages of production are required—growing the plant food to feed the animals, then growing the animals themselves.

Meat production is responsible for significantly more greenhouse gases emissions than plant production. Gases released include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides – three main greenhouse gases. The “water footprint” of meat is also big—for example, it takes 1,800- 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. Studies show that relying more greatly on plant protein also provides health benefits – vegetarian diets are associated with lower blood pressure and lower incidences of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes.

For those new to sampling vegetarian food, there is a daily veggie special at the “Main Plate” to try tasty new items like quinoa casserole. While fried chicken is a reliable standard on “Fried Chicken Wednesdays,” Chef Clark Thomas and his team also provide lower-fat options such as grilled and baked chicken and fish.


Campus diners can choose from a wide selection of frest fruits and vegetables.

Metz is committed to purchasing only NAE (No Antibiotics Ever) chicken by the end of 2016. Metz also uses line caught tuna, cage-free eggs and steroid-free chicken breasts.

As for the other part of the food equation, the choices made by diners, Metz uses informational displays at dining locations encourage patrons to do their part to select wisely and to minimize waste. Signs promote selection of colorful produce, encourage diners to try “Meatless Mondays,” and exhort all to “Take what you like, but eat what you take” to prevent food waste.

Another important strategy for sustainable dining operations is the drive to source more locally grown produce. Tallahassee and Leon County are striving to strengthen the local food economy, make wholesome more accessible to all citizens and support small- and medium-scale farmers who help to make that possible. As a historically agricultural university, FAMU is striving to model this more sustainable approach in its campus food systems by taking lessons from the classroom and the field to its dining operations.

no waste pic

The dining areas feature messages that encourage nutritious food choices and waste prevention.


Law Professor and Sustainability Fellow Randall Abate Advocates for Climate Justice

“Climate justice” focuses on the need for equitable responses to the pressing challenge of climate change that is being felt here and now, a problem disproportionately affecting poor and marginalized people internationally.


FAMU Law Professor Randall Abate, who has been awarded one of five Sustainability Institute Faculty Fellowships for the 2016-17 school year, will soon publish a book surveying governance challenges for climate justice in multiple case studies across the world. He explains that the book will help “put a human face on the climate change crisis that we are currently facing in the world, in the U.S., and here in Florida.”

The book is titled, Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges, and will be published in December, 2016. Professor Abate will teach a climate justice course at FAMU College of Law in the spring of 2017, drawing on the rich case studies in the book that cover North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, the United States, and Australia.

The case studies address impacts on affected communities including island nations, indigenous peoples, women in rural areas, South Florida residents, and animals.

The book raises the climate justice challenges that these regions and communities face and proposes legal solutions. During his sabbatical in fall 2016, Abate will travel to the U.K., Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan, Vanuatu, Australia, and three cities in the U.S. to teach courses and deliver lectures related to the book. He delivered lectures in Norway and Canada this summer on atmospheric trust litigation, which is the topic of a chapter that he prepared for this book.

 to rest of world

Many people are being displaced due to rising sea levels.

The regulation of climate change is complex and challenging, as it crosses international boundaries. Climate justice seeks to promote more equitable allocation of the burdens of impacts at local, national, and international levels, Abate says. Climate justice law is founded on international human rights and environmental justice theories.

“Whether we are considering the plight of indigenous peoples in the Arctic or low-lying island nations in the South Pacific, climate change impacts such as sea-level rise and polar melting affect many human rights including the right to health, food, shelter, culture, and life,” he explains.

“Climate justice takes many forms,” he continues, “sometimes in the form of court cases based on environmental and/or human rights-based theories, sometimes in the form of proposed treaty or statutory protections, and sometimes simply in the form of raising awareness of and sensitivity to the vulnerability of marginalized communities to climate change impacts and offering them a right to be heard.”


Agriculture is being greatly affected by climate change. 

Abate’s focus on climate justice is founded on a view of sustainability as a necessary consideration for responsible economic activity. He recognizes that resources should only be used in a way that ensures their availability for future generations. As such, one aspect of climate justice that Abate has been concerned with is atmospheric trust litigation. “This theory involves lawsuits brought by youth plaintiffs against state and federal government entities alleging that the government has a fiduciary duty to

protect the atmosphere for the benefit of current and future generations,” Abate writes. This theory draws on sustainability and its environmental stewardship foundations.

Abate has been a law professor at FAMU’s College of Law in Orlando since 2009. Upon return from his sabbatical, he will begin a three-year term as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the College of Law in January, 2017. His body of work focuses on domestic and international environmental law (with an emphasis on climate change law and justice), animal law, ocean law, and constitutional and human rights law. In addition to the forthcoming book, he has published four other books and dozens of articles in law journals.

“Climate change is the greatest environmental, social, legal, and political challenge that the world has ever faced. And embracing the essence of what sustainability means may provide us with an effective response to this daunting challenge,” Abate says. 


Disruptions from flooding are causing economic and social harm.


FAMU Bike Program Gets a Boost from Regions Bank Donation

A donation from Regions Bank has added ten new “LifeGreen®” bicycles to the existing fleet of bicycles in FAMU’s student bike rental programThe ongoing bike rental initiative is a joint effort between Student Health Services and the FAMU Recreation Department.


Founded in 2005, the program was created to help students get around campus in a quick, safe and sustainable fashion. Students can rent bicycles by the semester on a first-come, first-served basis.  The program benefits students by providing a low-cost bicycle rental system, as well as promoting an active lifestyle. The overall campus benefits too, with reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality. 


Regions Bank Area Marketing Manager Alicia Somers said “RegionsBank is proud of its partnership with FAMU, and is excited to build on it through the donation of the bicycles and helmets for riders. The bank has pledged to donate an additional five bicycles each year for the next four years. We hope to provide FAMU students an easy, enjoyable way to get where they are going.


The “LifeGreen® bicycle is Regions Bank mascot, and the bike is used to carry the message that simplicity, freedom, and friendly service are part of the experience the bank wants to provide its customers. Regions has been a financial and community partner with many of the most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the country, including Florida A&M University. It donates bicycles to help mobilize students and to spread the message of freedom in simplicity.


 “By providing this donation to Florida A&M University, we hope students can experience more freedom to explore the campus and the surrounding community. FAMU students are a vital part of our community, and we look forward to seeing them riding around in our community,” said Darrin Holloman, Tallahassee Regions Market President.


Students can learn more about biking on campus, as well as other local cycling activities, by joining the FAMU Bike and Cycling Club. Members of the FAMU Bike and Cycling Club serve as volunteers and interns and assist with the bike rental program, maintenance, and safety training. 


Though gas prices have decreased in recent years, biking remains the most cost-efficient and practical mode of transportation. A student can save hundreds of dollars in gas money each semester by opting to use a bicycle for transportation instead of driving. That’s why it’s in a student’s best interest to embrace a two- wheel alternative and repurpose their gas money!


But there are many more benefits to biking than simply saving money, the most obvious one being exercise.  Ms. Tanya Tatum, Director of Student Health Services, pointed out, “It’s recommended that individuals get at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Riding a bike causes less strain and injury than other forms of exercise; it works all of the major muscle groups, helps increase aerobic fitness and is a lot of fun!”


Biking around town is an inexpensive form of exercise as well as transportation. It goes to show that people can stay fit and improve their health without paying for expensive gym memberships.


Most students have experienced the nerve wracking and time-consuming task of trying to find a parking spot on campus. Riding a bike to class is a convenient alternative for students who wish to avoid traffic and to get to class on time. All of that time spent in traffic and searching for a parking space would be better used studying!Bicycle parking also requires much less space than automobileswhich helps to alleviate the need for new parking lots.


Lastly, the positive impact on the environment is probably the most important aspect to alternative transportation. Climate change is heavily influenced by CO2 emissions, the majority of which are due to the use of internal combustion engines for transportation. Bicycles are emission free, and utilizing them helps to reduce global warming as well as improve air quality. From the low cost, to the practicality, and the health benefits of biking, helping to protect the environment can be as easy as riding a bike.


Local Resources

Bicycle House Tallahassee, a local volunteer organization located on FAMU Way, empowers people through cycling, also has partnered with FAMU to help grow bike culture on campus.Bicycle House provides the community with a space for people from all walks of life to learn about cycling, as well as the financial independence that cycling offers. 


Tallahassee commuters may have noticed new bicycle amenities have been added around town, with more under construction. These allow cyclists greater mobility and safety in the downtown and campus area. Construction of the Downtown-University Protected Bike Lane Network is already underway, and is planned to be completed by late this year. Once completed, the network will provide over five miles of protected bike lanes and shared lanes that will connect FAMU with downtown, FSU, Stadium Trail, and Cascades Park. The protected bike lanes separate bicycle traffic from automobile traffic, and make the biking experience much safer and less stressful for cyclists. 


Another resource for cyclists is the historic St. Marks Trail, a 20.5 mile long asphalt bike trail currently running from the intersection of Gamble and Stearns in Tallahassee, running all the way to the coastal fishing community of St. Marks. Cyclists unfamiliar with the area might catch a glimpse of alligators, American bald eagles, and other exotic wildlife along the incredible landscape and natural beauty of North Florida if they make the whole trip to the coast.

bike club in action

The FAMU Bike and Cycling Club in action.


Resources for Rattler Cyclists


FAMU Rentals.To rent a bicycle, contact Director of Health Services Mrs. Tanya Tatum at (850) 599-3777


Bike and Cycle Club. To find out more information about FAMU’s Bike Rental program and the Bike and Cycling Club at FAMU, contact, or contact Assistant Director of Programs Mr. George “Chip” Heimbach at (850) 412-5515.


Bicycle House TallahasseeLocal volunteer organization that empowers people through cycling

(850) 350-8000, 458 FAMU Way, Tallahassee FL 32301. all of the bike lanes, bike routes, and trails that Tallahassee has to offer. This website is full of information about the resources and bike amenities in the Tallahassee/ Leon County Area.


Capital City CyclistsThis organization promotes bicycling for transportation, sport, and health through education, advocacy, and rider development in the greater Tallahassee area. All kinds of trails, including bicycling and hiking trails, are included. 


10 Bike Safety Tips that Every Cyclist Should Follow 

  1. ALWAYS wear a helmet

  1. Stay visible, and use lights at night and in dimly lit areas

  1. Always look, signal, and look again

  1. Stay alert

  1. Ride with the flow of traffic

  1. Act like a car (follow the same rules of the road)

  1. Eliminate distractions

  1. Obey all traffic lights and laws

  1. Make sure that your seat is in a steady, comfortable position

  1. Check your brakes and wheels before each ride

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Sustainability @ FAMU

Sustainability at Florida A&M University is about the teaching, research and application of environmental and resource stewardship so people and planet prosper. The Sustainability Institute serves as the hub of all sustainability-related efforts at the university, bringing students, staff, faculty and the community together around creative collaborations.

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