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Villanova University Awarded Membership in Farm Forward’s Leadership Circle

Villanova has committed to purchasing certified higher-welfare eggs, becoming the first university to offer Pasture Raised Eggs

Leadership Circle

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University announced that it has been awarded membership in Farm Forward’s Leadership Circle, a program that recognizes pioneering institutions leveraging their buying power to change the way animals are raised for food. Villanova joins other members of the Leadership Circle, including Cal Dining at UC Berkeley, Bon Appetit Management Company, Airbnb and Dr. Bronner’s.

“Leadership Circle institutions exemplify values-based food purchasing,” said Claire Fitch, Director of Outreach at Farm Forward. “Through thoughtful procurement policies, universities like Villanova improve the welfare of farmed animals while meeting their students’ demands for more ethical and sustainable food.”

Villanova has joined the Leadership Circle by committing to source third-party certified higher welfare eggs within two years. Villanova has already achieved that goal and is now sourcing Certified Humane pasture-raised shell eggs from Vital Farms.

Leadership Circle members broadly work to source “less and better” animal products, reducing their environmental footprint while sourcing their remaining animal products from higher welfare, more sustainable sources. Members also commit to support farmers raising animals under optimal conditions, and in doing so, help to rebuild a network of sustainable farms in America.

“We are excited in joining the Leadership Circle and the opportunity for our students to make positive changes through their dining choices,” said Timothy Dietzler, Director of Dining Services at Villanova University. “The Leadership Circle aligns perfectly with Villanova’s VEG program, which encourages students and other members of our community to adopt a ‘less meat, better meat’ approach to dining.  Farm Forward provides resources for Villanova Dining Services to source higher welfare meat, poultry, and eggs, while we incorporate more plant-based proteins in following our core principles of VEG.”

The four core principles of Villanova’s VEG program for healthy and sustainable eating are based on Menus of Change, an initiative of The Culinary Institute of America, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as leaders in the health industry, including Kaiser Permanente.  VEG has defined four core pillars as a foundation for healthy eating:  reducing animal proteins; increasing fruit and vegetable intake; increasing whole grain intake; and reducing sugary beverage intake through increasing water consumption.

The new purchasing practices cement Villanova University’s status as a leader in both the animal welfare and sustainable food movements. The Leadership Circle continues Villanova University’s work addressing sustainability in Dining Services through projects such as being a Community Supported Agriculture site-host as well as purchasing local produce to reduce our carbon footprint.

Fitch noted, “When large institutions invest in better quality products, high welfare farms can expand their capacity, make their products available to more people, and help us rebuild a sustainable agricultural system.”

Villanova Dining Services remains committed to providing their guests with the highest quality food while creating a positive, lasting impact on our community’s health, wellness, and sustainability. Villanova recently became the first university to receive the PlantPure Communities Restaurant Certificate—recognizing its efforts to offer and label vegan and oil-free options in its dining locations. For more on Villanova Dining Service’s commitment, click here.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit