Sustainability has been one of the most important topics for the university gastronomy ( “catering” ist üblicher, müsst du aber entscheiden ) for many years now. Almost 40 years ago, we were pioneers in offering a vegetarian ‘Alternativessen’. Since then, we have continually developed and celebrated many important milestones. With our strong resolutions, we will continue striving for many more milestones in the future.

>> click on milestones for further information <<

Almost 40 years ago, Studentenwerk Oldenburg started a new groundbreaking whole-food meal service in the canteen Uhlhornsweg. It was composed of fresh, low-processed, organic products and always 100% vegetarian. In 1983 this was quite rare in the food service industry. For the Studentenwerk Oldenburg, it was the base for future sustainable activities like purchasing organically produced products. We kept to this course: by 1992, all canteens offered daily vegetarian meals and today, vegan meals are standard. The canteen Uhlhornsweg offers at least one vegan meal per day.

By purchasing organically produced vegetables from a small radius around Oldenburg, we support regional and seasonal agriculture and can guarantee a high standard in freshness and quality.

After the launch of ‘Nicaragua coffee’, which was in sometimes called ‘Soli coffee’ in everyday language, for many years now we’ve been offering solely organic and fair traded coffee in our enterprises.

To this day, an important motto for us is: Less is more. Our purchasing department watches out for products without, or with as few as possible, compulsory labelled additives such as preservatives or colouring agents.

The eggs, or egg products we use in our enterprises come from hens from animal friendly, free-range or organic farming. That means that there is a run for the animals, natural daylight, sufficient space, no use of GM technology or growth promoters and no forced unseasonal moulting.

In 1998, the use of meat from animal friendly farming was still rare in the food service industry. Since then, we have been purchasing 100% of pork, beef and lamb, as well as cold cuts from pork and beef, from Neuland farms or – if not available - organic farms. Because of the high degree of acceptance from our guests, we can contribute to a higher animal welfare as well as helping protect the environment by the waiver of imported animal feed and GM-technology. In our FAQs you can read more about the criteria.

The milk, cream, sour cream, yoghurts and curds which we process in our enterprises are from organic dairy farms in the surrounding Bremen area. A plus is also, that we purchase these products in reusable large containers, which helps to avoid waste.

Because the Studentenwerk has been processing organic products since the 1980’s, all our enterprises received the EU-eco-certificate in 2004 and are officially allowed to use the eco-seal. Annual monitoring guarantees that the strict criteria is being observed. You’ll find placards in all our canteens and cafeterias which list the products we offer solely from organic farming. About one third of our purchased products in the previous years are from organic farming.

The Studentenwerk Oldenburg only offers fish that is according to Greenpeace not overfished or comes from organic aquacultures.

Vegans are also easily catered to. In our cafeterias and coffee bars, vegan sandwiches are a staple in the standard program.

The Studentenwerk removed the use of palm tree oil for deep-frying years ago. Since 2014, we have been using rape seed oil for sustainability reasons instead.

The INTERNORGA future award, which is one of the most important awards in the industry, went to Studentenwerk Oldenburg. The jury appreciated that especially sustainability has been an important topic for decades: “Studentenwerk Oldenburg shows us that sustainability and high quality are compatible with a fair price for students."


Seit Dezmeber 2016 darf sich die Hochschule Emden/Leer als Fairtrade University bezeichnen. The Studentenwerk Oldenburg, which is represented at the Emden campus with a cafeteria and a café lounge, not only makes its daily contribution with coffee, tea, sweets and cold drinks. On the occasion of Fair Week, it also organizes an annual Fairtrade Mensa Day, on which a 3-course menu with fair trade ingredients is offered.

In 2018, we started to exchange single use plastics at the desert- and smoothie bar in Cafeteria Uhlhornsweg. We replaced them with reusable packaging, saving about 28.000 single-use plastics in 2019.

Since 2019, it’s possible to enjoy coffee from a reusable coffee cup at the Campus Emden. This is an uncomplicated alternative to disposable coffee cups and totally for free, you just need to pay a returnable deposit of 1€. In 2020 we started offering RECUP in Wilhelmshaven, other campuses are going to follow.

Since April 2021, all meals in the canteens of Studentenwerk Oldenburg can be bought in a REBOWL as an alternative for disposable containers. Using REBOWL is for free, you just need to pay a returnable deposit of 5€.

Since December 2021, the University of Oldenburg has been allowed to call itself a Fairtrade University. The Studentenwerk makes its contribution primarily through the procurement of fair trade products, for example tea, coffee, sweets or fresh drinks, and not only on a daily basis in the cafeterias and dining halls, but also at special events at the university.