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Davis, California

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Students aim to expand Meatless Monday on campus

UC Davis students are looking to expand the Meatless Monday program from the three dining commons to all university dining services.

Meatless Monday, a national campaign, strives to educate students about food choices in relation to student health and students’ environmental footprints.

“The goal of promoting the national campaign is to raise awareness of health,” said Danielle Lee, sustainability manager of UC Davis Dining Services. “The campaign is about being conscious about health and the environment.”

The national campaign was started at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health. The goal of the program is to encourage students to cut out meat once a week for the purpose of health and sustainability.

The Meatless Monday campaign aims to reduce the demand for resources, such as water, carbon dioxide and fossil fuels by choosing to not eat meat, Lee said.

The UC Davis Dining Services became a partner with the campaign in 2006. Meatless Monday is currently offered at all three of the UC Davis dining commons. The campaign expanded its marketing to the Silo Student Union two months ago.

Currently, 580 UC Davis students have pledged Meatless Monday. Students who join the campaign will receive a button to show their support, Lee said.

Meat is still being offered on the menu every day at the dining commons, and there are no fee increases for students due to the program, according to Lee.

UC Davis students have been petitioning to expand the campaign to other dining services on campus, such as the ASUCD Coffee House. By teaming up with peta2, a youth-oriented animal rights group, over 1,500 students have signed a petition urging the university to expand the campaign.

Currently, there are no plans to bring Meatless Monday to the Coffee House.

“The CoHo is an ASUCD unit, but we serve faculty, staff, and guests of the university as well,” said Sharon Coulson, director of the Coffee House. “We are a business; we serve to please the customers. Personally, I would support the cause, but professionally, it would be difficult for my workers to not serve meat. It could have a negative customer feedback.”

However, Coulson said that while the Coffee House has no current plans to adopt the program, she feels that the campaign would work well campus-wide.

“I do not think the program should be offered at just one unit,” Coulson said. “It should be campus wide with 100 percent support from ASUCD and Sodexo.”

Marta Holmberg, peta2 manager, said that adopting the program would be beneficial for all students on campus.

“Adopting a campus-wide Meatless Monday program would be a big win for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian students at UC Davis,” said Holmberg in a statement. “That’s because all students will get a valuable lesson in safeguarding their health while protecting the planet and saving animals’ lives at the same time.”

Lee said that she is pleased that information about the campaign has spread throughout campus.

“We did not meet our goal of 1,000 student pledges this year,” Lee said. “However, we still got the knowledge out. It’s about engaging students and awareness, which we have succeeded in.”

For more information about the Meatless Monday campaign, visit meatlessmonday.com

ALICIA KINDRED can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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