Monday marked the official launch of the new Meatless Mondays program in the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo).
ASUCD Senate Bill 10, which passed on Oct. 4, allocated $875 for the funding of the program, which includes discounted prices on vegetarian and vegan options in the CoHo every Monday.
Rather than discontinue the availability of any meat-containing item, the bill aims to promote sustainability and healthier lifestyles by offering traditionally underserved items at lower rates.
For example, Monday featured a $1 discount on all items containing Tofu Roja in the TxMx Grill.
“[Tofu Roja] is a local organic tofu that we marinate and bake in a CoHome-made enchilada sauce,” said Darin Schluep, interim food service director for the Associated Students Dining Services.
For each week, a list of the updated prices can be found online.
A kickoff event took place Monday to promote the healthier alternatives and raise awareness of the recent change. The Coho was reserved in the evening for a free showing of the documentary Food Inc., which chronicles the rise of unhealthy diet and conglomerate takeover in the American food industry. Dietitian Jill Burns, who currently works at the Sutter Health Hospital and lectures at CSU Sacramento, was also present for a Q&A session after the screening while free vegetarian food was served.
Justin Goss, who co-authored the bill, is excited for the future of Meatless Mondays.
“We want to push more education, and focus on that. I see this as sort of the first strike — building up general knowledge about the benefits of reducing meat,” he said.
Tanzi Jackson, chair of the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission, who also assisted in the implementation of Meatless Mondays in the resident hall dining commons, worked closely with Goss to get the project up and running. She emphasized the importance of choice in the CoHo through stressing the need to reduce meat consumption without completely forcing meat off the menu.
“We don’t want to infringe upon an individual’s rights to whatever they want to eat,” Jackson said.
The concept has been well-received according to Jackson, who states that both the Environmental Club and Sodexo employees have shown support, among others.
The program also serves as a potential source of revenue for the CoHo, a zero-net unit of ASUCD, by boosting eligibility for a sustainability grant.
“The business end is ecstatic, because this would become a great source of sustainability,” Goss said.
For now, Meatless Mondays is limited to the dining commons and the CoHo, but Goss is confident that the prospects do not end there. Exactly how is yet to be determined.
“If it becomes successful, we want to expand the reach of the program,” he said.
ADAM KHAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.