Imagine: It’s around one in the afternoon, and you’re waiting for class to end so you can finally grab lunch. You’re starving because you skipped breakfast in the rush to get to your 9 a.m. class and have been busy since then. After a torturous wait, your class finally ends, and you dash to a dining hall, only to see that it’s filled with food that you can’t eat due to dietary restrictions.
Sounds like a nightmare, huh? But for vegetarians and vegans, this is our sad reality.
Contrary to popular belief, people who don’t eat meat aren’t always stuck-up, fancy folks from LA who shop exclusively at Whole Foods. A lot of us choose this lifestyle for sensible reasons and have never seen the inside of a Whole Foods.
Forgoing meat is a conscious and thoughtful choice that people make because they think that easing the burden on our earth is more important than satisfying their taste buds. These people come from all walks of life — from famous celebrities to broke college students.
I know what you’re thinking: What difference is one person who doesn’t eat hamburgers going to make? Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73%. If everyone stopped eating these foods, they found that global farmland use could be reduced by 75%, an area equivalent to the size of the U.S., China, Australia, and the EU combined.
My intention here isn’t to persuade anyone to quit eating meat entirely — one article isn’t enough to do that. I just want to ensure that every Yellowjacket has the opportunity to have a good, filling lunch and maybe even get a peek at what a meat-free lifestyle looks like.
I strongly believe that having Meatless Mondays at just one dining hall every week is a great idea. It’s inclusive, as there will still be options available for meat eaters in other dining locations on campus. An added benefit is that this will reduce the University’s carbon footprint significantly, while giving people a taste of vegetarian food — which really isn’t bad at all.
One vegan counter in Danforth is definitely not enough to serve everyone on campus. Take it from someone who hasn’t touched meat in four years — it isn’t easy to fill yourself up from the salad bar alone. But if an entire dining hall served bean burgers and eggplant lasagna, even for just one day a week, it would be an absolute treat for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.