No Steak For You
Scripps dining hall joins “Meatless Monday” movement
Starting this semester, students hoping to get their carnivorous fix at Scripps are going to have to make alternative arrangements – at least on Mondays.
Malott Dining Hall at Scripps has implemented a new program, Meatless Mondays, where no meat is served for breakfast, lunch or dinner one day a week. Instead, the dining hall will focus on providing students with vegetarian and vegan alternatives.
This program follows on the heels of the popularization of the semi-vegetarian, or ‘flexitarian,’ movement. Flexitarians eat a primarily plant-based vegetarian diet with the occasional inclusion of meat products. The goal of the movement isn’t meat elimination, but reduction of meat consumption. As proof that this movement is gaining in popularity, Scripps is far from the only school that has implemented this change. Over 60 colleges and universities have joined the movement to reduce meat consumption by eliminating meat one day of the week.
Scripps’ implementation of the program was instigated by student involvement. Emily Jovais SC ’13, spearheaded this push, with her and fellow classmates gathering 400 signatures in a single week to persuade Sodexo, the food service company that is in charge of Malott, to adopt the program. “I [also] wanted to see higher quality, more sustainably produced meat and animal products in the dining hall,” explained Jovais.
However, at meetings with Sodexo representatives and the Sustainability Committee, it became clear that budget constraints would prevent this from happening.
“We eventually decided to combine the two ideas into one campaign that could simultaneously help pay for the higher quality products, satisfy both the meat and non-meat eaters, and create a more sustainable campus,” Jovais said.
But why the large push for this program? Students’ answers ranged from personal and ethical reasons to environmental and economic concerns. Mitsuko Balenciaga PO ’14 cited the large number of vegetarians and vegans on campus as a reason why this program is necessary. “We’re vegan and we need to eat!” Balenciaga exclaimed. “People are definitely going to Scripps on Mondays because of this program.”
Balenciaga also pointed out that as a vegan, she and her vegan and vegetarian friends have a “difficult time” finding a variety of foods in the dining halls that they can consume. She is delighted with the wide variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes that have been served on recent test-runs of Meatless Monday such as tropical vegetable stir-fry, mushroom polenta, Lyonnaise potatoes and vegetable samosas with yogurt sauce.
In addition to personal reasons, there are a variety of economic and environmental explantions for this program’s popularity. Jovais cited the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s estimation that the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions, which is far more than that of transportation. “Eliminating meat from your diet one day a week saves more greenhouses gasses than a completely local diet,” she explained.
MeatlessMonday.com, a website that of- fers several compelling arguments for reducing meat consumption, confirms this with data from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. One of the most striking statistics the website cites is how many fossil fuel calories are needed to produce one calorie of feedlot beef compared to one calorie of plant-based protein – about 18 to 1.
MeatlessMonday.com also points outs that water use, a hot topic in Southern California, is linked to food consumption. Whereas 1,800-2,500 gallons of water are required to produce a single pound of beef, one pound of locally grown, Southern California tofu only requires 220 gallons of water for production.
While the full impact has yet to be seen, the Meatless Monday program undeniably helps to implement environmentally and socially responsible values at the Claremont Colleges