More universities than ever are implementing Meatless Monday, shaking up entrenched notions of campus eating all over the country. Recently, no less than seven campuses have committed to the movement, opting for a flexible and plant-based menu for a variety of reasons from cost savings to health.
Simpson University, in Redding, CA, quickly discovered that the money saved from reduced meat purchases could be reallocated to more upmarket veggie meals. Sadie Roy, Simpson’s Director of Dining Services, enjoys exploring those culinary possibilities with the students she serves. “Some of our favorite dishes are the house-made black bean burgers with guacamole and polenta fries, root vegetable pot pie, eggplant parmesan, and penne pesto alfredo,” she said.
The University of California at Irvine has echoed that sentiment, providing delicious veggie snacks in their dining halls to demonstrate that meatless meals can be inventive instead of limiting.
In addition to creativity in the kitchen, the success of many programs hinges on marketing. Saint Xavier University, which has launched Meatless Monday to its student body of over 4000, effectively promotes the program through its website and social media. Stephen F. Austin State University is hosting a Sustainable Dining Week from October 21st through October 25th, including a special Meatless Monday event.
At the University of California at Santa Cruz, Meatless Monday began as a three-month pilot program and expanded to a permanent fixture in response to popular appeal. Each Monday, one dining hall out of five offers exclusively plant-based meals, with the location rotating every week to encourage variety and options.
Students at Knox College and University of Central Florida are equally excited about on-campus Meatless Monday offerings. At Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois, the student group Knox Advocates for Recycling and Environmental Support (KARES) revived their Meatless Monday program after its popular debut last year. KARES operates with the neutral assent of the school’s dining services, which defers to the student government on menu matters. Dining services at the University of Central Florida adopted a similar approach, introducing Meatless Monday to Knightstop, UCF’s Student Union, at the behest of a large percentage of the student body. Senior Max Benton is grateful for the options and flexible in his outlook. “I’m not a food activist by any means,” he told the Central Florida Future, UCF’s student paper. “I just do what I think is best for me.” Such initiative bodes well not only for the future of Meatless Monday, but for the health of future generations.
Think Meatless Monday should attend your school? Check out our Free Promos page for help on implementing your own program.