SPOTLIGHT on Meatless Monday Ambassador Sophie Sonnenfeld

March 5th, 2018

Meet 15-year-old Sophie Sonnenfeld, a ninth grader from Hopkins School in New Haven, CT. With her classmate Jack Kealey, she accomplished her mission last year to bring Meatless Monday options to her school cafeteria and keep it going.

We caught up with Sophie to find out how she began her successful Meatless Monday campaign.

How did you hear about Meatless Monday?

I heard about Meatless Monday when I was in sixth grade and was reading about the Yale Humane Society’s campaign.

What inspired you to create your own campaign to get your classmates to pledge to do Meatless Monday?

I had never heard of anything like it before that was so simple and effective a way to help protect animals, our planet, and our health. After I worked with the Yale Humane Society collecting pledges on weekends at Yale dining halls, signing up 10 percent of Yale College, and I became more confident and familiar with the campaign elements, I decided to bring it to my K-9 school, The Foote School, and subsequently to my high school, Hopkins School.

How do you communicate to people that Meatless Monday is easy to try and benefits their health and our environment?

When I collect pledges and discuss the movement with classmates, I always provide them with information and facts about the effects of participating. I encourage them to speak with fellow students who also participate passionately in avoiding meat one day a week. I also use materials like giant posters, backpack pins, stickers, flyers, school-wide emails to spread awareness around the schools. To keep Meatless Monday momentum going, I set up a weekly table outside the lunch room to collect pledges.

What type of resistance have you faced when approaching people about doing Meatless Monday? How did you handle it?

The resistance we primarily face is from big football players who are determined and vocal about their meat consumption. I am able to combat this by reminding them it is only one day a week and there are substitutes for protein that are better for our health. Who knows, if they embraced Meatless Monday, they may even win more games!

The Meatless Monday team at The Monday Campaigns is grateful for all your help in spreading the Meatless Monday movement. What ideas do you have to get more people like you to become Meatless Monday ambassadors?

Perhaps do more promotion targeted towards school-aged kids with educational programs that would visit the schools. I also suggest increased social media campaigning and getting celebrities involved.

Now that Meatless Monday is an option at Hopkins School’s cafeteria, Sophie has set her sights on inspiring other schools and restaurants in Connecticut. Watch out for Sophie! She’s passionate and persuasive – great traits to have as a Meatless Monday ambassador!

Hopkins School joins many other schools who participate in Meatless Monday. Last year, 15 New York City public schools jumped on the bandwagon and schools all around the country continue to adopt Meatless Monday to offer healthier choices in their cafeterias each week. If you want to learn more about bringing Meatless Monday to your school, dining hall, office, or organization, contact us for more information.