Drexel’s Sierra Student Coalition and Animal Welfare Association are embracing Meatless Monday, a movement backed by an array of public-health advocates, animal welfare activists and environmentalists that asks meat-eaters to go meatless one day a week.
The two organizations have banned together in an effort to promote Meatless Monday on Drexel’s campus. Their goal is to make Meatless Monday a staple of the Handschumacher Dinning Hall, and to highlight meatless options available for students to eat on campus, said Nicole Koedyker, a Drexel student and president of the Sierra Student Coalition.
The Sierra Student Coalition and Animal Welfare Association have joined the initiative alongside well-known celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey and Simon Cowell. The international movement is aimed at educating people about the health and environmental effects of avoiding meat at least one day a week.
“Factory farms cause one fifth of the Earth’s greenhouse gases from the growing of their food, which is mostly corn, to the waste they produce that then goes into our water. It’s a lot of emissions,” said Koedyker.
Meatless Monday launched in 2003 in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Today, the campaign is active in over 23 different countries and growing. Schools, restaurants and food service companies around the globe are participating in the movement.
Even Drexel’s primary food-service provider, Sodexo, has taken part in the initiative by providing a variety of new vegetarian and vegan options at the dining hall. Though Drexel is not planning to completely eliminate meat from Monday’s menu, they are looking to highlight their meatless options.
Meeting every Monday of this term in the dining hall, the two organizations want to encourage Drexel students to sign a Meatless Monday pledge.
“I hope our involvement in Meatless Monday will help Drexel students understand the economic, environmental and health benefits of an animal-friendly diet,” said Jill Adair, Drexel student and president of the Animal Welfare Association of Drexel. “More importantly, I hope Meatless Monday encourages students to feel more compassion for the suffering animals in meat factories across the U.S.”
In addition to talking to students at the dining hall, Koedyker has met with a Drexel nutritionist to understand how students can make a healthy change to go meatless.
“We asked the nutritionist about the different vegetarian options and she gave us a list of the dining stations with different options for each one, Koedyker said. “For example, if you go to the Mexican station and they have a beef burrito you can ask for a bean burrito. Many of the options I didn’t even know about.”
Meatless Monday is just one of the many campaigns the Sierra Student Coalition has spearheaded at Drexel. Koedyker said the group hopes to put on a campaign every term.
“We’re hoping that after this term when students become more aware of Meatless Monday, there will be a demand for Drexel’s dining hall to adjust their menus every Monday to include more meatless options,” said Koedyker.