CAITLIN PATERSON, Contributor
This week, Slowfood Club is organizing Food Week, designed to celebrate and inform the campus about food. In recent weeks, a survey was sent out through Stuboard and the Terrarium asking students to share their opinions about having a Meatless Monday at food eateries on campus. The survey garnered over 135 responses in about ten days.
The results pointed towards a solid acceptance and desire to have some kind of Meatless Monday. At least three quarters of students who responded were in favor of a once a year Meatless or Almost Meatless (one meat option) Monday. When asked if they would support an Almost Meatless Monday option once a week, the “Yes” responses only declined slightly. Still, almost three quarters of students would support an Almost Meatless Monday once a week, and 56 percent of students would like to have a completely Meatless Monday once a week. The “No’s” increased the most when comparing an Almost Meatless Monday to a 100 percent Meatless Monday, suggesting that if this new practice is implemented, compromise will be necessary, with one meat option available for the diehard meat lovers. Almost Meatless Monday will allow students to have a choice of meat, but also give them the chance to experience new vegetarian and vegan dishes.
These sentiments were reiterated in the comment section of the survey. Concerns about implementation of Meatless Monday included backlash on the image vegetarians have on campus and the limiting of food options in general. One respondent compared the initiation of a Meatless Monday to having a “no-veggies” day for vegetarians. However, there was much positive, constructive feedback as well. Many students noted they would support ‘better’ meatless dishes and compromise how many times Meatless Monday occurs.
Studies show health and the environment benefits. Health benefits include reduction in risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Some studies suggest that less meat and more fruits and veggies in one’s diet reduces risk of certain cancers. Environmental benefits include the huge reduction of water usage and the decrease in carbon emissions coming from transportation and processing of meat. Additionally, there may be economic benefits since meat products are often more expensive than vegetarian ones. Slowfood emphasizes that they aren’t against people who eat meat, but would just like to raise the consciousness of students to what they are eating and how it impacts them and the environment.
Introducing Meatless Monday at Beloit would have phases, according Slowfood Club. Taking into account student concerns indicated in the survey, no 100 percent meatless meals at first. The deli in Commons and at DK’s would continue to serve lunch meats for sandwiches. Slowfood would like to see a greater amount and diversity of meatless meals in both Commons and DK’s, with an emphasis on student input of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Eventually, Slowfood would like to try out a completely meatless day.
For more information on Meatless Mondays, talk to a Slowfood Club representative.
Sources: Meatless Monday, Fooducate