One Monday each term the Knox cafeteria serves vegetarian breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the students. While this meat-free trend does not extend to the Oak Room, Grab n’ Go, or the Gizmo, the name “Meatless Monday” is a well known phrase to the students on campus. Whether hearing this phrase is met with excitement or frustration, the students have recognized it as a fixed event once a term.
The student organization Students for Sustainability, formerly known as KARES, started the initiative over six years* ago to a very mixed audience. The first year of Meatless Mondays was met with quite a bit of protest by much of campus. One famous story that has been repeated over the years claims that a fraternity held a cookout on Meatless Monday to protest the lack of animal proteins in the caf. As the story goes, the unfortunate fraternity members developed a case of food poisoning due to not cooking their meat thoroughly. Aside from this, as the years have gone on, the event is still met with mixed reviews. Yet, the most dominant sentiment recently seems to be to expand Meatless Monday to be campus wide.
On November 7th members of Students for Sustainability tabled for Meatless Monday in the cafeteria. The club members had packets of educational materials regarding the environmental impacts associated with meat production. The materials also explained how going one day each week without meat holds many benefits in regards to sustainability. Examples of this include-
In addition to providing educational materials for the event, the club also collected comments from the students. Students were prompted to comment on what they liked and disliked about Meatless Monday, what they would like to see in the future, and any suggestions they might have in regards to the event. In reward for commenting, the club handed out stickers of various smiling fruits.
While many comments complained of frustration due to the lack of meat, the majority of comments received were in support of Meatless Monday. Many of these positive comments hoped to not only have the event more frequently than once per term, but to extend it to all areas of campus that serve food. At the present, Meatless Monday is reserved solely for the cafeteria and does not extend to the Oak Room or Grab n’ Go. Dining Services is hesitant with expanding to these locations in fear of having an large overflow of Students to the Gizmo. The club is grateful to have such a positive relationship with dining services and plans to bring these comments to Bon Appetit for possible changes in the future.
Whether the sentiment is one of protest or positivity, the students at Knox readily acknowledge Meatless Monday as a permanent fixture to the campus. Though only one day a term, the Knox community is taking one step to reducing its carbon impact and S4S is happy to support the education of the Knox community on this issue.