Campus Dining, HSGV partner for Meatless Mondays

GVL Photo Illustration / Kate Kaurich
On Mondays there will be many more options for meatless dishes on campus

GVL Photo Illustration / Kate Kaurich On Mondays there will be many more options for meatless dishes on campus

Molly Waite

Since bringing cage-free eggs to the campus dining locations, the Humane Society of Grand Valley State University has had a great deal of influence on Campus Dining policies. Now HSGV is bringing a new dining initiative to the table: Meatless Mondays.

Starting today, Fresh Food Company and Engrained in The Connection will feature meatless items every Monday.

“Our stations within Fresh Food Company and Engrained will continue to provide a variety of menu items, including meat,” said Deb Rambadt, marketing manager for Campus Dining. “Campus Dining’s goal is to provide options and build awareness. Guests can choose the items appropriate for their needs.”

When Junior Michelle Vader and sophomore Jordan Veenstra, HSGV members, approached Campus Dining in hope of beginning a Meatless Mondays program, which Rambadt said they had been considering for several months, Campus Dining began to implement the plans immediately.

“Because Campus Dining was already considering the program, it made sense to work together with the GVSU Humane Society,” Rambadt said. “Working with the GVSU Humane Society has been a positive experience.”

Reducing the amount of meat being served on campus has many benefits, Vader said. Less meat is good for the environment, good for individual health and is also intended to raise awareness of the cruel treatment of animals in the meat industry.

“The purpose of Meatless Mondays is to educate and allow options for more sustainable eating habits,” Vader said. “We are trying to stress that anyone and everyone can do this. Eliminating meat consumption just one day a week has huge impacts on the environment and personal health in the long term.”

Vader said that she came across this issue during the TEDxGrand Valley idea exchange event earlier this year and realized that Meatless Mondays would be a valuable program to increase the sustainability of GVSU’s campuses.

“This would be a great program for GVSU because of our huge spotlight on sustainability initiatives,” Vader said. “We’ve done everything from constructing LEED buildings to advancing our recycling program; however, we have been neglecting on-campus dining options. Not only would Meatless Mondays be beneficial for the students, staff and employers of GVSU, it would also put our university in a worthy position for other campuses to model. As an ever-changing sustainable community, I feel there are always things we can improve upon, and taking this one day a week into consideration is a big step in the right direction.”

Rambadt said she believes vegetarians and vegans will benefit from Meatless Mondays as well due to the easy identification of meatless options.

While some students are less pleased at the prospect of less meat being served on campus, Veenstra and Vader, neither of whom are vegetarians, emphasized that Meatless Mondays is about the benefits of eating less meat, not forcing students to eat vegetarian options.

“Everyone that I have talked to seems enthusiastic about the idea,” Vader said. “I do sense some unease with people. Some have the misconception that we are taking meat entirely off the menu on Mondays. They don’t realize that we are just trying to emphasize the sustainable options. My hope is that people will keep an open mind when testing out the new options and spread the word on this initiative.”

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