Meatless Mondays at GVSU: Starting the school year right

Alexis Croswell

What national movement is getting almost as much media coverage as Lady Gaga’s drag performance? Bill Clinton’s doing it daily, Oprah Winfrey is encouraging her staff to do it and hip-hop icon Russell Simmons is telling his fans to do it. The “it” in this case is reducing the amount of meat in your diet.

At GVSU, we too have the opportunity to take part by participating in Meatless Monday, an international campaign that dozens of colleges and universities around the world are signing onto to improve student health, reduce our carbon footprint and improve animal welfare.

Meatless eating is gaining widespread popularity, with about 20 percent of college students saying they’re limiting their meat consumption. GVSU signed up to take part in Meatless Monday last year. Even though Campus Dining offers meatless options daily, it offers even more on Mondays.

By now, most of us know that the majority of the meat, milk and eggs produced in the U.S. come from animals packed in factory farms where they are unable to engage in basic natural behaviors. Unable to even turn around in some cases for months on end, these animals’ lives bear no resemblance to the way most of us envision life on Old MacDonald’s farm. By choosing meatless options even just one day a week, we can all help prevent an enormous amount of animal suffering.

Pledging to go meat-free on Mondays can help stave off the dreaded Freshman 15, too: A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts, along with regular exercise, is consistently linked to lower rates of obesity, along with lower blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

If it’s the health of the planet you’re concerned about, reducing your meat consumption is a good way to lighten your carbon footprint. The Environmental Defense Fund put it simply: “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains … the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”

Participating in Meatless Monday can make a big impact on the lives of animals — and the environment, and our health. Our school is doing its part – let’s support that effort. You can get easy recipes and tips on meat-free eating at