By Nikki Broderick ‘14Staff Writer
You may have seen the tables outside Malott Commons: students, led by Emily Jovais (’13) and her classmates, are petitioning for Meatless Monday. Jovais is leading a campaign to reduce consumption of meat by getting it to be served in the dining halls only six days of the week. Cutting out meat for one day in order to have higher quality, more sustainably produced meat and animal products overall was part of a discussion which began in a Scripps classroom.
After reading numerous articles for Professor Auerbach’s Political Economy of Food class, Jovais said, “I was confronted by the plethora of social, environmental and political impacts of the factory farming system.” Jovais then worked with another of her classes—Core II: Roar of the Lion—to create a petition and gauge Scripps students’ interest in effecting the change of getting higher-quality meat products by reducing the quantity.
Meatless Monday is not unique to Scripps College. The campaign to reduce meat consumption began during World War I, with President Hoover calling for “Meatless Monday” and “Wheatless Wednesday” to conserve food staples for the war effort. The movement made a return during World War II, when Presidents Roosevelt and Truman both used the campaign to help feed a Europe devastated and torn apart by war. In 2003, over 20 schools of Public Health, including the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School, revived the movement in order to reduce the saturated fat in students’ diets.
Today, over 50 universities participate in the Meatless Monday campaign. In addition to reducing meat consumption for individual health benefits, the Meatless Monday movement seeks to have a positive environmental impact. The meat industry generates an estimated one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The Meatless Monday campaign combats two of our nation’s greatest problems: obesity and unsustainability.
Jovais met with the Sustainability Committee and two representatives from Sodexo in order to discuss the possibility of a Meatless Monday. In order to offer more sustainable meat in the dining hall and stay within budget, taking meat off of the menu would be necessary one day a week. Sodexo would be willing to accommodate a Meatless Monday menu if there is demonstrated student support for such an idea. Jovais and fellow students from her Political Economy of Food and Core II class created a petition and urged students to sign for their cause.
It seems like the Scripps student body and the other 4Cs are behind the idea: the petition for Meatless Monday garnered over 400 signatures within one week. Armed with its petition responses, Jovais’s group will meet with Sodexo and the dining hall to discuss the option of beginning the program in the fall. Implementing Meatless Monday may mean only cutting meat out of dinner, or eliminating meat from both lunch and dinner.
There may be disagreement over how to implement it, or whether Meatless Monday is a good plan at all; the movement certainly sparks discussion. Jovais said that there are plans for a Motley-based outlet for a discussion of Meatless Monday in the near future. “This coalition is open to student feedback,” Jovais said. “We do not want impose this change on the students without their input.”
To learn more, please visit http://www.meatlessmonday.com