Another seat of higher education has taken the enlightened step of going meat free. The University of East Anglia, home of the world-famous Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, has joined Meat Free Monday.
Today will be the university’s second Monday as part of the campaign, when students will yet again be able to tuck into a variety of delicious environmentally friendly food at food outlets across the campus. The Unio Pizza pizzeria, for example, which serves the student union’s Blue Bar and Red Bar, now offers extra veggie and vegan options at discounted prices. Meat free dishes courtesy of local curry house Namaste, based in nearby Norwich, are available in The Hive, a communal space in the main student union building, Union House. And there is an open invite to societies from different cultural backgrounds to sell their own MFM foods on campus.
The proposal to join MFM was put forward by the student union’s ethical issues officer, Rob Klim, and passed by the SU council by a resounding 40 votes to 4. “The MFM motion was passed with the intention of having a positive impact by cutting down on the amount of meat consumed by students on campus,” says Klim. “Through having delicious meat free alternatives for one day of the week, UEA students can still get all the protein and vitamins they need, while taking themselves out of the environmentally and ethically degrading system of animal husbandry and fishing which kills 20,000 land animals and 40,000 sea-dwellers every second.”
Last week a raft of new MFM products hits the menu, including a Vegan Cheeseburger and a Vegetarian “Meat Feast Pizza”, with more arriving today, to join current veggie favourites such as Falafel Wraps and Jalapeno and Cheesy Nachos – on which a 10 per cent discount was already available, designed to encourage more students to take the plunge into meat free eating. While those who do want meat options are still able to get them on a Monday, Klim says this is part of a “gradual evolution” approach – meaning students get to find out how easy and tasty it can be to do without meat, and go from there. The UEA student union believes in giving students the opportunity to cut their carbon footprint, something for which MFM is tailor-made, and in encouraging other student unions to join the campaign. Plenty are already in the fold. University College London joined in 2015, as did Regent’s Park College, Oxford, following in the footsteps of other colleges in the City of Dreaming Spires, including Wadham, Queen’s and Lincoln.
MFM will be trialled for a month, to give its organisers a chance to gather information about its success, with a view to taking further steps along the road to a greener planet and a healthier population. It will be advertised on social media and online via a blog, and the university itself will be encouraged to throw its weight behind the campaign.
UAE students will also be grateful for another integral part of the MFM move: the student union is producing a recipe book for them, so they can create their own delicious, nutritious and – most importantly, for perennially under-funded undergraduates – cheap meat-free dishes in the comfort of their flat-shares.