University College London is the biggest university yet to sign up to the campaign. Its union, UCLU, has been phasing in MFM since the start of the year, with a view to taking meat off the menu permanently at the start of the week.
Posters and special offers have been tempting the 3,000-plus students who dine in UCLU’s four food outlets every day to choose a delicious meat free meal. Veggie options have increased by 26 per cent since the campaign started and are selling well.
Once the promotion phase is over, meat will be taken off the menu at the start of the week for a two-month trial period, after which it is expected that Meat Free Monday will be at UCLU to stay.
The student body gave the original proposal to sign up to MFM a resounding thumbs-up late last year, passing it with 81 per cent of the vote.
The motion was to put forward by Imogen Resnick and Yash Mishra of the UCLU Vegetarian Society, who wanted to raise awareness of the environmental impact of meat production and burnish the university’s claims to be a sustainability leader.
The pair consulted with other schools and universities in the UK and US – as well as the Meat Free Monday team – before tabling the motion.
“I am so proud of this campaign. We felt that Meat Free Mondays was an effective way of encouraging students to think about the impact of their consumption,” said Resnick.
“It’s such a simple lifestyle change that can do so much good for the environment. We cannot sit back and pretend that what we eat has no socio-environmental consequences. Food is political. Let’s embrace that so we can make better choices for the sake of our planet and the next generation of students.”
Martin McCollam, the food and beverage manager at UCLU, said MFM had been “received well”, thanks in great part to the hard work of the volunteers manning stalls dishing up free samples to win over new recruits to a greener way of eating.
Resnick and Mishra are hoping now to encourage the canteens at UCL halls of residence to follow suit, and are also keen to offer advice to other universities and students thinking of making a meat free commitment. London School of Economics is already said to be considering joining MFM.
Mishra said he was delighted his student union was taking such a firm stand to preserve the planet.
“We’re setting an example for the world to follow, through solid action,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what the coming months have in store for our campaign – we want the movement to become even stronger.”