Lewis & Clark’s Animal Collective has been circulating a petition via Change.org asking Bon Appétit to have Meatless Mondays in the dining halls on campus.
The petition asks LC’s dining services, catered and managed by Bon Appétit, to join the 158 other schools globally that do not serve meat on Mondays, such as Emory University, Johns Hopkins University and Mills College. All of these schools are similarly catered by Bon Appétit, however Emory and Johns Hopkins have alternative dining options available on campus.
In the first day, the petition grossed over 300 signatures via shares on social media, emails and word of mouth, and has reached almost 500 signatures thus far. Petitions on Change.org are accessible to anyone to sign and share, so it is unclear how many of the signatures come from LC students with meal plans.
Although Animal Collective predominantly focuses on the ethical treatment of animals, Co-president of Animal Collective Julia Monkarsh ’21 explained that this petition aims to reduce LC’s carbon footprint.
“The Bon (Fields Dining Hall) has a commitment to sustainability, and we would love to meet with (management) to talk more about that,” Monkarsh said. “We know they’ve made some steps in recent years towards sustainability, but Meatless Mondays would be by far the biggest step.”
In Spring 2008, The Bon held its first Low Carbon Diet Day. They removed all of the milk and ice cream from Maggie’sCafe and The Dovecote. They did not offer hamburgers in the Trail Room, and they had no cheese anywhere. They did not serve coffee or bananas that day either due to the amount of fuel used to transport them.
“We removed all that stuff because that was the first year, we wanted to hit hard,we wanted to make an impact,” General Manager of Bon Appétit at LC Ryan Jensen said. “We wanted people to see this is a huge problem and how much of your day to day stuff that you eat contributes to climate change.”
“We were not popular people that day. Students did not take it as a wake up call, they took it as insulting that we would decide for them what they could and should eat.”
Based on the feedback from that event and feedback from other schools which held similar initiatives, Bon Appétit decided that instead of removing these options, they needed to improve messaging.
“And now, what will be 12 years later, with the increased use of social media, it’s going to be a lot easier to spread that message,” Jensen said. “And ultimately, if we can work with Animal Collective and any of the stakeholders on campus who might have an interest in helping to push this message, we can help our campus community make better, more long- lasting choices.”
Disabled Student Union Co-president Kadyn Frawley ’21 expressed her concern that Meatless Mondays might limit the allergy-free options available to students with complex and severe allergies. While she supports Meatless Mondays, she is advocating for meat to remain available in the reduced-allergen zone since most meat alternatives such as soy, corn, nuts and wheat, contain allergens.
“Eliminating all access to meat products for even one meal could cause someone to go hungry,” Frawley said.
While the Animal Collective agrees that meat should be available to students who have complex allergies, they are trying to spread the message that not eating meat for one day should not be such a big deal for those who have a choice.
“Being able to eat meat at every meal should be seen as a first world privilege,”Monkarsh said. “We’re looking to change the idea that meat needs to be an essential part of every meal, because that is simply untrue of the majority of people who live on earth.”
Janie Overland ’23, a member of Animal Collective, elaborated on Monkarsh’s point.
“Not eating meat or eating less meat is a solution to so many problems in the world today,” Overland said. “But waking up in the morning and having bacon is so ingrained in American culture that it’s so hard to make that change. Many people don’t want to change.”