In November 2019, Student Council considered, and rejected, a proposal to implement “Meatless Mondays” in Peirce Dining Hall, where the dining hall’s Monday fare would have been exclusively vegetarian. Now, food service provider AVI is implementing a less restrictive version of the program: For the first time this Saturday, Peirce will feature two vegetarian options rather than one. The ‘International’ section will offer a vegetarian Mongolian stir fry while the ‘Vegetarian’ section will continue to offer a variety of meatless dishes. Other servery stations, such as ‘Comfort’ and ‘Fusion,’ will remain unchanged.
Student Council’s Housing and Dining Chair Jake Barnett ’20 claims that the altered menu is not directly in response to the original request for “Meatless Mondays.” While Barnett did not support the original proposal, he agreed with some of the ideas behind it and likes the idea of incorporating more meat alternatives into Peirce’s menu. The Mongolian stir fry will showcase a variety of non-meat protein sources that students otherwise might never try. However, Barnett still thinks it is important that meat be made available for students who want it.
“Meatless Mondays is something some students will like, but the vast majority of students would prefer if there was meat,” Barnett said. “If you decide your goal is to cut down meat consumption at Peirce, I think the way it should be done is because people prefer vegetarian options. I don’t think you should ever take options away from students.”
Chris Wisbey, resident director of AVI, estimates that 10 to 15 percent of Peirce visitors are vegetarian or vegan. He wants to accommodate them while also satisfying the rest of the student body. At a recent Housing and Dining Committee meeting, he pitched the Mongolian stir fry bar as a possible solution.
“The idea was to introduce different non-meat proteins that maybe some students don’t normally eat or would care to try,” Wisbey said. “So I came up with the idea of doing the Mongolian [bar]: Why don’t we do a kicked-up vegetarian Mongolian and offer some non-meat proteins? But [we would] still have meat available, perhaps at the salad bar, if students want some chicken on their Mongolian.”
Wisbey feels that Saturday, with its shortened mealtimes and lower overall attendance, is a good time to test the program. “The idea is we’re doing it on a day when we have less people in, so we’re not affecting a large majority of the population,” he said.
The program will have its first trial this Saturday, and though it is expected to return for future weeks, Wisbey says that this will depend on student response.
“At the end of the day, we want to do what the students want,” he said. “So if the students get behind it, we’ll try it.”