In this week’s edition of the Collegian, we covered how Student Council unanimously voted against implementing “Meatless Mondays” in Peirce. We at the Collegian disagree with this decision.
Most of the arguments cited for not instituting “Meatless Mondays” revolve around the fact that Kenyon has only a single dining hall. However, the point of “Meatless Mondays,” which have been implemented at over 100 colleges and universities, is not to force meat eaters to another dining hall, but to encourage students to find ways to sustain themselves on non-meat options.
For starters, we already deal with added restrictions in a single dining hall. The College and AVI accommodate different religious groups through the colloquially known ‘fish Fridays’ and the kosher options that the College serves during Passover. While these restrictions do not apply to the entire dining hall, they demonstrate that AVI and Kenyon are capable altering options in a way that is thoughtful and will accommodate the widest possible array of students.
That said, there are serious concerns with the program that do need to be thought through. Students whose palates or allergies limit their protein options should still be accommodated. And Peirce is capable of such accommodation: Many students require meal options beyond those offered in the dining hall’s various serving stations, and AVI works to meet their needs.
But for those students who can forego meat, “Meatless Mondays” welcomes and encourages them to do so. Red meat is harmful for our planet; according to Time, livestock produce more than 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and this number might only get bigger. Widespread adoption of a vegan or vegetarian diet could cut emissions. If the Comfort station served options other than red meat, which is demonstrably harmful for the environment, then many students who can forego red meat for a day probably will. This is an unequivocally good thing.
As the climate crisis becomes more pressing, individuals will have to make changes to their own diets. “Meatless Mondays” would be an extremely beneficial exercise in how one can sustain themselves on a meatless diet. In addition, with increasingly available meat-based substitutes, such as the “Impossible Burger,” options exist for those who want to ditch meat while replicating the experience of meat.
We at the Collegian implore the College to reconsider the idea of “Meatless Mondays.” We believe that there are thoughtful ways to implement it that would allow those who rely on meat for protein to get it. Those who can go without it can be challenged to consider the environmental effects of large-scale meat consumption. We believe that if you have the ability to go without meat, not only can you be challenged, but you should be challenged.
Kenyon can do without meat on Mondays. It is, after all, one day a week.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Becca Foley ’20 and Adam Schwager ’20, and executive director Tommy Johnson ’20. You can contact them at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.