After testing out the initiative this past fall semester, Pomona College Dining Services has ended Mindful Mondays. The initiative, which has recently been a large topic of debate among students at the 5Cs, aimed to serve less meat on Mondays in Frank Dining Hall and Frary Dining Hall.
General Manager of Dining Services Jose Martinez announced the change to the student body in an email on March 3.
He also clarified that, despite what many students believed, Frank and Frary have never had entirely meatless menus on Mondays.
“We tried out for a semester serving less meat on Mondays, so it was Mindful Mondays,” Martinez said to TSL via email. “It was never meatless, but we had minimal animal proteins in different stations.”
Martinez described that there was always meat available in the Grab and Go coolers and at the deli station. He added that halal chicken and beef was made available upon request.
However, many students felt that they still did not have enough access to meat options.
Madison Lewis PO ’23, who sparked controversy with a recent TSL op-ed, outlined her concerns with Mindful Mondays, or what many students called “Meatless Mondays.”
“I certainly understand and respect the idea behind Meatless Mondays, but I think that there is a better way to execute it and achieve those goals that don’t incorporate just eliminating the food group for a meal,” Lewis said. “I don’t think that dining halls should ever be assigning moral value to any sort of food or encouraging one diet over another.”
Lewis, who is a senior on the Pomona-Pitzer women’s water polo team, was not the only student-athlete to raise their concerns with the dining hall staff.
“We did get a lot of responses from athletics, from different students, regarding that being an issue for them, because they expect and would like to have lamb, chicken, beef,” Martinez said.
In their bi-weekly meeting with the ASPC food committee last semester, dining services listened to student feedback and changed Mindful Mondays as a result.
“Before we even ended last semester, we met with the food committee … and what we agreed on was having a mindful station instead of the whole Monday,” said Martinez.
Although some students offered negative feedback, Martinez emphasized it was Pomona students, serving on the President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (PACS), that originally pushed for the initiative.
“This effort came from the ASPC Sustainability Office, the PACS committee, in efforts to reach carbon neutrality by 2030,” said Martinez.
Emma Sar SC ’23, a vegetarian and environmental analysis major, offered a proposal for a daily meatless station in the dining halls as a way of addressing dietary and sustainability concerns.
For Sar, the other 5C plant-based stations, such as Veggie Valley at Harvey Mudd College, Plant Forward at Claremont McKenna College and Herbivore at Pitzer College and Scripps College, provide easier access to vegetarian and vegan options.
“I was excited last year when Scripps started the plant-based station … [because] there are people who are vegetarian or vegan every day of the week,” Sar said.