Malott Commons left meat off the menu Dec. 3, marking the return of fully vegetarian Meatless Mondays at the Scripps College dining hall.
The practice of serving no meat on Mondays is back for a trial period through the end of the semester, said international political economy professor Nancy Neiman Auerbach, who is a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability at Scripps. Neiman Auerbach said that she hopes students gain more appreciation for Meatless Mondays than last year, when it ran for a short period.
“It was done at the same time as several cost-cutting measures were put in place that had nothing to do with Meatless Mondays and were purely budgetary issues,” Neiman Auerbach said of the initial implementation of the program. “People perceived Meatless Mondays as a punishment.”
Two years ago, students in Neiman Auerbach’s class began working on a plan to implement Meatless Mondays. This year, students in her food politics practicum, including Sophie Hirsch PZ ’14, Selene Hsu SC ’15, Lia Metzger SC ’15 and Colleen Syms SC ’15, worked to promote Meatless Mondays with Malott Commons Director Tom Adkins and Sara Estevez SC ’13, Scripps Associated Students (SAS) Sustainability Chair and student representative for the President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability.
“It’s an educational program, and we’re at an educational institution,” Estevez said. “It’s not all about who’s making the most money; it’s also about educating your students about these issues and actually presenting important information that needs to be out there.”
Neiman Auerbach and Estevez said that their goals include making Meatless Mondays a larger program at the Claremont Colleges and informing students that it is a campaign already in place at other American colleges and universities.
“The next step is to get all of the dining hall leaders together to see if all of the colleges are willing to sign up to go Meatless Mondays,” Neiman Auerbach said. “It’s not a competition; it’s an environmental movement that all of the college communities are interested in.”
The group of students have been promoting Meatless Mondays at a table outside of Malott Commons and with a Facebook page.
“I think people didn’t understand what Meatless Mondays are about and didn’t get the movement behind it,” Estevez said. “It’s important for them to understand the value of it and how Meatless Mondays brings up conversations.”
The group of students promoting Meatless Mondays solicited ideas from anyone in the 5C community for a vegetarian recipe contest, the winners of which will have their recipes cooked and served on Meatless Monday, accompanied by a label with their names.
Estevez said that the results of a survey of about 300 people, including students from throughout the 5Cs as well as faculty and staff, were surprisingly positive.
“At Scripps there are a lot of students who are either vegan or vegetarian, but even a lot of meat-eaters reacted positively to Meatless Mondays,” she said. “People are starting to understand where we’re coming from and what we’re trying to do.”
“I think it’s great that we finally instituted something like this, because it gives the message that Scripps is trying to be sustainable,” Nikki Chang SC ’15 said. “There haven’t been any negative reactions that I’ve seen.”
Meatless Mondays’ performances in the next two weeks will determine the future of the program at Scripps, and possibly the other 5Cs, Neiman Auerbach said.
“We’re trying to get as many students as possible to come to Scripps in the coming Mondays to show support for Meatless Mondays,” she said. “This is an opportunity for Scripps to take the lead in trying to convince the other dining halls that this could be a good thing for the colleges as a whole.”