Students Devour Meatless Mondays

By Tess Cimino

At the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester, the Marist College Dining Hall added five new vegetarian and vegan initiatives. From Meatless Mondays to vegan smoothies served on “Thirsty Thursdays” the options are tasty and environmentally-friendly.

“There were many requests for a greater vegetarian and vegan presence on our menus, and when students talk, we listen,” said Celeste Gigliotti, Sodexo’s marketing intern.

Sodexo’s addition of Meatless Mondays, vegan smoothie Thursdays, and an avocado toast bar on Friday mornings are just a few of the ways the Dining Hall is getting students interested in eating more veggies. They have even started serving cauliflower wings- a twist on traditional chicken wings with fried cauliflower dipped in buffalo sauce- in North End dining.

“Our production manager follows the consumption of meat,” said Gigliotti. “So far, we haven’t yet seen a significant decrease in overall meat consumption, but we can see this transitioning in the future.”

A vegetarian diet means that someone doesn’t eat meat for moral, religious, or health reasons. Whereas, someone who is a vegan doesn’t use or consume any type of animal product. So, a vegan can’t eat cheese or eggs, whereas most vegetarians do.

“I eat vegan because I believe every life is valuable and I can easily survive without killing animals and the environment,” Sara Craft, a dedicated vegan said. “Growing up with animals I realized that their life is just as valuable as mine and I shouldn’t make another species suffer.”

Livestock generates between 14.5 percent and 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gases, according to a New York Times article. This reason, along with many other ethical and economical ones, has converted over 16 million Americans to go vegan or vegetarian.

“It’s beneficial to the environment to cut back your meat consumption,” Gigliotti said. “The economic benefits lead to when people support local or organic food providers, by frequenting local farmers’ markets or shopping organically.”

The student feedback from the Fall 2018 Dining Satisfaction Survey reflected that trend. There was an immense level of concern and passion for having more vegetarian and vegan entrees served.

“I love trying all the vegan food options because most of them are new to me. I especially love Meatless Monday,” said Candice Rivera, student supervisor at the Dining Hall. “It is important that people know their options and are able to eat the foods that their diet contains.”