Collaboration between Associated Students’ Environmental Affairs Committee and the University Corporation will yield CSUN’s first ever Meatless Monday, an all-day event taking place today in the PUB Sports Grill.
The event will offer students healthier food options and information about the biological and environmental effects of meat production, event officials said.
“If it makes people change their way of eating one day a week for a healthy reason then I think that’s great,” said Betsy Corrigan, associate director of campus dining.
Sheela Bhongir, 21, director for the A.S. Environmental Affairs Committee, said she learned about the nation-wide campaign during a Student Sustainability Convergence.
Bhongir said UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis are among the local schools who have already participated in the initiative.
“It’ll be a big change for CSUN,” Bhongir said.
Students will be able to choose from a newly modified, completely meat-free menu that still retains some of the Pub’s staple products, Corrigan said.
“We didn’t have to remove that much,” Corrigan said.
Some of the Pub’s options, like their wraps, already come with a vegetarian option.
The salmon burger, which was introduced for Lent, a Catholic holiday that precedes Easter and restricts meat consumption on Fridays, will return to the menu, a product, Corrigan said, that turned out to be “very popular.”
Options that may be unfamiliar to loyal Pub-goers will be their new Malibu and Black Bean burgers, both of which are made from brown rice and are vegan.
Corrigan said she understands the difficulty vegan students encounter when deciding where to eat on campus.
While not the sole reason for the event, Meatless Monday may make it easier for vegan and vegetarian students to choose their food.
“Monday is a perfect day to do this because we have the weekend to set-up,” Corrigan said. “Everything is clean and refreshed, there is no meat residue left over. There won’t be any question that we’re cooking meat in the same vat as your French fries.”
Bhongir, a senior urban studies and planning major, said she is a vegetarian and knows there are many other students who are also vegetarian.
“The event is not to promote being vegetarian but to promote the eating of a plant-based diet because it can reduce green house gases, use of fossil fuels and conserve water,” Bhongir said.
Corrigan said she agreed that a vegetarian diet is healthier.
A flier published by MeatlessMonday.com states that it takes about 634 gallons of fresh water, enough for a four-hour shower, to produce a 5.2 ounce hamburger.
The Pub will distribute information detailing how the production of meat affects the environment and the availability of natural resources.
Corrigan said the event comes at an appropriate time, right after Earth Week.
“It’s still on people’s radar,” Corrigan said.
“With this year being the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we wanted to push even harder,” Bhongir said.
This event will also give the University Corporation an opportunity to receive feedback from students and respond to their opinions.
“We’ll do whatever we can to change and do new things,” Corrigan said. “We listen and we’ll try it.”
A survey will be available at the Pub for students to critique the event and the new items.
Students eating at the Pub had different reactions.
Shoko Hosada, 20, and Yuki Imada, 20, both international students, said they eat at the Pub almost every day and the change in menu may affect their routine.
“I usually get items that include meat,” Hosada said.
Sebastian Waas, 21, a senior biology major, said he eats at the Pub about three times a week.
“It would probably affect my decision if I’m not in the mood,” he said.
Caroline Bonelli, 18, an international student, said her choice of food on campus changes day to day. She said the menu change may affect her decision.
The University Corporation will wait for A.S. to report the data from surveys before making any decision about the event’s permanency on campus.
“We’d like to continue doing it if it’s something people want,” Corrigan said. “We want to provide a service, not upset students.”