The University of Kent student union has voted in favor of transitioning its campus to 100 percent plant-based catering.
In what’s thought to be a record breaking voting turnout, 450 students supported the Plant-Based Universities notion to remove animal products from university-run catering facilities. Kent’s student union officially passed the motion on June 22. It will now lobby the catering services to make the transition to a fully plant-based menu by the year 2027-2028.
“It is amazing to see universities taking concrete steps towards halting climate change and safeguarding our future,” Chris Chudley, Plant Based Universities campaigner at The University of Kent, told Plant Based News. “Based on climate science, professional medical advice, and economic trends, it is clear to see that a plant-based food system is not only necessary, but accessible to all.”
Nathan McGovern, co-founder of the Plant Based Universities Campaign, added: “It’s incredible to see hundreds of students at The University of Kent join the landslide of young people taking action to tackle the climate emergency and move towards 100 percent plant-based universities. We’ll continue to support our campaigners at the university to realise truly sustainable menus whilst striving to work as closely with local producers as possible.”
Universities move away from meat
This is just the latest in an ever-growing list of UK universities to have made similar moves. In November 2022, the University of Stirling’s student union voted to only serve plant-based food from 2025. Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, Birmingham, and London Metropolitan have all recently called for similar measures.
Plant-Based Universities was set up in response to the catastrophic impact animal agriculture has on the planet. Livestock farming is responsible for at least 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Some experts believe this figure has been underestimated, however. The industry is also driving deforestation, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
Kent’s Student Union President, Zaid Mahmood, described the decision to move away from animal products as “an extremely important step in combating the climate crisis.” They added that we “must tackle” the crisis together.
Gen Z embrace veganism
Younger people are increasingly opting to move away from animal products. “Generation Z” (those born between 1997 and 2012), in particular, have voiced their support for plant-based eating.
In October 2022, a survey from Oatly found that 81 percent of the demographic were keen to ditch dairy while cooking. An increasing number are also moving away from dairy, with almost half voicing shame around ordering it last year.