On Monday 5th of February 2024, the Student Council of the Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union voted overwhelmingly in support for the university transitioning to 100% plant-based catering on campus. This is the tenth announcement of its kind, following in the footsteps of universities including Cambridge, UCL, Warwick and Graz .
The 100% plant-based policy suggestion was submitted in November 2023 by students involved with the grassroots campaign group Plant-Based Universities, and received a record-breaking number of ‘up votes’ on the online forum before the Student Council vote.
The Student Council then voted decisively on Monday 5th of February in favour of the policy suggestion, with 15 voting officers in favour, one against, and two abstaining.
The vote means that the Students’ Union will now lobby for 100% plant-based catering on campus across Falmouth and Penryn, and that all Students’ Union events involving catering will be fully plant-based.
The win at Falmouth and Exeter is the first in 2024 for the Plant-Based Universities campaign, coming two months after the Student Council at the University of Graz announced support for their own transition to 100% plant-based catering .
Alice Tulissio, coordinator of the Plant-Based Universities campaign at Falmouth University, said:
We are delighted that the Students’ Union is in support of our campaign and that the majority of students who voted were in favour. This sends a clear message that young people are taking climate action into their own hands in response to the inaction of institutions, and are driving positive and necessary change!
This is a big step in the right direction and we are looking forward to working with the Students’ Union and catering services to make these exciting and crucial changes happen.
Alistair Stewart, spokesperson for Plant-Based Universities, said:
This win is a credit to the clear-sighted thinking and determination of the Plant-Based Universities campaign at Falmouth University, who are doing nothing more than holding their university to account on the research being produced by climate, agriculture and food scientists across the world.
This tremendous news comes just two days after the hugely successful national launch of the Plant-Based Universities campaign in the Netherlands. I’m excited to see what the next six months have in store for us!
This vote is evidence of a global shift towards plant-based food production and diets on environmental grounds. In a video released at COP28 in December 2023, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the UN World Health Organization, said that “shifting towards healthier, diversified, and more plant-based diets” was “essential” for global public health . Meanwhile a recent survey has suggested that the number of vegans in the UK rose by 78% during 2023, up to 2.5 million – representing 4.7% of the adult population .
A 2020 paper published in Science showed that emissions from the global food system alone would make it impossible to limit global heating to 1.5°C, and difficult even to limit it to 2°C – even if emissions from fossil fuels were eliminated immediately . Meanwhile, a 2021 paper published in Nature found that shifts in global food production to plant-based diets by 2050 could lead to the sequestration of carbon dioxide on a scale that was consistent with a 66% chance of limiting global heating to 1.5°C .
Plant-Based Universities, an Animal Rising campaign, is an international initiative of students who are pushing for their universities and student unions to adopt 100% plant-based catering . The group claims that universities have an obligation to follow the scientific research that they produce, detailing the environmental impacts of animal farming and fishing. The campaign is active in over 80 institutions, with the group encouraging interested students to sign up to run local campaigns.
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