On 23/02/23, students at the University of Kent had over 450 students vote for a motion to transition to 100% plant-based catering , the highest voter turnout in Kent Union history.
After substantial deliberation from trustees, Kent’s student union officially passed the motion on 22/06/23, agreeing to lobby university-run catering facilities to transition to entirely plant-based menus by 2027-28 , affecting about 16 food outlets in total.
This follows successful student votes at Stirling, Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, Birmingham, and London Metropolitan calling for similar measures .
Chris Chudley, 22, from Plant-Based Universities Kent said:
"We are completely overwhelmed by the support we have received from students to pass this motion calling for plant-based catering at Kent. It is a relief to see our university acknowledging the student body in calling for this necessary transition towards a safe and secure food system.
Our campaign will maintain its presence and continue to lobby the university, and take nonviolent direct action where necessary, to ensure the student’s vote is honoured and that affordable, nutritious, and delicious plant-based menus are made available as soon as possible.”
Kent’s Student Union President, Zaid Mahmood, said:
“After consideration from the Board of Trustees, we have passed an amended policy which highlights Kent Union's support for the transition towards 100% plant based catering and our commitment to work with this group of students going forward … This is an extremely important step in combating the climate crisis which continues to get worse day by day due to inaction. We must tackle the climate crisis together.”
The latest IPCC report has highlighted the need for efficient use of land to tackle the climate and ecological crisis . This would prevent deforestation and allow rewilding to occur, drawing down vast amounts of carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere. According to a 2019 Harvard study, animal farming is the single biggest land user in the UK. The same study stated that better use of this land could make the UK carbon-negative .
The Plant-Based Universities campaign is a nationwide 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 40 institutions, with the group encouraging interested students to sign up to run local campaigns.
The Plant-Based Universities campaign is supported by the well-known animal and climate justice group Animal Rising.
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All photos in this release, our social media, or website can be freely used with credit to Plant-Based Universities
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Notes To Editors:
A policy motion is submitted to Kent Union ChangeIt platform. Students then have 21 days to vote. It is an upvote and downvote system where the downvotes subtract from the upvotes to give a combined figure.
50 student votes mean the policy motion is discussed in Kent Union parliament (where elected students or students of different committees can vote on it).
400 student votes mean that the policy motion is instantly implemented subject to the board of trustees.