This week the Students’ Union at The University of Graz, Austria, announced its support for the university to transition to 100% plant-based menus. This marks the ninth decision of its kind, and the first outside the UK, following in the footsteps of universities including Cambridge, Birmingham, and Warwick .
Plant-Based Universities campaigners at the university had gathered over 1000 signatures on a petition calling for the university to transition to 100% just and sustainable plant-based catering.
Plant-Based Universities campaigners in Graz have said they are “delighted” with the support of the Students’ Union and aim to work with the university to create climate-saving plant-based menus.
In the first victory for the Plant-Based Universities campaign in Europe, students at the University of Graz have publicly supported their university in making the switch to plant-based menus. This comes just weeks after students at the University of Warwick voted for their Students’ Union catering to be 100% plant-based in the next four years .
Laura Wenzel, Plant-Based Universities Graz Campaigner said:
Seeing the support of our Students’ Union is incredible. Young people see the need to make changes to our food system, and universities need to step up and do the right thing for them. We know that a plant-based food system is necessary to tackle the climate and ecological crisis - whilst also preventing the deaths of billions of animals worldwide.
We will continue to work with our university to make these changes and make sure the voices of Graz’s students are heard. The future is exciting, and we hope to announce changes here in Graz and across Europe soon.
This change is part of a much broader move towards a plant-based food system. The University of Vienna recently opened a 70% plant-based canteen, whilst recently Denmark and South Korea both announced so-called plant-based roadmaps as part of national food strategies  .
Professor Ilona Otto, Vice-Director of the Wegener Centre for Climate and Global Change said:
The Plant-Based Universities campaign has my full support. The evidence is clear: we need a structural shift to a plant-based food system.
In 2018, comprehensive research from the University of Oxford showed that 76% of the land currently used for food production would be freed-up by a global transition to plant-based production . This land could be rewilded and begin carbon drawdown, mitigating the worst impacts of climate breakdown. The Plant-Based Universities campaign claims that universities have a responsibility to the future of their students to transition to 100% just and sustainable plant-based catering.
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 75 institutions, with the group encouraging interested students to sign up to run local campaigns.
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