At the Student’s Union meeting on 31/05/23, a motion urging the transition to 100% plant-based catering at UCL was passed . It calls for 60% plant-based catering by the 2024-25 academic year with a 10% annual increase until 100%. This will affect 9 outlets on the campus.
The vote comes after Plant-based Universities campaigners at the Universities of Cambridge, Stirling, Birmingham, Queen Mary University of London, London Metropolitan, and Kent also voted for similar measures in recent months .
Aliza Ayaz, UN Goodwill Ambassador and University College London (UCL) Alumnus, has expressed her complete support of the shift.
In another landmark victory for the national Plant-Based Universities campaign, students at UCL have chosen to embrace just and sustainable plant-based catering in their Students Union and to lobby for all university facilities to follow suit. 75% voted 'yes' in the general vote, and 86% voted 'yes' in the union's executive meeting.
UCL is the third university in London to take such measures in the last 2 months in response to the need for urgent climate action. It is the seventh UK university to take such measures since November 2022.
Aliza Ayaz, UN Goodwill Ambassador and UCL Alumnus, said:
“University College London’s vote to step firmly towards 100% safe and sustainable plant-based menus is a win for climate, animals, and us all. Universities are pillars of progress and change and this decision shows that my alma mater is boldly acting to safeguard its students futures and create a better world.
Today, overwhelming research shows us the harms of animal farming and fishing and how transitioning to a plant-based food system provides an, almost, unparalleled chance at mitigating climate breakdown, species extinction, and biodiversity loss. It’s moves like this that make me proud to be an alumnus of University College London and founder of its climate action society.”
The group points to comprehensive research from the University of Oxford suggesting that 76% of currently-used global farmland could be freed up for rewilding to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere if we were to adopt a plant-based food system . They also cite a report from Harvard University stating the UK could be carbon-negative with a plant-based food system, even with no other changes .
Alfie James Hall, 21, medical student and Plant-Based Universities UCL campaigner said:
“It is now clear that young people, students like us, are stepping up and taking bold and decisive action on climate. This vote is yet another display of a turning tide in the conversation on the need for a plant-based food system. I hope this sends a clear message of inspiration and hope to anyone struggling for climate, animal, and social justice.
We will work with our catering department and student union officers to implement this change in a way that showcases affordable, nutritious, and delicious plant-based options for students at our university.”
The Plant-Based Universities 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 damaging environmental impacts of animal farming and fishing.
The campaign is active in over 40 UK-based and international institutions, with the group encouraging interested students to sign up to run local campaigns at their universities.
The Plant-Based Universities campaign is supported by the well-known climate and animal justice group Animal Rising.
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Notes To Editors:
Queen Mary University of London: https://www.plantbaseduniversities.org/post/queen-mary-university-of-london-students-union-votes-for-plant-based-catering