Queen Mary Students’ Union to adopt fully plant-based catering

The SU’s menus will be 100 per cent plant-based by the 2028-29 academic year

The Students’ Union at Queen Mary, University of London voted and passed a motion to go entirely plant-based in its catering.

It’ll first see the SU’s menus become 60 per cent plant-based in the upcoming academic year before increasing gradually towards 100 per cent by 2028-29.

The motion was proposed by students of the Plant-Based Universities (PBU) campaign, a UK-wide initiative involving students at over 40 universities pushing for plant-based catering at their unis and SUs.

Image given by and used with permission from Plant-Based Universities

Plant-Based Universities was started in part by students at UCL and KCL before expanding across the country.

They call for eliminating animal products in food offered by unis and SUs for the protection of the environment and animals, describing themselves as “a campaign against university complicity in the climate crisis.”

Vaania Kapoor Achuthan, a UCL student who co-founded PBU, said: “Universities are sites of knowledge, and they (themselves) advance our scientific understanding of the harmful environmental impact of meat, fish and dairy industries. They, therefore, have a responsibility to listen to that science and take necessary action. 

“Universities claim to be preparing us for the future, whilst also threatening it by selling environmentally-harmful animal products. More plant-based options will not alleviate universities’ direct involvement in the climate crisis. We will continue campaigning until our universities display actual progress towards 100 per cent just and sustainable plant-based catering.”

PBU demonstration at UCL last year

Following successes at the University of Stirling and the University of Cambridge, PBU saw its motion adopted by Queen Mary’s SU on 7th March.

The justification given on the Queen Mary motion read: “We are dedicated to building a sustainable food system on campus to address the climate and nature emergency. As students of QMUL, we share the same values of dedication to environmental and social sustainability. 

“It is there in the university’s Environmental Sustainability Action Plan and in our commitment to improving access to fair food during this cost of living crisis. This change is realistically achievable in the short term, as seen by the University of Stirling. Given the urgency of the climate emergency, we should begin to implement these changes now rather than delaying them.”

Keenal Shah, a Queen Mary student active in PBU, said after the motion passed: “The definitive action taken by the student’s council shows that the younger generation is prepared to tackle the climate crisis head-on with proportionate and visionary changes. We are no longer relying on the broken promises of governments and companies, but are taking on the responsibility to create a better world.

“We are looking forwards to working with our Student’s Union to implement these changes and provide incredible and affordable plant-based options for all students here at Queen Mary.”

Feature image credit: Plant-Based Universities

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