Pledge to Protect Your Mascot
Wild animals like wolves, foxes, bison, frogs, turtles and cougars are drastically harmed by the meat industry and our ravenous appetites for meat - of that there is no doubt.
Colleges and universities across the nation purchase nearly $5 billion worth of food every year. That means they not only determine what’s available for students, faculty and staff to eat, but they have the power to influence our food system. Many campuses have stepped up to provide more organic, locally produced food. More recently, the popularity of meat-free dining is growing, especially with college students. That’s certainly a positive trend, because the amount of meat and dairy served in dining halls could be putting college mascots - the endangered and threatened wild species they represent - at risk.
Sustainability and School Spirit
From wolves to wildcats and bears to beavers, wildlife mascots reflect the unique, wild spirit of each school. Whether fierce or intrepid — or even a stalwart tree — the inspiring wildlife represented by your mascot may be facing its biggest rival yet: extinction.
Wildlife species are disappearing at 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural rate, and one of the biggest threats to their survival may be in your cafeteria. Meat production is a leading cause of climate change, habitat loss, pollution, and biodiversity loss — and Americans eat more meat per capita than almost anyone else. Without reducing meat consumption and providing sustainable, plant-based dietary choices, wildlife are facing a losing game.
Students, administrators and food-service providers are working together to protect their mascots by improving food service and purchasing policies and raising awareness about the connection between what we eat and the wildlife we love.
Rewild Your Dining Hall
Up against the meat industry, wildlife are getting hit from every direction: Livestock grazing and feed crops are a top threat to habitat; hundreds of millions of tons of livestock manure pollute rivers, lakes and wetlands; methane emissions are a major contributor to climate change; and millions of wild animals are killed every year at the behest of the livestock industry. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, the toll the meat industry takes on wildlife is catastrophic and growing.
Millions of college students eat at campus dining halls every day. By prioritizing plant-based meals — along with local, organic ingredients — you can “rewild” your campus and make an immediate impact on the future of mascots and the planet.
Saving Money and Meeting Student Demands
It’s not just wildlife paying the price for meat production: Meat is also financially costly, wasteful, and associated with increased risks of diet-related disease, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
To be truly sustainable, our food system must protect our health, the health of the planet and the dignity and rights of workers.
Students want meals that reflect their values. Studies show that, more than ever, college students care about their food — where it comes from, how it’s produced and how it affects the planet. More than 60 percent eat some form of meat alternatives in their diet and turn to sustainably, humanely and fairly produced, plant-strong meals.
Participating campuses may also draw increased media attention, top prospective students and higher ratings in reviews of top sustainable colleges and universities. For example, according to the Princeton Review of the top “green colleges,” food expenditures for environmentally preferable food are one of the top measurements of what makes a campus sustainable. By providing eco-friendly food, campuses can attract and retain an exceptional student body.
It’s easy for campus dining halls to meet student demand by replacing 20 percent or more of their meat purchases with plant-based options, creating meat-free stations and providing information on how their mascot-friendly menus are helping reduce waste, fight climate change and protect wildlife.
Pledge to Protect Your Mascot
Score a victory for your mascot by pledging to adopt food service and purchasing policies that include less meat, more local, organic and plant-based food, and fair treatment for workers.
- Reducing annual meat and dairy purchasing by 20 percent.
- Increasing the availability of meat-free options and plant-based meals across campus.
- Sourcing local, organic food that is produced humanely, fairly, treats workers with dignity, and avoids the routine use of antibiotics whenever possible.