Student looks to raise environmental awareness through Meatless Mondays

May 9, 2016

Halle Thornton
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Senior geography and environmental studies major Megan Hedley has been a vegetarian for eight years and hopes that UCCS will continue what she started.

Hedley’s goal is to bring awareness to environmental issues caused by eating meat with Meatless Mondays, a world-wide campaign that started in 2003 to encourage people to go vegetarian for at least one day a week.

“Meatless Mondays is a widespread thing, but I wanted to focus on bringing it specifically to UCCS,” said Hedley.

Hedley said she hopes Meatless Mondays educates students about healthy eating habits and the environmental dangers that eating meat causes.

“Not eating meat for one day can save enough water to wash your car 15 times,” said Hedley.

UCCS has options when it comes to going vegetarian, and Hedley wants students to know those options and to be aware of how they can change their diet to help the planet.

Students are not aware of the excessive carbon emissions that processing and eating meat causes, she said.

Hedley said she hopes that talking to students about the harmful aspects to animals and the environment will change the way students choose to diet.

“When you introduce an environmental aspect to it, students are more prone to listen,” Hedley said.

Volunteer coordinator for the Office of Sustainability Maryah Lauer said that Hedly was inspired by the movie “Cowspiracy” and wanted to do more to promote vegetarian and vegan meals at UCCS.

“Megan began tabling outside Café 65 and primarily focused on educating UCCS students about the environmental impacts caused by meat production,” said Lauer.

Hedley said she is passionate about being a vegetarian but understands that going completely vegetarian on campus would never happen because students might not be in favor of the change. Devoting one day a week to no meat can be more reasonable, she said.

Hedley will work in Rocky Mountain National Park as a conservationist and a specialist in endangered species and climate change after graduation, but she hopes that UCCS will continue promoting Meatless Mondays.

Hedley said that she hopes a summer intern will work with the Office of Sustainability to continue what she has yet to finish when it comes to Meatless Mondays.

“I will always promote it one way or another.”

She worked with the Office of Sustainability in February, and has participated in events on campus such as Sustainnovation, the Earth Day Celebration and tabled at the Health Fair to promote Meatless Mondays.

Hedley said she speaks to members of her sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, to encourage them to try going vegetarian for at least one day a week.

Hedley said she also contacted Student Recruitment to help promote Meatless Mondays to incoming students.

“Eventually we would like to see more vegetarian and vegan meals offered at the different dining locations around campus, but I think Megan’s Meatless Mondays campaign was a good start,” said Lauer.