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The Veggie Revolution?

Sustainable catering at Radboud University

In its long-term strategy ‘A Significant Impact’, Radboud University assigns sustainability a prominent role. One of the objectives is that all students will come into contact with sustainability issues within their own discipline. To make students realize and internalize the importance of sustainability, however, it is pivotal that the message is accompanied by acts. Sustainability should not only be preached, but practiced at the campus.

One option is a full shift to vegan catering at Radboud University. Food consumption is after all practiced on a daily basis and one of the most visible practices where students themselves have an impact on the whole gamut of sustainability issues. Animal husbandry is a main contributor to climate change and the loss of global biological diversity, and raises questions of international justice given the large claims of animal husbandry on scarce global farmland. Moreover, our treatment of animals as mere means to our ends is morally problematic in itself.

The aim of this think tank is to investigate the feasibility and desirability of such a full shift to vegan catering. Many questions have to be answered, covering many disciplines, such as:

  • What is the impact of a shift to vegan catering on the UN sustainable development goals? Does a shift to vegan catering really matter?
  • What are the moral arguments for and against restricting freedom of choice? Isn’t it up to students and employees to make their own choices?
  • What is the support among students and employees for vegan catering?
  • What are the consequences for the caterer? Is it (financially) feasible and doable? Are there sufficient vegan alternatives to offer a varied product range against reasonable prices?

Client of this think tank is Radboud Green Office, Radboud's sustainable meeting point where students, employees and volunteers work together for a sustainable campus.

The kick-off weekend of this think tank is on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 February in the Dominican monastery in Huissen. This is a mandatory part of the think tank. Then weekly meetings take place on Thursday evenings from 18.30 -20.30. As part of the think tank, you will go on a four-day study trip (you will receive more information about the study trip during the kick-off).

Prof. dr. Marc Davidson, Professor in Philosophy of Sustainability and Environment
Casper Kirkels, programme coordinator at Radboud Honours Academy