Vegetarian canteen: The change that the world needs, starts at our faculty
The discussion and question of whether there are enough vegetarian options in the canteen of the Faculty of Architecture has been going on for several years. The FSC and BKGreen have been busy collecting student opinions on this subject, which showed us that there is an increasing demand for more vegetarian options (54.1%) in the canteen. Other remarkable outcomes from the canteen survey were a demand for vegan (28.4%), halal (22%), and allergy-related options (16.5%). There was also a high demand for more tasty meals and different lunch options instead of the ‘dry meat or cheese sandwiches’ as students call it (FSC, 2021).
After several student council meetings and observing the ‘student voice’, we concluded that a 100% vegetarian canteen is an ideal 'umbrella' for all the student wishes that were sent in to us by the survey. Therefore we supported the ambitious decision of dean, faculty board and canteen supplier to change our canteen into a fully vegetarian one and shared the outcomes of the student survey with them. Our students also had the opportunity to share their ideas about our canteen more often in the previous years, and 'more vegetarian' has always been a very obvious popular answer. This was tested in the ‘no meat week’ in our canteen previous years and turned out to be a great experiment.
Different conversations with students at our faculty showed us that they understand the importance of this green change and the impact we are making on the total CO2 emissions of TU Delft campus. Achieving a CO2 neutral campus is a goal set by TU Delft and our faculty contributes to this by tackling the food consumptions of students and staff, which turns out to be the second largest emission source (TU Delft, 2021). Shifting from a meat-based catering to a vegetarian-based canteen saves 50% of carbon emissions (Van den Dobbelsteen, 2021). Also, when someone does not eat meat one day a week for a year, almost 6 kilos of meat and 750 liters of water are saved (Nwzv, 2021). Can you imagine how much 750 liters of water is?
Besides, there are delicious meat substitutes and vegetarian recipes nowadays. This is the perfect opportunity for meat lovers to explore other dishes. Tasting the new lunches can help reduce biased ideas about vegetarian food, which is a world full of new flavours. The ‘new’ canteen has opened just a week ago, but a lot of positive feedback has already been coming in daily about the vegetarian options. This change has also taken into account the international and multicultural character of our university and made it possible for every student to enjoy lunch with a good feeling about the food origin. As the FSC, we will collect student opinions again in order to map out up-to-date feedback on the canteen changes.
Personally, I am very happy that I can contribute to a more sustainable campus by reducing meat from my daily routine, even if it is just for a day (or more). As a TU Delft-student, I think our faculty decision is a great step forward and fits nicely to what our university aims for. Tasting new vegetarian dishes in the canteen also excites me as a food lover. As future architects we try to reduce our carbon footprint by designing sustainable buildings, but why not first reduce our own carbon fooDprint?
So, both from the perspective of contributing to a more sustainable campus and the student-wish perspective, the FSC has been excited about the sustainable change in our canteen. We hope that other faculties will follow in contributing to a CO2 neutral campus. Together we can make the change that is needed for our own future.
This article was written by Ecem Kiliçaslan, Faculty Student Council & BKGreen member, MSc Architecture student
FSC. (2021). FSC Survey Canteen. Delft, The Netherlands.
Nwzv. (2021, January 17). Wat bespaar je als je 1 week geen vlees eet? Retrieved from https://weekzondervlees.nl/waarom-doen-we-dit/#:%7E:text=Dan%20begint%20het%20verschil%20dat,dagen%20per%20week%20geen%20vlees!
TU Delft. (2021). Restaurants Faculteit Bouwkunde als eerste over op volledig vegetarisch aanbod. Retrieved from https://www.tudelft.nl/2021/bk/restaurants-faculteit-bouwkunde-als-eerste-over-op-volledig-vegetarisch-aanbod
Van den Dobbelsteen, A. (2021). This week, the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/posts/professordice_this-week-the-faculty-of-architecture-and-activity-6796764234265960448-s1FC