The university’s support service is in talks with Vitam catering service, EUR’s Executive Board, the various faculties and other components of the university. The academic community will be consulted, as well. “The academic community will be able to express its opinion on the matter at the sustainability conference held on 31 May,” a university spokeswoman announced.

EUR is considering adopting the same approach taken by ESE, which embarked on a ‘vegan-unless-otherwise-indicated’ policy with regard to its lunches this week. Rotterdam’s economists now eat vegan lunches, unless they specifically indicate they wish to eat meat or dairy products. The policy was the brainchild of behavioural economist Jan Stoop, who proposed it to the dean, after having consulted his colleagues on the subject.

‘Great initiative!’

Gabi Helfert, who works at RSM and founded a Facebook group called Vegans @ EUR, is a keen supporter of the idea. “Great initiative by ESE. I hope it will be introduced EUR-wide and that people will really start having vegan meals, rather than opting out in great numbers. These things do happen when such initiatives are taken.”

Eva Rood, RSM’s sustainability manager, really likes the idea, as well. “I think it’s a brilliant move and I hope RSM will soon follow suit. It would be even better if we managed to introduce this policy university-wide.”

Several faculties have stated that they are following the developments at ESE with great interest. They were keen to emphasise that they have already made several accommodations for vegans and vegetarians. For instance, 50 per cent of the lunchtime meals offered at RSM are vegan, and the great majority of snacks served at drinks sessions at ESHCC are vegetarian.

Special ESE vegan lunch

Vitam catering service has developed a special vegan lunch buffet for the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), which costs the same as a regular lunch buffet (€14.65). “The buffet consists of vegan bread, vegan bread spreads such as grilled vegetables, hummus and baba ganoush and vegan drinks such as soy milk, rice milk or almond milk, or juices,” Vitam’s Ronald Feenstra explained. People from outside ESE can order the lunch buffet as well.

Vitam is experimenting with and testing more vegan food, partly because the university is considering rolling out vegan lunches to the entire university. For her part, Gabi Helfert has noticed there is still a little room for improvement. “During the Sustainability Weeks, Vitam served three vegan meals, but they looked like they had been regurgitated.”