According to Van Schoten, food consumption makes up ‘a substantial part of our university carbon footprint. The production of meat and dairy products involves much more carbon emissions than plant-based products. At the EUR, 4.5 per cent in 2020 and 8.49 per cent in 2019 (a year without a corona crisis) of the university’s total emissions were due to catering. That’s why she thinks it’s debatable to take steps toward a vegan campus.

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Van Schoten says she notices that many students and employees are interested in a sustainable lifestyle and a sustainable future. “The board notices that this is very much alive. The University Council also has a special sustainability task force that advises us on wishes and possibilities.”

Students of the Erasmus Sustainability Hub have also started a petition for making the campus more sustainable, with a ‘vegan campus’ as one of their demands. Van Schoten is going to take a serious look at that. “As a board we are shaping our policy according to the plan. While we are realising this plan, we are considering what is going on in the EUR community.”

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Van Schoten suggests that the campus will not be fully vegan until 2030 She has a reason for this, she explains: “This gives everyone enough time to get used to the idea, and experiment with new, healthy, tasty and affordable food. In the end, we’ve hopefully created something together that we can be proud of.

She doesn’t shy away from the idea of influencing the choices of staff and students in achieving that goal. According to her, ‘behavioural change is desperately needed in a lot of areas to combat the ecological and climate crisis’. For example, before animal products are completely removed from the menu, eateries could offer fewer animal products or make these products more expensive than vegan alternatives.

Earlier, behavioural economist Jan Stoop already pleaded for a totally vegan campus in Erasmus Magazine. According to him, just the expansion of vegetarian and vegan options doesn’t go far enough.

Currently, campus caterer Vitam offers a vegetarian alternative for every meat dish. Also, all lunches provided on campus are vegetarian and there is a vegan restaurant in the Food Court.

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