#NoBeef hopes to meet its goal to reduce beef consumption on campus

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Caroline Megerian/ Daily Senior Staffer

#NoBeef has successfully persuaded Patty Squared to add the turkey burger as a meal exchange option for students in the future.

Vivian Xia, Reporter

A new unofficial student group dedicated to raising awareness of the negative impacts of the beef industry has already begun to make an impact on campus.

The group, known as #NoBeef, was formed this year by Bienen and Communication freshman Kate Lee. #NoBeef is connected to the international #NoBeef movement that works to encourage other schools to remove beef from their menus — their biggest accomplishment so far has been persuading central catering staff at the University of Cambridge, located in England, to completely drop beef from its menus.

At Northwestern, students want to raise awareness of the environmental impact of beef production instead. #NoBeef started as an institutional effort to drop beef from the dining halls, but the campaign changed its goal after receiving negative feedback from students, including vegans and vegetarians, who were opposed to the idea of enforcing certain beliefs on others.

Lee said she first got the idea when she met a doctorate student at a Real Food at Northwestern meeting who was going around to the meetings of various environmental organizations on campus after being inspired by the #NoBeef campaign in the U.K.

“Throughout the summer and the past few years, I’ve been more and more passionate about food sustainability and food and the environment, and I’ve been vegetarian for three years and vegan for one,” Lee said. “It really clicked well with me.”

#NoBeef has already made a major change on campus by persuading Patty Squared to add the turkey burger onto their menu as a meal exchange option, as turkey has less of a negative environmental impact than beef. Currently, Patty Squared only offers a beef burger for their meal exchange, but students will be able to use their meal exchanges toward a more environmentally friendly option when Patty Squared carries out the plan.

“That’s definitely a really optimistic thing,” Weinberg freshman and member of #NoBeef Grace DeAngelis said. “It shows that we are able to have direct impacts on the administration and on the student experience, and it just makes me really hopeful for the future.”

Lee said she believes this is only the first step and that it shows how open people can actually be to these kinds of initiatives. Lee added that she is planning to propose more in the future, including asking Patty Squared to put a sign comparing the carbon emissions of beef versus turkey and adding a veggie burger option on the menu as well.

#NoBeef also has a form on their website where people take pledges to either limit their consumption of beef or drop it completely. As of Monday night, the form has garnered 33 signatures.

Weinberg freshman and member of #NoBeef Ruhi Shirodkar said the campaign is trying to get people to realize the negative impacts of beef on the environment and take pledges to limit their beef consumption — or if they want, completely drop beef from their diet.

“We’re trying to create a cultural shift mostly — it’s not really like we’re trying to get one or two people to drop beef completely for health reasons or anything,” Shirodkar said. “It’s a big cultural shift because we feel that’s the best way to usher in a new generation of people who are more considerate about the environment and who are actually doing things to make that change instead of just caring about it or saying they care about it.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @vivianxia7

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