Students at the University of Florida (UF) -- the sixth largest university in the nation -- have their eyes set on the prize: no meat served on Mondays.
More than 2,000 students have already signed a campus petition for Meatless Mondays, which is being delivered to UF Dining Services representatives this Friday. The campaign also has an active Facebook page, which outlines the students' reasons for a flesh-free day on campus. Their primary concerns are that meat is unhealthy for students, is a leading contributor to climate change, and supports cruelty to animals.
Last week, representatives from peta2 -- the student wing of PETA -- brought a giant chicken costume to campus and worked alongside students to hand out hundreds of "Support Meatless Mondays at UF!" T-shirts.
According to The Gainesville Sun:
Students who encountered the PETA members today seemed largely receptive. UF freshmen Jamie Fisher said she's a vegetarian and finds that dining hall options with meat far outnumber those without, even on meatless Mondays.
Eliminating meat in dining halls on Mondays will encourage students to expand their diets, she said, getting them to try items like tempeh chili and seitan burritos.
"It's about introducing more choices, not eliminating choices," she said.
UF has already begun implementing more vegetarian and vegan options in response to student demand, including tofu Creole and barbecued veggie burgers. They have not yet removed meat from the menus, but students are optimistic. As UF student Jared Misner told local media outlets, "We want to give students the right to eat ethically and eat sustainably."