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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Columbia: Helps Inspire Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday, an initiative of The Monday Campaign, founded by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health board member, Mr. Sid Lerner, experienced a significant boost when New York City announced that its public schools will adopt Meatless Monday in the 2019-2020 school year. This effort builds upon a successful 15-school pilot and scales it to the city’s 1.1 million public school students. The initiative continues to grow rapidly and the Columbia Mailman community has been an early supporter.

The goal is to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent.  The latest news in NYC is particularly timely given the recent report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which found that the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030 precipitating the risk of food shortages for millions. The report emphasizes that changes in lifestyle and consumption are important to stemming this impact.  Meatless Monday’s approach has already encouraged millions of people to reduce meat consumption, and this announcement will broaden the campaign’s reach.

Columbia has been working on ways to advance Meatless Monday. The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion hosts Meatless Monday events schoolwide and partners with student groups to share facts and inspiration with the Mailman community. At the Lerner Center’s last Meatless Monday celebration, over 200 students pledged to eat meatless on Mondays.

Within the Washington Heights community, the Lerner Center encourages Meatless Monday by providing meatless treats and tips for healthy eating at community events. The Center also works closely with The Monday Campaigns and NewYork Presbyterian hospitals to implement Meatless Monday in cafeterias its influence on consumer habits.