Faculty of Math community members connect their plates to the planet

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Faculty of Mathematics helped save thousands of liters of water and hundreds of pounds of carbon this November through its “Meatless Math Mondays” campaign. The initiative, which aimed to increase environmental health and sustainability within the Faculty, encouraged students, staff, faculty, and post-docs to choose meatless options once a week to decrease their environmental impact.

A pink table covered in prizes and information sheets with a banner reading "Meatless Math Mondays"

Each week, the vividly pink “Meatless Math Monday” booth appeared outside of Math Coffee and Donuts, offering educational resources, recipes, and free metal straws. Participants got involved at home and at work by choosing meatless options at Coffee and Donuts – like the famous macaroni and cheese – as well as sharing their meatless meal choices on social media.

As part of the campaign, participants could win sustainability related prizes, including reusable grocery bags and cookbooks. Local plant-based restaurants the Copper Kettle and the Hangry Vegan also offered discounts to Faculty members who wanted to try some new meatless options.  

Akshar Goyal, a statistics and computational math student who won the grand prize, reflects that he “was really surprised to hear that a change in our diet could really help towards sustainability.” He decided to take things a bit further and swapped out milk for soy milk in his coffee during the month. “I encourage others to continue or try Meatless Mondays, especially as their new resolution for 2023.”

For Megan Martin, student services manager in the Undergrad Office, the initiative was the encouragement she needed to make a lifestyle change she was already considering. She and her husband had wanted to incorporate more meatless options into their diet for a while, but they weren’t sure where to start. “Once we started doing it, it was so simple,” she says. Martin plans to keep planning meatless dinners every Monday for the foreseeable future. “It’s an easier way to eat healthier, and reduce our carbon footprint and our environmental impact,” she reflects, and “doing a meatless day didn’t really end up taking any more meal planning than any other meal.”   

“We are thrilled to have seen so many members of our community participate in the Meatless Math Mondays initiative over the month of November,” says Robert Bruce, community well-being and engagement officer. “Environmental wellness initiatives like this remind us how a small behavioural change can have a large impact on not only our own health and well-being but also that of the little blue marble we call home.”

To learn more about the Meatless Mondays initiative, and how you can bring it to your community, visit the Meatless Mondays website. To learn more about the University of Waterloo’s commitment to environmental wellness, visit the Sustainability website.

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