The Veda Club, in partnership with The Sustainability Network, have reduced their $5 vegan lunch schedule down to two days a week following a University request.
The vegan lunch initiative has traditionally run four days a week. The reduction in services is reportedly aimed at reducing pressure on campus food vendors, who are still recovering from the financial impacts of COVID-19.
Veda Club President Kalindi says that their organisation completely understands the University’s decision, expressing that “we do feel for the food vendors around campus and 100% respect the University’s wishes to prioritise those businesses that have suffered.”
Nevertheless, a reduction in their services has put the club in “a weird position”. While they are very “grateful that the University allows us to hold these lunches on campus for so many years”, Kalindi says that “we’re seeing on the ground how disappointed the students are that most days of the week they won’t have a lunch option that is as affordable and healthy as our vegan lunches”.
The vegan lunch is an affordable, nutritious, and environmentally-friendly food option for students.
They are fantastic value for money. A serving of fresh curry, salad, and rice costs just $5. And for an extra $1.50, students can also add a side of dessert and poppadoms. The meal is also packed full of fresh and healthy ingredients, making it a nourishing and sustaining pick.
The food is sustainable and eco-friendly too. The club prioritises the purchasing of in-season vegetables, actively encourages students to bring their own containers, and offers plastic-free and compostable options to those who need a takeaway container. They also reduce their waste by distributing any leftover food they may have by offering free refills to students before pack-up.
Kalindi believes that students should not have to break the bank to access healthy and sustainable food on campus. They say that “being a student is hard enough as it is. We hate the idea that students are trying to write their dissertations on a diet of two-minute noodles and crisps because that’s all they can afford. If we want students to really excel in their studies, we have to make sure they have the right fuel on campus for them to do it.”
The lunches are also suitable for students with dietary needs, especially for vegans, vegetarians, or those who follow a plant-based diet. They’re also “usually a great option for our Muslim brothers and sisters, Hare Krishnas, Hindus, Seventh Day Adventists, Jews etc.”
Moreover, the vegan student lunch initiative has positively impacted student culture. The Veda Club has received feedback that students often come to campus just for their lunches, or that graduates remember the lunches as a fond part of their university experience. “It’s so heartwarming that we are making these people’s days a little easier”, notes Kalindi.
As the lunches are powered by a team of student volunteers, the clubs provide unique leadership and volunteering experience for students to add to their CV. Scaling down their lunch schedule has unfortunately reduced the amount of these opportunities available.
The Veda Club is a non-profit organisation. Any profit made from the vegan lunches goes straight back into the Veda Club’s events, which includes a variety of activities like meditation retreats, spirituality seminars, and music parties for students to attend.
To purchase a vegan lunch, head down to the Barrack’s Lawn on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:30a.m.–2p.m.