Kent State University, in collaboration with the Forward Food program at the Humane Society of the United States, has set a goal to serve 30% plant-based meals in both its residential and retail operations by 2026. This increased commitment follows the university surpassing its initial goal to provide 15% plant-based offerings in its residential facilities.

“Kent State is clearly committed to sustainable, nutritious and delicious menu offerings,” said Tracy Burgio, culinary specialist at the Humane Society of the United States. “We’re delighted to work with them to bring new plant-based options to their students.”

The new goal was set ahead of National Nutrition Month in March 2024, during which the university plans to kick off its new initiative with a plant-based pilot and student engagement and education opportunities. In support of Kent State’s new pledge and the upcoming pilot, Forward Food is hosting a plant-based training for Kent State’s culinary team this February.

“This plant-based pilot will help animals while also cutting Kent State’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Christine Coughlin, food service innovation coordinator at the Humane Society of the United States. “We’re excited to help them improve animal welfare and to help calculate the positive environmental impact these menu options will make.”

“In alignment with our sustainability goals, we are proud to introduce an array of plant-based options. With over a third of our student body embracing diverse dietary preferences, including vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and flexitarian lifestyles, it's imperative to cater to their needs by offering a wide selection of meat-free alternatives,” said Sarah Korzan, licensed and registered dietician and assistant director of Kent State’s culinary services.

The Forward Food program at the Humane Society of the United States guides institutions like schools and food service companies in creating and executing the most effective plant-based commitments for food offerings through a wide variety of free resources. These resources include culinary trainings, marketing and education support, and sustainability analyses that provide unique and valuable data to institutions about how plant-based menu offerings help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other negative impacts on the environment.

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