BERKELEY, California—The Humane Society of the United States is excited to announce its collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley as they set a goal of transitioning 50% of entrees offered in dining commons on campus to be plant-based by 2027. They are the first school in the University of California system to take such a comprehensive and innovative step to offer more nutritious, plant-forward options for their students. UC Berkeley's commitment aims to positively influence environmental sustainability, animal welfare and public health. 

Consistently ranking as one of the top universities in the world for academics, UC Berkeley’s campus food service (Berkeley Dining) feeds tens of thousands of students, faculty and community members each year. To support such a large institution in accomplishing their goal, the HSUS will be offering a variety of free resources, including chef-led culinary trainings, student engagement and marketing support and a curriculum of plant-based events over the next several semesters. 

“We are thrilled by UC Berkeley’s continued commitment to creating a better world for both people and animals by setting this goal,” said Kate Jarvis, senior outreach coordinator for food service innovation with the HSUS. “More and more students are looking for plant-based options each year, and we look forward to working with their very talented staff to ensure that demand is met. We invite the other 20 University of California campuses to join UC Berkeley in offering sustainable, plant-based dining options, contributing to the well-being of their communities and the planet.” 

To kickstart the collaboration, the HSUS staff have joined Berkeley Dining and Sustainability teams to host a plant-based takeover in the school’s largest on-campus dining commons, Crossroads. While sampling a new plant-based Fall Grain Salad Stuffed Acorn Squash, students were asked to provide their feedback on the dish and share their vision for the school’s menus. Through this collaboration, students will be able to learn more about the global impact of their food choices and the many benefits of choosing a plant-rich diet, which has been consistently proven to have a lighter health and environmental footprint. 

“We're excited to join this initiative and showcase our plant-based options,” said Christopher R. Henning, executive director for Berkeley Dining. “Berkeley Dining has a strong commitment to offering our students healthy and nutritious plant-based options, as well as engaging with our students in the process.” 

No stranger to plant-based initiatives, UC Berkeley also hosts a Plant-Forward Recipe Challenge twice a year, in which the chefs at their four largest dining commons compete to create the most popular plant-based recipe for students. After passing out hundreds of surveys (and accompanying pens, clips and tote bags as a thank you for participating), the winner’s recipe is crowned and permanently added to the university’s menu cycles for students to enjoy throughout the rest of the year. 

UC Berkeley joins a long line of other notable universities around the country that have taken similar steps at prioritizing the health of their students and communities by setting a plant-based goal, including Penn State, University of Wisconsin–Madison and University of Texas at Austin. The HSUS looks forward to supporting their efforts through 2027 and beyond to ensure all aspects of student life at UC Berkeley are sustainable, healthy and aimed towards the betterment of our world. 

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