Grow the Kale Yeah! movement

Can you help your university become a Kale Yeah! Campus?

14 Sep 2021

While the focus of the Kale Yeah! Kitchen scheme is university canteens and cafes, there’s no reason to stop there. Here are some ways of broadening its reach and having even more impact across your university.

Communicate to senior staff

The fantastic work you’re doing to reduce the environmental impact of your university’s catering should not go unnoticed. The targets you set in your catering strategy and plans would ideally be recognised and reflected in the university’s overall sustainability strategy.  

Senior leaders and staff tasked with implementing the Sustainable Development goals and reducing scope 3 emissions as part of addressing the climate crisis will want to hear how your work to rebalance your menus is contributing to these goals. 

Involve the Student Union

In universities where the SU run their own cafes, they could also sign up to Kale Yeah! Kitchens and receive separate accreditation. The SU could also help with promotion and engaging the wider student body (see below). Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK) support the less and better meat and dairy approach to university catering as a key way of addressing both the climate and nature emergencies.  

Engage the student body

You'll be running termly promotional activities for Kale Yeah! Kitchens. These could be even more impactful if you involve the student body through relevant clubs and societies, from environment clubs to animal welfare or vegetarian societies. Tying in your promotion with planned events already such as Green Week or Freshers Week will help engage more people. 

Student ambassadors

Why not incentivise students to become Kale Yeah! Kitchens ambassadors? Throw in some freebies or present it as a challenge that they can include as work experience on their CVs. There are different ways they can help gather feedback and ensure your sustainability efforts are a success:

  • hand out surveys and have informal conversations with customers 
  • help out at promotional events 
  • liaise with the Student Union 
  • start or collaborate with societies and groups 
  • build credibility amongst peers 
  • suggest improvements for quick wins.

Work with academia

Could you collaborate with a particular department on a research project? This could be to monitor the impact of the changes you’re making through Kale Yeah! Kitchens (eg on greenhouse gas emissions), or to test the effectiveness of different approaches, like changing the names of dishes or putting the plant-based options at the top of the menu. There could be a collaboration with certain courses, from psychology to sustainability. Projects could be carried out for Masters’ degrees or even PhD research. This is also a good way to get publicity for the university. 

For example, researchers at University of Cambridge analysed dining hall sales data and found that increasing the number of vegetarian options on the menu in relation to meaty ones  increased uptake, as does introducing a gap between vegetarian and meat meals on serving stations. Both studies received coverage in online and print publications. 

Promote to the wider public

Whether it’s looking for opportunities at events or meetings with other university catering teams or a chance to get media coverage, there are loads of ways to spread the word outside of your university setting. Speak to your university communications teams and see if they’ll issue a press release about you joining the scheme or share social media posts. Encourage other catering teams to get involved and look for chances to speak at conferences or events about your successes and learnings. 

Kale Yeah!
Kale Yeah!