Sustainability survey helps kick off Low Carbon Food Campaign

Image courtesy AUS Sustainability via Instagram

By Malika Kaloo

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – A majority of students in American University of Sharjah residential halls cook food themselves, according to a survey organized by the AUS Sustainability Office as a part of their wider Low-Carbon Food Campaign that started Feb. 1. 

The survey also revealed that a majority eats meat at least four times per week, eats fruits at least four times a week and buys groceries from the minimart on campus. 

“The survey was the first thing that we organized as a part of the Low Carbon Campaign and we received a good response from the dorm residents,” said Mohamed Sherif Said, ecological representative of AUS residential halls.

“We are planning to organize a cooking competition between the residential halls and the winner will be the one that cooks the best low carbon food. This is to encourage students to cook more and use low carbon ingredients,” he added. 

Julia Carlow, sustainability coordinator, said the Low Carbon Food Campaign is associated with the Climate Action Plan recently announced by AUS.  

The plan aims to reduce the university’s carbon emissions by 2050 in line with the “Net-Zero by 2050” initiatives of the United Arab Emirates authorities. 

“Through various events, we want to educate students about what low carbon food means and what impact can our food choices have on the environment,” she said. “We are focusing on three pillars that have the biggest impact on reducing food related carbon emissions: Eat local, eat more plants and avoid food waste.”

AUS Sustainability’s Ecological Representative Muhammad Junaid said, “When we say low carbon food, we do not mean low in calories or carbohydrates. We mean the food that has low carbon emission associated with it during production and transportation.”

He said that the department had initially planned a cook-off between different cultural clubs, incorporating low carbon and cultural diversity, but because of COVID-19 restrictions still in place, it has been postponed till next semester.

Junaid added that the Sustainability Office will hold virtual events on low carbon food in which students can win a Breakpoint restaurant voucher.