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Indian-origin student Vihan Jain leads Oxford’s meet-free campus drive

An Indian-origin student is among a group from the University of Oxford Student Union that is leading a drive towards a meat-free campus as part of wider initiatives to cut the university’s greenhouse emissions.

Vihan Jain from the university’s Worcester College joined two fellow students to draft a motion mandating the Student Union to lobby for a ban on beef and lamb in university catering services, which was recently passed with 31 votes to 9 and 13 abstentions.

“As the UK’s premier university, the nation looks to Oxford for leadership, but Oxford has shown a lack of leadership in addressing climate change,” reads the motion.

“The banning of beef and lamb at university-catered events and outlets is a feasible and effective strategy to help the university meet its revised 2030 goal,” it reads.

The move means that the Student Union will now actively lobby the university and individual colleges to move towards meat reduction and eventual removal from campus.

Responding to criticisms that the beef and lamb ban could affect the local economy, Jain told the ‘The Oxford Student’ publication that “alternative food offerings can be sourced from local enterprises and can therefore contribute to the local economy, but ‘eat local’ can be a deceptive piece of advice.”

According to an Oxford-led study published in the journal ‘Science’ this week, what we eat, how much we eat, how much is wasted, and how food is produced need to change drastically by 2050, if we want to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degree C or 2 degree C above pre-industrial levels.

“The good news is, there are many achievable ways rapidly to reduce food emissions if they are acted on quickly. These include both raising crop yields and reducing food loss and waste, but the most important is for individuals to shift towards predominantly plant-based diets,” said Dr Michael Clark of the Oxford Martin School and Nuffield Department of Population Health, who is the lead author on the paper.

Reducing the carbon emissions and biodiversity impact of the university’s food system is one of the nine priority areas of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. The Strategy has the ultimate goal of achieving net zero carbon by 2035 and addressing the global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

The University of Cambridge has banned beef and lamb and reported a 33 per cent reduction in carbon emissions per kilogram of food purchased and a 28 per cent reduction in land use per kilogramme of food purchased.

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First yoga university outside India starting classes

Los Angeles:  Vivekananda Yoga University (VaYU), the world’s first university outside India  devoted to yoga education and research, has launched their  Online Master of Science (Yoga) Program. Applications for the  Fall 2020 semester for the university are open with the classes beginning on August 24, 2020.

Dr. H.R. Nagendra, Chairman, Board of Trustees of VaYU, said, “In following the pioneering tradition set by Swami Vivekananda who brought yoga to the West in 1893, we are bringing a vision of holistic approach to yoga with its applications supported by modern scientific research. I am pleased that the California Bureau of Private & Postsecondary Education has  provisionally approved VaYU to operate as a university and offer the MS (Yoga) degree.” Dr. Nagendra is also the Chancellor of S-VYASA (Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthan) University, the world’s first yoga research university in Bengaluru, India, which he founded in 2002.

The VaYU Online MS (Yoga) is a cohort-based four-semesters program with 30 credits. The program is designed for working professionals as well as those  seeking an advanced knowledge of yoga.  Each academic year, in the 15th week of the fall semester, students will attend  a week-long Personal Training Program (PTP) to get  hands-on training in  asanas, kriya (purification techniques), pranayama and dhyana, etc. The PTP will be offered at the main campus in Los Angeles. Depending on  student interest and faculty availability, PTP could be offered  through satellite campuses across North America, and, at the SVYASA campus in Bengaluru and Singapore.

The minimum eligibility for this program is a four-year degree from any accredited college or university in the USA. Equivalent degrees from other countries are also acceptable. No prior exposure to yoga is required.

Provost Dr. Srinivasa Reddy, author, researcher and  faculty at the Department of Cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Fellow of the American Heart Association, said “VaYU faculty is top-notch, highly-accomplished, and world renowned. All of them have PhDs or MDs in yoga or related fields with a combined 250 years of teaching and research experience. They have directed 84 doctoral dissertations and over 400 master’s theses.”

Murali Venkatrao, VaYU Vice President of Curriculum & Infrastructure Development, Director of Yoga Teacher Training at the Ananda Institute of Living Yoga, and a professional at Microsoft for more than 25 years, said “VaYU curriculum focuses on three learning objectives: the science of how and why yoga works; art of practicing the yogic techniques deeply; and,  treating common diseases using yoga as  an evidence based approach. We will train you in conducting applied research on yogic techniques. We will also teach you about  applying yogic methodology to interpersonal relationships and management in your personal and professional lives”.

Prof. Sree N. Sreenath, Founder President, VaYU said, “VaYU brings in a value proposition of high-quality graduate education and research at a very affordable price through its unique online-based curriculum. Whether you run your own yoga studio  or work for one, whether you are a healthcare professional or work in the hospitality industry, whether you are looking for career enhancement or a seeker serious enough to satisfy your curiosity, then this graduate program in yoga  is for you. If you are a Certified Yoga Teacher or Yoga Therapist from a credentialed institution, you will get waiver of certain courses.”

See www.vayuusa.org for more information.

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