Vegan students are demanding more vegan options on campus, but others see the need for allergy-friendly dining as a more pressing problem.
Spiders Creating Animal Rights Everywhere (C.A.R.E), an organization on campus that advocates for animal rights, created a petition to be delivered to the Heilman Dining Center. The petition calls for more vegan options to be included on the menu.
“The vegan options at D-Hall are nothing compared to the number of options everywhere else,” said Tamara Mehta, a first-year vegan and member of Spiders C.A.R.E.
The dining hall has the most vegan options of any on-campus dining location. Other locations, such as Tyler's, Lou’s, Passport and 8:15, all have vegan options and vegetarian options that could be made vegan, according to the menus. However, vegan students still face minimal food choices outside of the dining hall.
“We offer the vegan protein at the action stations, always have a vegan entrée at lunch and dinner, and you can get creative, so I feel like D-Hall has a lot of options,” Karen Hensley, the university dietician, said.
Students with food allergies also have a limited amount of options on campus. Hensley said that it was important for the university to provide an increased number of safe options for such students.
“Veganism is technically a choice, so putting a focus on veganism isn’t fair when they aren’t necessarily taking care of food options for people with food allergies, which are not a choice,” said sophomore Sarah Hausman, a former vegan with a severe nut allergy. “We should have the right to not have to order our desserts four days in advance. Vegan students have a dessert option every day.”
But vegan students like Mehta are not demanding a complete overhaul of the dining hall menu or other campus dining options. Mehta says they just want more key options, such as more vegan salad dressing, desserts and dairy alternatives to break up the monotony of eating the same things several times a week.
Hausman said the two groups didn’t have to have competing interests.
“There are so many vegan-friendly and allergy-friendly options, like cakes made with soy milk and without nuts,” Hausman said. “Dhall should focus on combining the two needs and creating options that everyone can eat.”
Contact contributor Caitlin Helsley at firstname.lastname@example.org