More vegan and vegetarian foods will be available across campus next semester.
The Students’ Association Government has teamed up with Dining Services to expand menus and accommodate more students’ dietary preferences. The initiative seeks to ensure that every student feels comfortable with the meals provided on campus.
“I am looking forward to where every single student, regardless of their allergies or their dietary preferences, can go to the Pit, Douglass, or Danforth and have a complete meal and be comfortable with it,” said Craig Campbell, SA’s executive director of campus services. “I think most students can do that, but there is some that cannot and plans are in place to cover them.”
Freshman Senator Jamia Leonard ran on the promise to create more vegetarian options in the dining locations on campus. She is most excited to go to the dining halls and to eat comfortably with her vegetarian friends.
“I really wanted to take on this initiative because I hated going to the dining halls with friends who had to end up leaving because of the lack of vegetarian options,” Leonard said. “I believe that having more vegetarian options available on campus allows more diverse and inclusive food options overall.”
Dining Services is planning to provide these options at every station in Danforth and Douglass dining halls.
“Just one station is not enough,” Executive Chef Tony Pignagrande said. “We want to have that variety at other stations as well. We want to have everybody feel comfortable to go into a location and have multiple vegetarian and vegan options they can choose from to get a complete meal solution.”
Dining Services is looking into and moving toward plant-forward options — foods that have a plant base instead of a meat base.
“Officially we are starting to work on these menus next week for next semester,” Pignagrande said. “We have a blueprint for all the locations — what we are going to change and what we are not going to change — and a lot of that is plant-forward.”
Dining Services is partnering with the Humane Society in January, as their advocacy for more plant-forward menu options intertwines with Dining Services’ goal of substantiality.
“A positive advantage to partnering up with Humane Society is they offer guidance and information about plant-forward and vegan and vegetarian options,” Pignagrande said. “We’re going to focus on alternative proteins for vegan and vegetarians. That’s a huge part of what our menu is going to be.”
A specific station in Douglass that will have plant-forward options, and also accommodate to students who have allergies, is planned.
“We have a lot of students that have allergies that do not want to eat meat,” Director of Campus Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations Cam Schauf said. “We have become more aware of our need to be able to offer those options at a station. Students can feel safe as well as get what they are looking for.”
Schauf commended the dining staff for working through all of the changes made to create more accommodating meals.
Also in the works is a new website set to launch in January that will feature the daily menu options in the dining halls and additional nutritional information for each meal. There are also plans for an information kiosk in Douglass with brochures and an iPad with the website open.