Campus food raises many issues regarding quality, price and variety. But there is one issue that stands out as particularly problematic: the lack of vegetarian, and particularly vegan, options. Think about how tiring the limited food options on campus get, and then imagine having to pick from an even smaller subset of that.
Vegetarian options at the Commons are essentially limited to the salad bar and maybe one or two things from each station, and it’s difficult to get much nutrition out of nachos or cheese pizza.
While Douglass has slightly more vegetarian options, like hummus wraps and the vegan station, they close at 2 p.m. on Friday and don’t reopen until Monday. Danforth offers some additional vegetarian options but the inconvenience of its location and price make it a less than ideal place to grab a quick meal.
Even more troublesome is the lack of vegan options on campus. Many of the vegetarian option aren’t vegan, including pizza, vegetarian quesadillas and more. Vegans have little more to choose from than salad and whatever the vegan station in Douglass has to offer — if it’s not closed. In fact, the vegan options are so abysmal that it’s amazing any vegans survive on campus without resorting to simply becoming vegetarians.
The UR dining website reads: “University of Rochester Dining Services works hard to accommodate anyone in need of special dietary requirements. We have the ability to adapt and change our program for our students and will meet with any students who have questions about their dining plans in regards to what they can and can’t eat on campus.”
Having clearly stated that they have the ability to adapt and change as needed, theoretically this problem shouldn’t be difficult to solve.
It would be great to see another vegan station opened, perhaps in The Commons in the salad bar area. This would give both vegetarians and vegans more options and they wouldn’t have to worry about the fact that Douglass closes after lunch on Friday and doesn’t open again until Monday — with a new vegan station, they’ll have at least one more option all week long. Our only other hope is that the upcoming dining renovations will address this issue and do a better job accommodating students with alternative dietary needs.