Being vegan on UH campus is virtually impossible

Vegetarians are frustrated, too

While 6% of the U.S. population is made of vegans, 36% U.S. consumers prefer meat and dairy alternatives. The youth decision of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals surveyed around 1,500 four-year colleges and universities in the US, and they found that 62% serve vegan meals on a daily basis. It also found that 9% have entirely vegan dining stations.

The Fresh Food Company, the Moody Towers dining hall, does have vegetarian and gluten-free options, but to dedicated vegans cutting dairy products—like the cheese put on some meatless meals—won’t be appealing to them. There are so many options around campus, but most of those options, such as Einstein Bros and the food trucks, do not offer many options for vegans.

Repeating the same meal can be frustrating. Many young people want to play their part in helping the environment and try going vegan, but if they are not given plenty of options, their motivation will drop. Shouldn’t schools like UH keep up with the demand? Not only this, but also encourage the sustainable vegetarian and vegan options? I asked a few UH vegetarians and vegans to find out.

Makenzie Bentley, 21, Biochemistry

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“I’ve been a vegetarian for over one year and made the switch to veganism in August. This is my first year at UH, and I’m frustrated that Freshii is the only real vegan/vegetarian friendly fast-food in the student. While I lives just a 15 minute walk from campus, Most days I try to make wraps, bring a bag of fruit, or I bring my homemade protein bars to hold me over until I get home that night. I don’t have a lot of time to sit down and eat, it’s a lot of moving and eating. I work in an ER where a majority of the time, I am running around and then coming back and grabbing a bite at my desk, and then running again.

“I just want a salad bar! A fruit bar! A vegetable bar! A bar with healthy options that everyone can enjoy.  It doesn’t always have to be something that only ‘vegans/vegetarians’ would enjoy. Think about how many people would pass up eating Panda Express to get a bowl of fruit, or a salad. Think about how much more focused they could be for class with a difference in their diet.”

Aubrey Cowley, 20, English

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“I was a vegetarian for 2 years about 3 years ago, but I avoids most meats besides chicken and fish. I lived in CV2 last year, so I loved the convenience of the Moody Towers dining hall vegetarian options. My favorite place to eat now is Einstein Bros., which has some options depending on what the individual does or does eat.

“I don’t know if it’s feasible, but Panera Bread has pretty good range of vegan and vegetarian meal options. I would also like to see the convenience stores clearly identify those options so people know that there were vegetarian/vegan options available.”

Amber West, 19, Mechanical Engineering

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“Since I was 12, I has wanted to be a vegan, and I finally started by becoming a vegetarian 4 months ago. I don’t have much time to eat between my classes and studying, especially for calculus. I usually eat the pizza at the dining hall, sometimes the salad bar (not very good). I love going to Einstein’s Bagels! The vegan station at the dining hall is not good at all. I would really like to include veggie burgers and more quinoa.

“It’s been really hard for me to stay vegetarian on campus and nearly impossible for me to become vegan.”

Katherine Polkinghorne, 18, Architecture

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“I’ve been a vegetarian for 8 years and am considering going vegan. Living at home with my family, who are all vegetarian, has been a different experience for her living on campus. While the Fresh Food Company dining hall is convenient with the vegetarian and halal stations, I wish there could be more variety as far as types of dishes to make them accessible to vegetarians.

“I would like UH Dining Services were to expand to more fully vegan options as well as more hearty vegetarian meals—salads and wraps are not enough to live on. The cafeteria should have at least some plant based meat substitutes – for example, veggie burgers or imitation sausage at breakfast!”

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These UH students also believe there should more awareness on campus. They would like to see lectures from nutritionist to talk about the vegan diet and screening of documentaries like “Cowspirarcy.” Awareness is key in promoting the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles that can improve student health and help reduce climate change.

Learn more about veganism through sites like The Vegan Society, One Green Planet, and VegNews. If you’re at UH and interested in learning more, Vegans and Vegetarians at UH has a page on Get Involved and Facebook.

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