Puget Sound in running for vegan-friendly title
For most students, it is a footnote in the admission information we leaf through when we first visit campus, but Puget Sound’s status as one of the most vegan-friendly schools in the nation means much more then just another way to sway prospective students.
Puget Sound has a loud and proud vegetarian community, within which is a strong group of vegan students trying to sustain themselves through campus meal options.
Some universities rarely provide food beyond a salad bar and grill station, but our dining center is significantly more diverse. The mere fact that we have a station dedicated to vegetarian options puts us miles above many schools. But are we really amongst the best vegan-friendly schools in the nation?
The ranking is done by PETA’s Peta2 organization, which was launched in 2002 to cater to young adults and allows people to vote for each school by ‘liking’ it on Facebook.
In an attempt to make the voting more fair, two years ago they divided the schools into small and large universities, with large schools currently topping the list including Cornell University and UCLA.
There are 32 schools in the Small category and currently Puget Sound has made it to round three. The final winners will be decided on Nov. 21.
“This is actually the first year we’ve been in the running when the information given about our vegan options is correct,” Matt Zavortink, head of Veggie-Mights, the school’s vegan community group, said.
“When I talk to students from other schools I get the impression there’s a higher number of ethical vegans and vegetarians here. Our dinning options are pretty good for a school of our size, and we have a lot of people here who are very conscious of sustainability and other environmental issues which makes our campus very active and aware.”
But is that enough? To be ranked one of the most vegan-friendly schools in the nation says something to prospective students and to our community about Puget Sound. Do we deserve such recognition yet?
“There’s so much more that could be happening here to make us one of the most vegan-friendly schools in the nation that is happening at other schools.” Zavortink said.
“But in many ways I think we deserve the notoriety, because friends I have at much larger schools say that there’s not the same animal rights community as there is here,” he continued.
The Veggie-Mights are currently working with Dining and Conference Services to improve the vegan and vegetarian options in our dinning facilities, but as Zavortink said, “If you want to improve the options, fill out the comment cards in the S.U.B. It sounds silly, but the people in DCS are getting a lot of information and feedback that way.”
While there is certainly still room for improvement, the fact that a school as small as Puget Sound can make national rakings regarding its vegan community is not only commendable, but also extrremely impressive.