Veg Club works with Dining Services to promote meatless options

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Natalia Piazza, a Freshman TLEP major, builds a salad at the Oaks.

For some students, picking and choosing what to eat cannot be based on appearance.

Vegans are individuals who do not consume meat and dairy products as part of their overall diet, while vegetarians don’t consume meat, but consume dairy products.

A club on campus called the Veg Club meets for those who are either vegan or vegetarians.

The Veg Club represents the vegans and vegetarians on campus, along with acting as a support group for those who are making the change in diet and lifestyle.

While the club acts as a support group for those new vegans or vegetarians, the club also works closely with dining services.

The president of Veg Club, sophomore Holly Sanderson, said Dining Services and the Veg Club have a “really good relationship.”

“I think the staff is really friendly and really receptive to the club and to the campus in general,” Sanderson said. “[Dining services] really seems to please and work with the students.”

But some dining halls, like the Falcon’s Nest prove to be a challenge to add vegan and vegetarian options to the menu, said Daria Blachowski-Dreyer, the associate director of operations and wellness for Dining Services.

“We have included vegetarian and vegan options at all of our locations,” Blachowski-Dreyer said. “We’ve iconed our menus so they’re easier to identify for them.”

To establish communication and to make sure both vegans and vegetarians are represented, the club attends dining advisory board meetings and also has a position on the board.

In order to work well with the vegetarians and vegans on campus, Dining Services meets the students’ needs when it comes to what the student’s diet allows them to eat. The dishes that are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free are labeled with one of the three options.

But sophomore and two-year vegan, Daniel Singleton believes dining services can do better to make sure the dishes have the correct icons.

People aren’t always sure if food prepared at some dining halls are completely vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, Singleton said.

A way dining services makes sure to involve more students who practice the vegan and vegetarian on campus, dining services also hosts programs within the dining halls. These programs include National Vegan Month in November, along with weekly Meatless Mondays, which calls attention to items on the menu that are vegetarian and Flexitarian Fridays, which features vegan food items in the Oaks and the Carillon Place.

Another way dining services aims to aid vegans and vegetarians is through the My Pantry option that contains vegan and vegetarian options for those who would like to go out on their own, said Blachowski-Dreyer.

“My Pantry has refrigerators if students want to go on their own. We’re always open. If you don’t see something you want, you can always ask for it,” said Blachowski-Dreyer.

While dining services is aiming to involve the students and raise awareness, Singleton said dining services is doing a good job.

“I feel like they’re spreading awareness and encourage people to reduce their meat consumption mainly for environmental reasons,” Singleton said. “They can go further if they want to.”