The Daily Illini

UI nominated as most vegetarian-friendly campus


The University has been chosen by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to be in the running for its annual Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges contest. The competition, organized by PETA2, the college wing of the animal rights organization, began four years ago and aims to recognize colleges that best serve the needs of vegetarians.

The University has been chosen by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to be in the running for its annual Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges contest. The competition, organized by PETA2, the college wing of the animal rights organization, began four years ago and aims to recognize colleges that best serve the needs of vegetarians. “We pick our nominees based on student feedback and probably on their experiences finding delicious vegan options in dining halls across the country,” said Ryan Huling, senior college campaign coordinator for PETA2. “Based on this feedback, as well as our independent research into both the quantity and the quality of vegan options available on campus, we compile our list each year,”

PETA2’s research includes analyzing the menus of dining halls across the United States and Canada.

Huling said students send in feedback about their university’s vegetarian and vegan dining options through e-mail, Facebook, MySpace and the PETA2 blog. He said the positive feedback about the University’s dining halls came from both non-vegetarians and vegetarians.

He added that Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall’s vegetarian specialty restaurant Field of Greens is a major factor in the University’s nomination.

However, vegetarians on campus have had a mixed reaction to the University’s nomination. Students said they would like to see Dining Services do more to accommodate them.

“They could simply supply a salad bar and call it a day, but they do at least supply some options,” said Tim Reynolds, co-president of Campus Vegetarian Society and sophomore in FAA. “By no means is this a reason to be satisfied, but [it is] a good first step.”

For Sean Daugherty, junior in Engineering, said the University should clearly mark what is and is not vegetarian or vegan.

“The hardest part about being vegetarian is not knowing exactly what is vegetarian. There are things that look okay, but you’re not quite sure about what they have in them,” Daugherty said.

Reynolds said he agrees that this is a problem and has worked to address the issue.

“Last year, in addition to my involvement in CVS (Campus Vegetarian Society), I was also in Allen Hall’s Veglyfe, and we made a serious effort to get the dining hall to start labeling whether the choices were vegan or vegetarian. There can be a lot of guessing that goes on in regards to dishes, which is a dangerous game for a vegan,” Reynolds said. “Although I haven’t eaten much in the dining halls this year, I’ve heard that they are still using the labels for the most part.”

Huling said the push for more vegetarian options is part of a larger trend of American college students seeking more healthy and environmentally friendly dining choices and universities reacting to those needs.

Students can vote for the University on the PETA2 Web site until Nov. 2. In the first round of a bracket-style tournament, the school is up against Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. Other nominees include Northwestern University, Vassar College and the University of Florida.

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