Vegans choose to abstain from animal products out of moral and ethical concerns. Despite a sympathetic community, vegetarian and vegan options on campus are few.
When Co-President of the Animal Allies Club Breana Reichert wants to eat at the cafeteria or other food services on campus, her choices are limited.
As a vegan, she chooses not to consume any products or by-products that come from animals. She can give a whole list of reasons why she is vegan, including how much healthier it is and how much better it is for the environment – a lot of carbon waste can be traced back to the food industry, particularly meat production.
“The AAC club has tried at least twice previously to work with the UVU dining services, but both attempts have failed,” said Reichert.
According to Reichert, the school does not seem to take her or her kind seriously enough to permanently change to more vegan-friendly menus.
Philosophy professor Dr. Karen Mizell is another vegan on campus.
“When I discovered how workers are exploited in these slaughterhouses and how corporations like Monsanto are patenting seeds, I thought to myself, ‘I can’t support this’,” Mizell said.
While the university has many other issues to address, such as gay rights, immigration and budget cuts, it seems that vegans and vegetarians have been put on hold for the time being.
Her family soon had a major shift for moral reasons. She came across videos and literature on how farm animals were being treated. This, she saw, as the ethical reason to change her eating choices, including pushing for changes in the university’s food choices.
Brittany Pendleton, co-president of AAC, admits that Provo and Orem are surprisingly vegetarian-friendly, but this campus is behind in putting that philosophy into practice.
According to Val Brown, director of dining services, about 10 to 12 years ago he found that they were getting a significant amount of requests, about 3 or 4 a month, for vegetarian dishes.
While the university has many other issues to address, such as gay rights, immigration and budget cuts, it seems that vegans and vegetarians have been put on hold for the time being. But many social issues are closely related.
“Animal rights has many ties to feminism, workers rights, environmental awareness and should be right at the top of the list,” said Reichert.
This does not, however, have to continue to be a negative situation.
According to Brown, all you have to do is let dining services know about an hour in advance and they can prepare a vegan or vegetarian dish.
“We also have vegetarian items on the menu about once a week. As for vegans, we do have a pizza that is gluten free, but they need to give us about a half hour notice,” he said.
If more change is wanted, it will need to come from the students, said Brown. Dining services is supposed to benefit the students and there will be a survey on food options that will be available in March through the UVLink.
If previous participation in surveys is any indication, the school will continue its same path. Vegans and vegetarians, however, will continue hoping otherwise.