Illustration by Tyler Carpenter

Valley View Cafeteria closed indefinitely May 4 causing trouble for the vegan community on campus.

“Most of the time, if one wants a healthy vegan option, they will need to bring something from home, because UVU simply does not offer such options,” said Emma Teasdale, president of the Animal Allies Club in an email to the Review.

The Animal Allies Club is “dedicated to animal rights awareness and vegan outreach,” as stated on their Facebook page. Spreading this message on a widely non-vegan campus comes with challenges.

With the lack of vegan meals, students of the club took action. “We worked with the former head chef, John Miller, and made a lot of progress over the past year,” said Teasdale. “The cafeteria was serving a veg option everyday and almost always had vegan options.” This allowed those with vegan diets to dine on-campus and enjoy a complete and healthy meal.

The students’ achievement was short lived. Valley View Cafeteria is being replaced by Chick-fil-A and Panda Express, both of which are meat-based chain restaurants. This news, while exciting to some, is devastating for those who do not eat meat.“It’s quite upsetting — not only for vegans, but for those of us who want something better than fast food,” said Teasdale. Without the cafeteria, few vegan dining options remain.

The cafeteria is being renamed to the Valley View Food Court. This change, according to the Dining Services website, will “improve the ambiance, creating a relaxed and unique atmosphere for students, faculty, and staff to enjoy.”  

“A quick smoothie from Jamba Juice is the best option, but certainly isn’t a meal. Any progress we made with John [Miller] and Dining Services has seemingly been wiped out with his termination and the closing of the Valley View Room,” Teasdale said. “If there is not another option for fresh foods upcoming, this will be quite embarrassing for UVU.”

“We would love to see UVU being more concerned with student’s health and special requests,” said Teasdale. The club plans on continuing the push for change and invites others to join, even if they are not vegan.

When asked about plans to implement vegan options on campus, Cindy Hatch of Dining Services said in an email to the Review, “We are genuinely concerned about the satisfaction of our students, faculty, and staff, and we are always working hard to meet your expectations.” She said UVU is looking into vegan choices to offer students. The new restaurants replacing the cafeteria are set to open during this upcoming fall semester.