Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Vegan students struggle for alternatives

““If you’re vegan, what do you eat?”

This is a common stereotypical question that is asked when people tell others they are vegan. Some would agree that being vegan takes a lot of dedication and commitment.

Giving up foods such as cheese, chicken nuggets and ice cream, can be a big deal for some. While there are alternatives for the foods they choose to give up, it’s different from the real thing.

As if it is not hard enough being vegan on your own, imagine being vegan on a college campus. It is difficult to find something you like and/or something that satisfies your dietary needs.

Plattsburgh State offers at least one vegan entrée at every meal. However, some students feel like there aren’t enough options available. Angelika Velez, a vegetarian student at PSUC, said, “The school does provide some vegetarian options, but it doesn’t taste as good as I would like it to. It lacks nutrients and flavor.”

A majority of colleges in the United States cater to omnivores, not herbivores. Even if the dining hall says the dish is vegan, it may not be. “All the places to eat on campus cater mostly to those that eat meat,” Velez said. “A lot, if not all of the vegetarian options still contain egg and dairy products.”

Kyle J Ainsworth wrote, “Offers few vegan options and then will offer options that are “vegan” but aren’t really such as French fries. They do not seem to understand what vegan truly even means.”, according to a review on peta2.com,

Being vegan and living on campus mean consistently eating in the dining halls.

“I eat in the dining halls every day mostly because it’s too expensive to eat anything else. I often find myself eating the same thing repeatedly,” Velez said.

The alternative for eating on campus is cooking. You can purchase groceries from your local supermarket, and cook it in your residence hall’s kitchen. However, buying organic foods can be more pricey than regular foods. “Organic foods are ridiculously expensive. We should not have to pay an arm and leg for a fruit or vegetable that is coming from the ground,” Velez said.

According to peta2.com, a registered U.S. charitable nonprofit organization, PSCU offers nondairy milk, labels vegan entrées and desserts and includes a vegan member on its student advisory board.

Although PSUC has made an effort to recognize that there are vegans on campus, there are more things that can be done. Participating in meatless Mondays throughout some dining halls is a step PSUC can take to help vegans and vegetarians have more dining options.

Building an all-vegan/vegetarian dining hall is another action that can be taken to help vegans and vegetarians feel more accepted. PSUC can also promote vegan options better so students can be more aware of the other alternatives.

Awareness for vegans and vegetarians in colleges has been on the rise since 2013. The number of vegan-friendly schools has been on the rise, and is still increasing. It is not a major issue; however, it needs more attention than it is given.

For now, make sure to check out the options PSUC offers in Algonquin and Clinton Dining Halls.

Email Tamiyha Carter at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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