Craig Taylor | Staff Writer
Duquesne students will see more vegetarian and vegan options on campus in the coming weeks.
Discussions between the Duquesne Vegetarian & Vegan Committee and Parkhurst Dining yielded new meat-free options for this school year. New dishes include fettuccini with roasted mushrooms, Masoor Dal curried lentils and couscous salad with roasted vegetables.
Duquesne Dining provides options for students of both vegetarian and vegan dietary disciplines; vegetarian food just doesn’t contain any meat, while vegan diets cut out any food or drink that comes from an animal, including cheese and fried products cooked with animal fat. Although some of the vegetarian items served on-campus do contain dairy, dining staff can prepare meals vegan-friendly upon request.
The committee held its first meeting of the semester on Tuesday. The group works to create a dialogue between students and Parkhurst Dining in order to expand vegan and vegetarian offerings around campus. Members also discuss their experiences as a vegetarian or vegan off-campus, and recommend local vegan-friendly restaurants and food recipes.
One topic discussed was the upcoming changes to the V2 station at the Hogan Dining Center. This vegetarian food section of the Towers buffet will have different lunch and dinner entrées this year, and will now serve students on weekends.
Parkhurst staff stressed the importance of feedback in improving their selection for vegetarian and vegan students, and asked that they submit suggestions to add to the menu.
“Our Parkhurst chefs are always looking for new and enticing menu ideas and recipes that will excite and inspire our ever-growing vegetarian and vegan population,” said Alyssa Oldham, Marketing Manager for Duquesne University Dining Services.
The V2 station changes come at a time when meat-free diets are increasingly common on college campuses, and Duquesne dining staff said that they are noticing a rise in the number of students asking for more meat-free options at dinnertime.
“Our cooks and team members who work in V2 estimate that they are serving double the amount of vegans this year over last year,” Oldham said. “We have also observed that a large number of non-vegetarians will often choose entrees from our V2 section because they feel that these are more healthy choices for them.”
To make finding vegetarian dining easier, Duquesne Dining provides students with a vegetarian and vegan guide. The pamphlet, which can be found on Duquesne University Dining Services’ website, lays out which options are available at each campus restaurant, and also labels items as either vegetarian or strictly vegan.
Vegan freshman student Jessica Hinterberger is impressed with the options the university provides for students who do not eat meat.
“I can’t think of a single time where I had nothing to eat,” Hinterberger said.
“Peta2”, an extension of the animal advocacy group PETA which gears itself towards young adults, gave Duquesne an “A” on their “Vegan Report Card.”
Reasons Peta2 cited for the high grade included providing at least one vegan entrée at every meal, promoting vegan options, and partnering with students in order to distribute vegan food.
Peta2 uses surveys of universities and student feedback in order to evaluate how accessible the school’s dining plan is vegans. In 2013, the number of colleges which either received an “A” or a “B” was 189. That figure increased to 540 by the end of last year.
The next Vegetarian & Vegan Committee meeting will be held sometime in late October or early November. In the meantime, Parkhurst encourages students to send in their comments and suggestions on how to best accommodate students with particular dietary needs.