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Ohio State offers vegan options, some students not satisfied

Awareness of veganism is on the rise, and some college campuses are adjusting their dining to accommodate the specific dietary needs of the growing vegan population.
Karri Benishek, marketing manager for University Residences and Dining Services, emphasized the multitude of vegan options provided to students on campus, but said it wasn’t anything new for Ohio State.
“We have always had vegan options, we’ve just never talked about them,” Benishek said.
In the past, students have had the option to talk to dining hall chefs about accommodations for dietary needs and preferences. Now, OSU’s NetNutrition website has specific filters for vegans and vegetarians for all on-campus dining facilities.
Although OSU’s dining services are not specifically advertising vegan options, they are showing their availability. During the housing process, students can self-disclose dietary preferences. They can also meet with an operations adviser or dietitian to monitor their nutrition needs.
Hayley Howard, a second-year in French, is a vegan and said she finds meal options to be pretty scarce on campus.
“If I need to find something, I can,” Howard said. “Usually I can find one to two things, but that’s it. I usually end up eating salad wherever I go.”
Some of these foods include three-bean vegan chili, vegan pasta sauce, egg-free pasta, romesco salad, various whole grain salads, vegan lasagna, basmati rice with squash and tempeh, vegetarian baked beans, vegan chickpea stroganoff casserole, edamame putanesca, vegan fried vegetable brown rice and gluten-free vegan corn tofu fritters.
Vegan options can be found at Courtside Café at the RPAC, a fast, casual operation serving customizable pastas, stir-fries, etc., and at the gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian station at Kennedy Commons.
However, for health-conscious students like Kelsie Mistovich, a second-year in human development and family science, these particular dining facilities are not feasible for every college student.
“I usually just go to North Commons because it’s close to me,” Mistovich said. “I have gone to Kennedy, and they have a great selection, I just don’t have the time to go there all of the time.”
Mistovich usually resorts to items from the salad bar, but due to her low iron levels, she knows that she isn’t obtaining adequate nutrients from her meals.
“I find that it’s a challenge to eat at OSU,” Mistovich said. “But I’ve eaten at other colleges, and I can honestly say the vegetarian and vegan selection here is better.”
However, Howard said Dining Services shouldn’t focus on the depth of options, but on making them available in more places.
“OSU should focus less on putting more options at Kennedy Commons, and instead find good, vegan options that are available everywhere,” Howard said.
Veganism is a rising trend among college students across the nation, and OSU is the latest university to officially join in this movement, said Ryan Huling, manager of college campaigns and outreach for peta2, an animal rights organization.
Huling said college dining services nationwide have responded to the country’s doubling of college vegans in the past five years.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase of vegan options in response to student demand,” Huling said. “Students are horrified to learn that cows have their throats slit while still alive, and that chickens are boiled alive before becoming chicken nuggets. When students become well-educated of the inherent cruelty of the way the animals are killed, they want their university to provide alternatives to this.”

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