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Aramark grants students healthier food options

Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 01:04



A student organization hoping to bring healthier food and more dining options to USF students succeeded in working with Aramark to increase dining options available for vegans and vegetarians.

Students Protecting the Environment and Animals with Knowledge, (SPEAK) teamed with peta2, a youth-oriented animal rights group, to bring healthier food to USF students by asking students to sign petitions earlier this semester.

Megan Malek, president of SPEAK, said she showed the petitions, which included almost 3,000 signatures, to Dining Services.

They were very receptive to the ideas, she said.

"When we saw the mass of people that were interested in having better food, we started thinking about all the people that needed other options," Malek said. "So we went to dining services and they were very cool about it."

The dining services staff is trying to encourage students to tell them their needs because that is how they come to know what students around campus want, she said.

After SPEAK met with Aramark representatives, Dining Services began to implement the programs SPEAK wanted for USF students, Malek said.

She said Dining Services now has more accurate labels on food — healthier "grab n' go" snacks and a brochure listing the on-campus food options for vegan and vegetarian students.

Organic energy bars, soymilk, and veggie burgers are some of the new vegan and vegetarian options available to USF students on campus.

Colleen Mulcahey, faculty advisor for SPEAK, was one of the people who helped obtain signatures. Mulcahey said students clearly wanted more on-campus options.

"People were very interested in finding out how to find healthy and better options on campus," she said. "There were a lot of questions about special diets and how they find out about grab ‘n' go items."

Ryan Huling, college campaign coordinator for peta2, coordinated the effort to get volunteers. Huling said he feels that the signatures are a sign of success.

"Obviously when you have 3,000 petition signatures coming from concerned USF students — not necessarily all vegetarians either — it shows that this is something that needs to be addressed," he said.

Jenna Burns, Marketing Manager for USF dining services, said after meeting with SPEAK members ideas were discussed to improve vegan and vegetarian options.

"We now offer either vegetarian sausage and/or bacon during breakfast at both residential dining facilities," she said. "We also have veggie burgers and melts available at Beef ‘o' Brady's."

She said that dining services realized they needed to make students more aware of the offerings available.

"(This includes) an all-vegetarian station at the Fresh Food Company called Accents," she said.

Accents features an array of vegetarian options daily, ranging from black bean nachos, vegetarian burgers, "chicken" sandwiches, to churros and many other items.

She said lactose-free soft serve ice cream, which is both vegan and vegetarian friendly, is also available.

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Your name
Thu Nov 26 2009 18:36
the bomb
Thu Nov 26 2009 18:35
Your name
Thu Apr 9 2009 15:14
as a studen that eats at argos on a regular basis when I saw that 'lactose-free' ice cream was involved it made me happy. not because i'm vegan or vegetarian because i'm not (no offense) but because I'm lactose intolerant and to have an ice cream i could eat without getting sick is amazing.
It's nice to see the university listening to the students concerns and doing something about it
Your name
Wed Apr 8 2009 22:44
I'm sooooooooooo thrilled to hear about this....I am one of the vegans at USF that has been wanting better dining options. Yaaaay!
Karen Stockton
Wed Apr 8 2009 17:52
This is wonderful. I'd love to see more options (like the "chicken" sandwiches, avocado wraps, black bean nachos and soups made without chicken, beef or pork stock, vegetarian spring rolls, vegetarian indian foods) at the campus at TWU. We also have Aramark! We have some vegetarian items availabe. I hope they start changing the menu more...
Your name
Wed Apr 8 2009 13:34
Nice article! I never knew there were this many vegetarian options being offered on campus. Aramark should work on not just offering more variety, but also advertise and make students aware about all that is available. Great going!!
Stephanie Elea
Wed Apr 8 2009 10:12
This is great for vegans & Vegetarians to have more food options on campus, as well as those seeking healthier meal choices. Great Job Guys!!
Wed Apr 8 2009 09:54
I love this idea!! We have Aramark here, so does that mean that every university using Aramark will be using this idea? I think it's great!! Can we have a SPEAK at my university? Louisiana is very much into meat, so I'm sure there wouldn't be that many people to join, but we can always try. Great idea though!! Love it, and completely jealous!! I've been complaining to my school forever about it!!

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