Campus dining caters to vegans


The choice to be a vegetarian used to also be a sacrifice, but USF is catching up with the times by adding more vegan-friendly options to on-campus dining halls.

To make this happen, USF SPEAK, a student organization that promotes animal rights, vegetarianism and veganism, worked with USF Dining Services to expand on more vegan-friendly choices.

“We have been meeting with (Aramark) once a month from May to December,” said Meghan McManus, an organizer of USF SPEAK. “I am impressed with the progress that was made to bring more food options to the dining halls.”

Vegan students at USF had both positive and negative reactions to the dining hall options on campus. 

Gabrielle Patterson, a sophomore, has mixed opinions about the vegan options in the dining halls. 

“They offer a good to moderate amount of vegan options and I mainly live off the stir fry station and black bean burgers, which they offer daily,” he said. “There are some options for vegans like me, but there is room for improvement.” 

Tim Crawford, a freshman, sometimes enjoys the dining hall, but has some concerns as well.

“The main issue with the meal plan is that as a freshman, they make you either choose the open access or 15 meals a week, if you live on campus, and it is hard for Dining Services to accommodate many different dietary preferences,” he said. 

In response, USF Dining listened to the opinions of students with dietary needs and provided new options for vegans and vegetarians on campus. One of the new changes to the dining halls is the addition of an all-vegan breakfast, which was started at the end of last semester. 

Ashley Horowitz, marketing manager for USF Dining Services, was excited about the new changes to the on-campus dining halls.

“For both fall and spring semester, we worked really closely with our dining halls to identify ways to implement new and innovative recipes that fall under the category of vegan and vegetarian,” she said.

Christina Berry, a dietitian who works with Aramark, explained the new changes at the dining halls.

“All three of the dining halls now have a hot vegan entrée, such as legumes, lentils, beans or tofu, which rotate daily for lunch and dinner,” Berry said. “Fresh Food Company and Juniper-Poplar (JP) have vegan stir fry, which is gluten free.”

Horowitz said students at JP dining hall and Fresh Food Company l should be satisfied by the new vegan breakfast.

 “We’re now featuring the ability to create your own tofu, potato, or vegetable scrambles, which provides students an alternative option for all students to expand their variety and awareness,” she said.