Almost every incoming freshman wonders how to avoid the infamous “freshman fifteen.” With the help of Glar, I have found a solution: veganism. The stunning lack of options in the dining hall reduces the dinner choices to mass-produced steamed vegetables, strange looking “fresh” fruits, or the same hummus and pita they put out at orientation. The onset of starvation is inevitable.
When selecting a college, I considered size to be of utmost importance – too big and the odds of encouraging change while working with campus staff is unlikely; too small and the idea of change for a certain demographic may be ludicrous. I may be the only vegan at a terribly small school, while a larger undergraduate institution may have a large vegan population. I chose to go with small and take my chances; I was sorely disappointed. In her article regarding healthy eating in colleges, freelance author Manya Chylinski states that “[m]ost schools have a variety of food options in the dining halls, including vegetarian, vegan, foods for students with allergies and special dietary needs.” Most schools…where does McDaniel fall in that category? One could argue that they provide options – you are allowed to choose between the wilted lettuce possibly treated with MSG and the hummus you saw stirred up to fix the natural separation of oils that has taken place each night for the three-plus weeks that it has been served. The outlook on successfully nourishing yourself as a vegan forced to eat in Glar is bleak.
However grim the prospects of change may appear, it is possible. One graduate student at UC-Berkeley found the options quite limited…and did something about it. The remarkable part was that he was successful. This was perhaps due to the fact that, according to Vegetarian Times, “[a] poll of dorm residents [at UC-Berkeley] found 15% are vegetarians and 5% are vegans” (Parr, “Vegan Victory on Campus”). Regardless of the size-per-demographic, changes should be made when there is an issue. Students with Celiac disease are not forced to eat gluten, or made to eat sub-par meals – why should vegans be forced to suffer the true brunt of the “Glarbage?”
McDaniel College does not have to “go vegan.” Instead, a wider variety of quality vegan items ought to be offered in the institution’s cafeteria – freshmen are EXPECTED to eat at Glar; it should be second nature for the kitchen to prepare nutritious items that all students can consume, regardless of their consumptive orientation.
Chylinski, Manya. “Campus Wellness & Fitness.” Careers & Colleges 28.3 (2009): 12-14.
Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.
Parr, Jan. “Vegan victory on campus.” Vegetarian Times April n212 1995: 19. Academic
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