They pay the same amount for their dining plans as the rest of the Boston University student body, but it is clear that many vegetarian and vegan students feel as though their needs are not being met by dining services. The current amount of effort expended by dining services to inform students about their vegetarian and vegan options is far too lackluster.’
Vegetarian and vegan students recognize that they can’t expect BU to offer them as many options as their carnivorous peers, but they are correct in pointing out that the variety could be significantly better in the dining halls. A glance around any dining hall will reveal a vegan option, but all too often it is just another unappetizing tofu dish.Vegan students shouldn’t have to immediately look toward simply cereal or salad if they are not a fan of the bland vegan option that has been sitting out on the counter. Adding a pasta bar with assorted sauces to more dining locations on campus, as the Warren Towers dining hall has experimented with, would be one low-cost option that would appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike.
The real problem isn’t necessarily the lack of options, it’s the way these options are being presented in the dining halls. BU Dining Services spokesman Scott Rosario said that the dining halls use vegetable stock and Vegan Smart Balance instead of non-vegan products, but this is unknown to many students seeking vegan options. For this reason, vegan students may be avoiding several different kinds of food that they have been unsure of, and all it would take to fix the situation is a little education on the part of dining services. Students may not need a How to BU’ class to be made aware of what dining services is doing to reach out to vegetarians and vegans, but it wouldn’t hurt to post some of this information inside the dining halls.
A 2005 survey conducted by Aramark, which provides dining services for BU, found that a quarter of college students felt that having vegan meals on campus was ‘important to them.’ If this is the case, then the dining halls on campus need to be doing more to cater to vegan palates. It doesn’t require a whole lot of change, but it is an important responsibility that dining services needs to be taking seriously.