vampire_fodder (vampire_fodder) wrote in vegan_in_school,
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Vegans and Residential Meal Plans

Hi, this is my first post here. I'm a part of my university's social justice society, and we're currently working on a project related to our school's food providers. At our school, if you are in residence, it's mandatory that you subscribe to a meal plan. Unfortionatly, our cafeteria's meal provider does not even provide very many vegetarian options, and next to no vegan options, and most of the food served in the meal halls are really unhealthy. As such, it's a total waste of money for any vegans/vegetarians in residence to have to pay for food they cannot even eat.

We're working on getting better food, and sometime in the future, having a student run alternative. Right now, we're working on a survey to get proof of how many students are unsatisfied with the meal plan (even the non veg*ns are upset with the quality of the food), and how many want to opt out. As students, what do you think would be some good questions for this survey? Also, what are your opinions/ideas regarding a student run alternative?

Thanks :-)

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  • 18 comments
You may want to do further research. They provide a lot of vegan/vegetarian options. You can choose from vegan balls, vegan patty, or vegan nuggets. Not to mention all the fruits and veggies. Plus, soy milk. I was shocked at how many choices there are. I've talked to vegans at other schools and they have basically no choices.

Although, I do agree with you on the low quality of the other food.

We've been working on this since september, and in the meal halls there is next to nothing. They have one so-called vegan/vegetarian meal a day, which nine times out of ten is not vegan, and nothing on sundays. Things got slightly better over the last few weeks, mostly because the company was tipped off about the research we're doing, but we doubt it will be a long term change.

What company provides food at your school? The company we're dealing with is Sodexho.



i think the best thing youre gonna end up getting is during the week stuff. usually they have different chefs on the weekends cuz its brunch and no one cares about vegans so they try to ignore us all together. like, at my school we got them to serve a vegan entree every day, but for some reason on the weekends, nothing chanegd. its brunch and the only think i can have is salad bar or a hash brown, if they have it. we absolutely could not get them to change anything on the weekends.

i was dealing w/ chartwells.

my suggestion is talk to the head of dining management at your school and ask them to schedule a meeting to talk about this. get lots of people together and tell them that they arent meeting your dietary needs and its not fair beause you have to pay for the meal plan just like everyone else, so you should be getting food you can eat.
We've done so, but they're claiming (despite the many people who are backing us), that we're too much of a minority for them to bother with us. Also, when we've requested access to their statistics, they've claimed that they have none. For these reasons, and in order to find out what students want as an alternative to the meal plan, we're doing the survey before we take any further action.
this may not be exactly what you're looking for at all, but frankly i'd be set with simply eliminating the dining hall requirement. my school (emerson college, in boston) claims to have vegan options, but the cooks do not prepare them correctly, and yet i am still required to have a meal plan, which usually consists of bananas and spinach. but hey, good luck.
I'm not sure aobut your school, but at ours (UNB, Fredericton)there isn't really a way for students to have much of a place to cook anything (anything that requires more than a microwave at least). There's a student "kitchen" in each dorm, but there isn't anything there other than microwaves, and they aren't allowed to have anything with an open element.

Being able to opt out of a meal plan is good to have as an option, but without a real alternative to eating in the meal halls, students are still left without a real choice.

Anonymous

11 years ago

bentandroid

11 years ago

bentandroid

11 years ago

I recently filled out such a survey in my school.

Some of the questions were basic, "Rate the quality of the food," "As a vegan, how many choices would you have per breakfast in the dining hall? Lunch? Dinner?" "If you had the choice of purchasing a meal plan or not, would you?" "Do you ever feel as if the food you are served is basically unedible?" "Have you ever gotten food poisoning from the school food?" (Just kidding with the last two, although, that's what I got for eating at my school's dining hall. I don't any more.)

Co-ops (as a student-run alternative) work really well in a lot of schools. From my understanding, students go off the meal plan and put in a certain amount of money towards food for the co-op, and then take turns sharing the labor--shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.
In some schools, there are different co-ops for different requirements--kosher, halal, vegan, allergic to gluten, etc. etc. etc.

That's all I can really think of in terms of student-run alternatives...in my school, you mostly live in apartments after your freshman year and so if you don't want to purchase the meal plan you can just cook your own food...are you required to live in dorms without kitchens all four years?

It also depends on what school you go to. At my school, being in a city, there's a wealth of vegan options in the neighborhood, and recently there's been a push to get those restaurants to accept the meal plan. (The meal plan at my school is overly complicated, and has dining hall money and restaurant money, which are 'points' that are basically a set amount of cash. If your meal costs 6 dollars, they subtract six points.) If your school is in the middle of nowhere, (or even if its not), perhaps they could build a food court of some sort? For alternatives to the dining hall?


Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
What we've really been considering is something in the vein of a food co-op, but we need to look at what other students would be interested in before we do anything.

At our school there is only one dorm with anything that could be considered a decent kitchen, those students don't have to use meal plans, but the dorm is a fairly small one. If you choose to live in dorms throughout all four years (which many students do, we have a high amount of international students, chances are you will spend all of those, in a dorm without a kitchen.

Our school (UNB, in Fredericton) is located in a small city, so there aren't many resturants near cmapus. We have a food court, with about 3 fast food places in it, but Sodexho, our food services provider gets to choose what is allowed in.

I'll definatly let you all know how this progresses.

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vampire_fodder

11 years ago

Sorry. For some reason I thought I was looking through the Northeastern University category. The company that supplies our food is Chartwells.
no porblem : )
*problem.. you know what I mean
A friend of mine did a similar survey. One of his questions was worded: "Would you like to see vegan alternatives alongside the current selection of food?" or something like it. And he gathered signatures right outside the meal hall for a couple weeks. It was a small school, and he was able to gain a significant portion of the school's signatures, and appropriately they had vegan food starting the following week. :-)
I know when I was at Marlboro (VT), we had a great survey put out by our food committee, which ended up showing that we did, as suspected, have a gigantic veg*n population. funkelnagelneue was definitely involved in that; if you drop her a line she might be able to pull something up for you to work with.
Take it to your student council.

We got a salad bar in my 2nd year of college through this method.