SLUG REPORT > UCSC named ‘Most Vegan-Friendly College’ by peta2
Szechuan Sweet Chili Ginger Tempeh, Tofu Vindaloo, and Vegan French Onion Soup—these tantalizing meatless entrees are just a tiny taste of the vegan and vegetarian dishes dreamed up by Dwight Collins, the executive chef of UC Santa Cruz’s Dining Services.
Each of the school’s five dining halls feature many meat-free options in their daily offerings (soups, deli, stirfry, burritos, and so on), but the campus took its veg-friendliness to the next level when it joined the Meatless Monday movement last year. Now, the dining halls rotate so that one is completely meatless for an entire Monday each week. In addition, the school has implemented “Beefless Thursdays” as a way to curb their overall beef consumption (and subsequently their carbon footprint) by 10 percent.
These options aren’t just a hit with Slugs—the youth branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), peta2, took notice of UCSC’s commitment to meat-free dining and bestowed upon them the title of the 2011 “Most Vegan-Friendly College in America.”
The announcement came earlier this week, after UCSC battled it out against 32 other U.S. colleges in peta2’s sixth annual contest.
“UC Santa Cruz is a great example of how more and more schools are meeting the growing demand for vegan meals,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman says in a press release. “And as the school’s decadent dining options show, not only is vegan eating a great way to help the environment, our health, and animals—it’s also delicious.”
Collins’ doesn’t take all the credit, though: “I think that our commitment to diverse dining tastes as well as our commitment to organics and sustainability paved the way for us to earn this prestigious win,” he tells GT.
This isn’t UCSC’s first time in the race for “Most Vegan-Friendly College”—they’ve often come close to nabbing the title in years past. Candy Berlin, program coordinator for UCSC Dining, says the school utilized a number of methods to help secure this year’s overdue win. “It took a lot of hard work to get the word out about the online campaign and encourage folks to vote,” she says. “We used various methods of social networking to reach our students faculty and staff: Our campus Facebook page included a nice post, along with newsletter updates and emails sent to our meal plan holders and dining staff.”
Berlin says that prospective and incoming students are increasingly inquisitive about the school’s vegetarian and vegan dining options, and that a growing number factor it into their choice of school. With its ever-expanding variety of meatless choices, when it comes to attracting vegetarian students, it looks like UCSC has that win in the bag.
Learn more about Meatless Monday and UCSC’s decision to do it in this August 2010 GT article.