Binghamton University students may be greeted in the spring semester with additional vegan and vegetarian options in all resident dining halls.
Through ongoing collaboration with the Student Culinary Council (SCC), BU Dining Services (BUDS) may be looking to roll out new vegan and vegetarian entrees in response to the growing demand expressed by the student body.
Charlie Williams, campus executive chef, spoke on the process of creating this initiative to produce more vegan and vegetarian options for students.
“We are collaborating on an ongoing basis with the [SCC] to identify student needs and desires,” Williams said. “From there, we look to make impactful changes based on student feedback. We have heard the request through the SCC for additional vegan options, and it is something we are consistently working toward. We understand our student body is choosing to eat more vegan options, and we want to be able to meet that demand.”
In the past, BUDS has worked to improve dining options with other initiatives, such as the vegan station at the College-in-the-Woods Dining Hall, the vegan grill at Hinman Dining Center and the additional vegan entrees served from entree lines.
In addition to new vegan and vegetarian options that may be coming in the next semester, Sodexo will be working to promote old vegan and vegetarian items currently available to students through the development of a promotional pamphlet.
This pamphlet, available to customers in dining halls around campus and on the Sodexo website, advertises the various vegan and vegetarian options that have been made available to students, including “create your own vegan hash bowl” at the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center, vegan pierogies and empanadas at the College-in-the-Woods Dining Hall, buffalo cauliflower wings and tofu spiedies at the Hinman Dining Center, vegan paninis at the Appalachian Collegiate Center and more.
The pamphlet also provides customers with tips on how to attain key nutrients with a vegan or vegetarian diet in its “Dietician’s Corner” section as well as tips on how to use icons in resident dining halls to identify vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian (items which may contain dairy or eggs) items.
Evelyn Quizhpi, an undeclared freshman, said that many students would likely want to see more diverse food options.
“I know that a lot of my friends and probably a lot of kids on campus would like to see new items added to the menu,” Quizhpi said. “If they are planning on doing that next semester, I think it would be cool to see what they’ll come up with.”
Isabell Fitch, a vegetarian and a sophomore majoring in systems science and industrial engineering, said BU has a severe lack of vegetarian and vegan options and should offer more come the new semester.
“Obviously the school should add more vegetarian and vegan options,” Fitch said. “People who eat meat and dairy have at least five options between the hot food and prepared food. If you are vegetarian you are lucky to have two. If you’re vegan, you get an option every couple of days.”
Ana McKiernan, a vegetarian and an undeclared freshman, expressed hope toward the new vegan and vegetarian options offered next semester, offering suggestions for dining halls.
“As a longtime vegetarian home cook, I know they are overlooking so many delicious and filling meatless recipes.“ McKiernan said. “I would appreciate it if the Hinman [Dining Center] vegan station had a longer dinner rotation instead of the same five dishes every week. Overall, the best thing dining services can do for students who eat vegan and vegetarian is to open a dedicated vegan food station in every dining hall on campus to make it convenient for us to eat well throughout the day.”
The pamphlet can be found here.