UT Dining received an A+ for their vegan options from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for the first time since it started grading schools.
Lindsay Wilson, registered dietitian for University Housing and Dining, said PETA released UT’s grade on their vegan report card at the end of October. PETA also recognized UT Dining as part of the Dean’s List, a group of institutions that rank highest for their vegan offerings, according to PETA’s website.
PETA used questionnaires, menus, public information records and student feedback to grade schools, according to their website. UT meets all of PETA’s standards except providing an all-vegan dining facility, according to a checklist on the site.
Wilson said vegan options usually change each semester based on student feedback. The Student Committee for Dining Diversity, established this year, provides an inclusive outlet where students can offer this feedback, Wilson said.
“We still include and encourage those following vegan and vegetarian diets to attend the meetings, but we have also opened them up to those that may have religious-type diets,” Wilson said.
Wilson said J2 Dining and Kinsolving Dining offer vegan friendly stations that include multiple side dishes and at least one vegan entrée and dessert. Wilson said the dining halls carry at least one vegan pizza option, as well.
Nutrition sciences freshman Divya Kashyap lives at Jester East Residence Hall and has been vegan for 3 1/2 years. She said eating vegan became more difficult when she arrived at UT.
“There’s always options, but they’re not always the best options,” Kashyap said. “A lot of the time they just have vegetables ... and some kind or grain or tofu, which is alright. I feel like they don’t try as hard to be innovative, because there are so many things that you can do with (vegan meals). They say that they have different kinds of vegan pizza, but when I go up to ask, they say they don’t have the ingredients for it.”
Psychology freshman Isabella Costantini said some vegetarian options at Kinsolving should accommodate both vegan and vegetarian students.
“I’ll see that they have something that’s almost vegan, but it’s only vegetarian, and I’m like, you could have easily made that vegan,” Costantini said. “Sometimes they’ll make tofu, but they’ll make it vegetarian not vegan, which is like the only protein source that they might have that day.”