Vegetarians have had enough

Students at Trinity speak out about the lack of vegetarian dining options

Trinity University has far fewer veggie delights than meaty entrees. At Steak ‘N Shake, the veggie melt is the only vegetarian dish available out of five entrees. At Mabee Dining Hall, there is only one dedicated vegan section out of the six total food stations. The statistics are similar for Taco Taco, Sandwich Shack and many Revolve restaurants such as Panda Express and Pap’s Burgers. In light of this, the Trinitonian interviewed impacted students for their opinions on Trinity’s vegetarian and vegan options, and it was clear they were unhappy with the limited selection. However, with the switch from Aramark to Chartwells, the number of vegetarian options on campus is set to increase.

Lucy Orosco, junior finance major, shared her frustration with Trinity’s limited and nutritionally incomplete vegetarian dining selection. She is one of many vegetarian students who struggle to meet their nutritional needs on campus.

“It’s very hard for a vegetarian to be at Trinity considering that you’re basically limited to Mabee for everyday meals which aren’t very diverse,” Orosco said. “In Freshii, no matter if you add meat or not they’re gonna charge you. Freshii’s the most balanced meal and the most expensive on upper campus and even they don’t have that many supplements for vegetarians. They are normally out of whey protein, which people rely on adding to their shakes to get that intake of protein that you normally don’t get from other options.”

There are multiple types of vegetarians, each with their own preferences on what animal products to consume. The most common vegetarian diet is ovo-lacto vegetarianism, where people cut out all meat but still consume dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Maggie Enriquez, sophomore environmental studies major, still eats some meat but tries to follow the ovo-lacto diet when she can. Her main struggle is having to go from place to place in Mabee to try to find an appealing option.

“Usually, the [black] bean burgers take 10 minutes to cook, so that’s not an option when I’m in a rush. Then, if nothing else looks good at the vegan station, I’ll go to the salad bar and get me a bowl of beans. A lot of people are like, ‘beans?’ But they’re pretty good if that’s all you can get that day,” Enriquez said. “And at upper campus I’ll get a bagel with some cream cheese and that’s it. There are not many great options.”

It is estimated that 10% of adults in the United States follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and 84% of them end up quitting. Some students came to Trinity as vegetarians and were not able to continue due to the scarcity of appealing meatless options. Ani Siva, sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major, is one such student.

“My parents are Hindu, so when I was younger I didn’t eat meat on Thursdays and Saturdays. When I came to Trinity, it had become a habit not to eat meat on those days so I tried to keep up with it, but the options weren’t appealing, so eventually I gave up,” Siva said. “In Mabee, there’s one option other than salad, and a lot of the time it doesn’t look appealing, so I really respect people that have been able to stay vegetarian at this school.”

As a member of Tigers for Ethical Dining (TFED), the committee involved in leading the switch from Aramark to Chartwells, Siva has made it a point to advocate for more diverse vegetarian options. He provided some insight into what kind of change will be brought about with the switch in food service providers.

“Freshii is going away, and I know that gives some alarm to people, but the new replacement for Revolve is still going to have popular vegan [and] vegetarian options. We’re trying to have vegan [and] vegetarian options available at each different dining concept,” Siva said. “Like in Coates we’re trying to get multiple options that are vegan [and] vegetarian or having the menu be customizable, for example, a burger place would have options between a plant-based patty, an impossible burger or a regular burger.”