University of Connecticut Dining Services received an A+ grade from peta2, a national youth animal rights activism group, on it’s Vegan Report Card.
“It [peta2] recognized us for our efforts as far as offering vegetarian and vegan items,” Dennis Pierce, the Director of UConn Dining Services, said.
UConn is one of only two schools in Connecticut to be placed on the Dean’s list for peta2’s Vegan Report Card; the other is Yale University.
Pierce said UConn has received this recognition from peta2 for the past few years.
“It’s pretty standard to have those options and I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve been recognized over the years,” Pierce said.
Peta2 began distributing Vegan Report Cards in 2013. Since then, the number of schools that received a grade of B or higher has increased from 189 to 629.
The organization assesses and grades the menus of college dining halls from across the nation based on the criteria of offering at least one vegan entree at every meal, offering nondairy milk, labelling vegan entrees, having a vegan student on the advisory board, promoting vegan options, partnering with students to distribute vegan food, having an all-vegan station, participating in meatless Mondays and having an completely vegan dining facility.
While UConn does not have meatless Mondays or an entirely vegan dining facility, it meets every other criterion and received a student satisfaction rating of 78%.
“You’ll always find vegetarian or vegan options at every meal,” Pierce said, “That’s standard.”
Peta2 is currently running a national campaign to help students “veganize” the dining halls at their schools as well as encouraging youths to pledge to go vegan as part of their larger fight against animal cruelty.
Pierce said that as veganism and vegetarianism became more popular, universities began to alter their menus to accommodate their dietary needs.
“As it [vegetarianism and veganism] became more mainstreamed, people realized it wasn’t a trend, it was a change in lifestyle,” Pierce said.
Pierce said UConn Dining Services has been providing vegan options for the past few decades.
“When I came here they were just starting [to offer vegan options],” Pierce said, “The demand was there.”
Pierce said UConn Dining Services seeks to provide options for students with diverse dietary restrictions.
“There are carnivores, fruitarians, we have alt-nivores who eat vegetarian one week and the next week do not,” Pierce said, “It’s our obligation to be able to provide all the options.”