Wesleyan Named Most Vegetarian-Friendly College in the US

lisa_the_vegetarian

So PETA2 finally declared Wesleyan the winner, out of 38 nominees, of their Most Vegetarian-Friendly College contest, with Oberlin at #2 and American University at #3. The blurb about Wes reads:

The acclaimed liberal arts college, which has a history of social justice activism, lives up to the hype when it comes to vegan options. Some of the creative choices offered include veggie chicken red curry with steamed broccolini and organic jasmine rice, three-mushroom vegan ragu with penne pasta, and barbecue seitan. Following last year’s second-place finish, Dining Services officials pulled out all of the stops in 2009, even setting up voting stations around campus to rally support from their well-fed student population. These efforts, combined with the impressive range of vegan options available on campus, have helped secure the title of the Most Vegetarian-Friendly College in America.

This brings up an interesting debate: do these results have any actual meaning when students simply voted for their own college without much, if any, basis for comparison? Does the win suggest that Wesleyan actually offers better vegetarian options—or simply that our Bon Appetit/UCAB representatives are more motivated to bribe students with candy in exchange for votes? I suspect it’s the latter. I’m not a vegetarian. And I abstained from voting in the contest. Because, honestly, I have no clue how the hell Wes’s vegetarian options measure up to other schools’.

As one anonymous ACB commenter puts it:

Can someone explain to me how having students vote for their own schools without ever having seen any of the other schools’ options is at all a valid way to judge this? What happened to a contest with actual judging? You know, where actual experts or people with unbiased authority would go and sample and look, and then decide.

38 thoughts on “Wesleyan Named Most Vegetarian-Friendly College in the US

  1. archie p gordon

    i think the scheme is just so peta can get our emails. i already got like 20 emails from them….

    wesleyan obviously cares cause they gave me milky ways to vote for them. so they put in money which means they think they are getting something (monetary) in return. BUT:

    we still get milky ways.
    you can block peta’s spam.
    and now when your vegetarian friends complain about the selection you can say, “well we weren’t voted best omnivore friendly campus, so i think you should just have a little common decency, think about your vegetable fearing peers and shut the fuck up.”
    so it’s a win win win i think.

  2. archie p gordon

    i think the scheme is just so peta can get our emails. i already got like 20 emails from them….

    wesleyan obviously cares cause they gave me milky ways to vote for them. so they put in money which means they think they are getting something (monetary) in return. BUT:

    we still get milky ways.
    you can block peta’s spam.
    and now when your vegetarian friends complain about the selection you can say, “well we weren’t voted best omnivore friendly campus, so i think you should just have a little common decency, think about your vegetable fearing peers and shut the fuck up.”
    so it’s a win win win i think.

  3. Mad

    Jen – I guess you’re right in many ways, but I do think it could allow BA to get complacent about the vegetarian food they offer. Maybe it’s gotten a lot better this year, but at least last year, the veggie food wasn’t always up to par. A lot of the dishes at vegan were waaay too salty, or had completely undercooked rice, etc. And on the weekends, the more limited offerings overall are especially tough for vegetarians. Don’t get me wrong, the vegetarian food is pretty good and I never had any major problems finding something good to eat, but I seriously doubt it’s the best vegetarian campus in the country.

  4. Mad

    Jen – I guess you’re right in many ways, but I do think it could allow BA to get complacent about the vegetarian food they offer. Maybe it’s gotten a lot better this year, but at least last year, the veggie food wasn’t always up to par. A lot of the dishes at vegan were waaay too salty, or had completely undercooked rice, etc. And on the weekends, the more limited offerings overall are especially tough for vegetarians. Don’t get me wrong, the vegetarian food is pretty good and I never had any major problems finding something good to eat, but I seriously doubt it’s the best vegetarian campus in the country.

  5. Jen

    Bon Appetit does not have any say in the admissions process, and having richer kids at the school does not affect their bottom line whatsoever. This award helps them look good compared to other Bon Appetit accounts at other schools, which could help attract vegetarian-focused food service staff or bring other resources here. There’s really no downside — BA isn’t going to slack off on making good food now that they’ve won the award.

  6. Jen

    Bon Appetit does not have any say in the admissions process, and having richer kids at the school does not affect their bottom line whatsoever. This award helps them look good compared to other Bon Appetit accounts at other schools, which could help attract vegetarian-focused food service staff or bring other resources here. There’s really no downside — BA isn’t going to slack off on making good food now that they’ve won the award.

  7. Anon

    This makes me want so mad! The reason Wesleyan/Bon Appetit put so much energy into waging this voting campaign is NOT because they actually care about vegetarian/veganism or the political reasons behind such decisions, but because they want to attract attention from media and get more people applying here. It’s all about money: they know that getting their name out there to the rich white liberal population of PETA subscribers will guarantee stable applications, with the exact demographic Wesleyan wants/needs to have. It’s green-washing, it’s activism-washing, and its shameful.

  8. Anon

    This makes me want so mad! The reason Wesleyan/Bon Appetit put so much energy into waging this voting campaign is NOT because they actually care about vegetarian/veganism or the political reasons behind such decisions, but because they want to attract attention from media and get more people applying here. It’s all about money: they know that getting their name out there to the rich white liberal population of PETA subscribers will guarantee stable applications, with the exact demographic Wesleyan wants/needs to have. It’s green-washing, it’s activism-washing, and its shameful.

  9. Student

    the vegan station is often lacking. sometimes it actually has NO FLAVOR WHATSOEVER. the staff should at least TASTE the food before they serve it…

  10. Student

    the vegan station is often lacking. sometimes it actually has NO FLAVOR WHATSOEVER. the staff should at least TASTE the food before they serve it…

  11. Anonymous

    if VDS comes back I will take all of the vegan dishes at Usdan and dump them on the floor. not joking.

  12. anon

    I’m a vegetarian, though not a vegan, and have visited several of my friends at other schools (mostly other top LACs) and their veg food doesn’t even compare. Really. At one school there was an article in their school newspaper about how vegetarians/vegans complain about there being not enough options, and responses from other students were that “there is always 1 veg option at [one specific dining hall in the whole school], and that’s all they should need”…

  13. anon

    I’m a vegetarian, though not a vegan, and have visited several of my friends at other schools (mostly other top LACs) and their veg food doesn’t even compare. Really. At one school there was an article in their school newspaper about how vegetarians/vegans complain about there being not enough options, and responses from other students were that “there is always 1 veg option at [one specific dining hall in the whole school], and that’s all they should need”…

  14. ungrateful person

    The whole system of determining the most vegetarian-friendly college makes absolutely no sense to me. I guess, however, that it works as an indicator of how much the school cares about being vegetarian-friendly and wants to maintain that image, notwithstanding how much it actually tries to actually be vegetarian-friendly. Which is kinda pathetic.

  15. ungrateful person

    The whole system of determining the most vegetarian-friendly college makes absolutely no sense to me. I guess, however, that it works as an indicator of how much the school cares about being vegetarian-friendly and wants to maintain that image, notwithstanding how much it actually tries to actually be vegetarian-friendly. Which is kinda pathetic.

  16. Barry

    While it’s embarrassing that Bon Appetit bribed us to vote for them (and I really don’t want to hear them tooting their own horn about this for the next year), the real problem lies with Peta2. They’re the people who set up this bragging-rights contest that has absolutely no scientific merit. In other words, Peta2 created a pointless bandwagon (likely to get their own name out there) that BA stupidly jumped on.

  17. Barry

    While it’s embarrassing that Bon Appetit bribed us to vote for them (and I really don’t want to hear them tooting their own horn about this for the next year), the real problem lies with Peta2. They’re the people who set up this bragging-rights contest that has absolutely no scientific merit. In other words, Peta2 created a pointless bandwagon (likely to get their own name out there) that BA stupidly jumped on.

  18. Vegan and Furious

    Not only are the results invalid and misleading as the wise ACBer pointed out, but the vegetarian/vegan food here does not deserve to be celebrated. Is it better than some other schools? Quite likely. However the effort to award undue superlatives constitutes another deceptive marketing maneuver by those cosmetic experts at Bon Appetit.

  19. Vegan and Furious

    Not only are the results invalid and misleading as the wise ACBer pointed out, but the vegetarian/vegan food here does not deserve to be celebrated. Is it better than some other schools? Quite likely. However the effort to award undue superlatives constitutes another deceptive marketing maneuver by those cosmetic experts at Bon Appetit.

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