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.