Yale’s oft-neglected tofu apple crisp is finally getting its just desserts.
The University was recognized as one of peta2’s “Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges in America” last week. Peta2, the youth-focused division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, evaluated colleges based on the quality and regular availability of their vegetarian and vegan dining options and then determined the top 40 schools — 30 in the United States and 10 in Canada.
Peta2 received nominations from college students around the country through e-mails, the peta2 blog and the organization’s MySpace and Facebook pages, peta2 college campaign coordinator Ryan Huling said. The organization is asking the public to vote for the top school on its Web site and will declare the winner from among the 40 nominated schools in December.
The peta2 Web site lists several of the noted vegetarian meals at each school, including Yale’s.
Yale, which finished fourth in last year’s contest, was commended this year for going “above and beyond” in providing vegetarian and vegan options, Huling said.
“By offering delicious dishes, such as black bean burgers, curried sweet potatoes and Indonesian noodles, students can enjoy all of the delicious food they love, without having to support companies that torture and slaughter animals for food,” Huling said in an e-mail. “Yale has a proven record of offering healthy and humane dining options which are receiving rave reviews from vegetarians and meat-eaters alike,” he said.
In the Oct. 25 press release announcing Yale’s nomination, peta2 also praised the University for labeling all vegetarian and vegan meals for the benefit of diners.
Many students interviewed echoed Huling’s comments about the University’s wide range of options. Although he is not a vegetarian himself, Dan Bleiberg ’09 said Yale’s commitment to providing alternatives to meat is commendable.
“It seems like the dining hall makes efforts to provide a good slate of vegetarian options,” he said.
Vegetarian Cassandra Kildow ’11 also said she has been pleased with the vegetarian dishes available in the dining halls. In the rare cases when there are no enticing options, Kildow can usually find something to eat in the salad bar or make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she said.
But some students said Yale can improve its offerings for vegetarians.
“I think they have very limited options,” former vegetarian Florence Kwo ’09 said. “It’s easier for meat eaters or non-vegetarians.”
Andrew Feldman ’11, who is not a vegetarian, said he is personally satisfied with the current dining hall fare, but his vegetarian friend often complains about the dishes served.
Ernst Huff, associate vice president for student financial and administrative services, said Thomas Peterlik, director and executive chef of the Culinary Resource Center, keeps vegetarians in mind when designing residential dining-hall menus.
“He’s very talented and understanding of the dietary needs and preferences of our students, and he designs the menus accordingly,” Huff said.
Huling said peta2 commends colleges in order to spread awareness about vegetarianism among students and administrators and to encourage further inclusion of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly meals in college dining halls.
“[We want to] highlight some of the incredible work universities are doing to put vegetarian options on their menus,” he said.
Among the 40 schools that made peta2’s list are the University of Pennsylvania and Brown, Georgetown and Northwestern universities. According to the organization’s Web site, Peta2 will sponsor a party for the winning school.