Before I came to Yale, I only knew two vegetarians, and one of them doesn’t even count because she’s pescetarian — also a word I hadn’t heard before I came here. I thought that vegetarians were strange, like curling players or people who don’t have Facebook. But once I got to campus and started eating in dining halls with other freshmen, I realized that the mantra “One in four, maybe more” doesn’t only apply to sexuality. Being raised in a Chinese household has made me immune to any food-induced disgust (pig blood jelly, anyone?), so it was fascinating to suddenly meet so many people who were not only conscious about the food they ate and where it came from, but also passionate about how they could change methods of food production around the world.
During Bulldog Days, another pre-frosh living in my host’s suite told me that Yale had attracted her because of its numerous vegan options. According to its website, Yale Dining offers fair trade coffee and tea, hormone and antibiotic-free chicken, and vegan and vegetarian entrées for every meal. Even so, the menus on some days can leave vegetarians and vegans wishing they had opted for a lighter meal plan. Sometimes, dining at Yale can play out like an episode of Portlandia.
On College Magazine’s ranking of the country’s “Top 10 Most Hipster Campuses,” Yale was ranked eighth, ostensibly due to it being “extremely vegetarian-friendly” and for its abundance of “oversize glasses and grandpa cardigans.” So is vegetarianism just another Yale quirk, like a capella or shopping period? Nah, the Yale College Vegetarian Society (YCVS) seems to mean serious business. Among its goals are “sharing information, experiences, and delicious food.” What’s not to like?