Every day, my roommate (who shall remain nameless for the purposes of this article) and I unavoidably enjoy at least one meal in the Lawrence Dining Hall. I myself am usually able to find adequate (though perhaps not entirely satisfying – but that’s a discussion for another article) meals each time. She, however, is on a “Pescetarian Diet,” which in layman’s terms means that she is a vegetarian – no meat (with the exception of fish) and no meat by-products. For her, this makes eating at Lawrence, or really anywhere on campus for that matter, slightly more difficult. For a vegan (no meat, no fish, no animal products at all – which includes, among other things, dairy), even more difficulties ensue. Now, perhaps I am taking liberties by saying this, but I think I can safely assume that my roommate is not the only herbivore on campus. With a student body as large as West Chester’s, the number of students who don’t eat meat must be fairly high, especially in the recent years when being a vegetarian has become slightly more popular as a life choice. So it begs the question, why aren’t there more options for people who, like my roommate, choose to consume little to no meat?
Of course, we have Lindsay’s Garden in the Lawrence Dining Hall, and some vegetarian wraps are available in the Ram’s Head at the Sykes Student Union. Every once in a while, there will be a large urn of veggie soup that may or may not be animal based. But aside from a salad at Lawrence, these are about the only options for students unless you want a bagel for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and even that can become difficult when you examine the animal byproducts used to make most of the foods we eat every day). As for Lindsay’s Garden, I applaud “Lindsay,” whoever she may be, but even this option is fairly new to West Chester, and only offers two options a day: breakfast, and lunch/dinner. The Diner offers a few more options for vegetarians(but not vegans) with grilled cheese, waffle fries or a cheese quesadilla. Let’s not get into the discussion of a vegetarian who prefers “healthy” food. These, however, conclude meal options which one can pay for with their meal plan. Larry’s Market offers some nice vegan meals, and the Ram’s Head has a few more options as well, but in order to indulge in these delicacies, one must front either the Ram Bucks or the Flex Dollars to pay for it, since a meal plan apparently won’t cover it. I will applaud West Chester for the options it does offer, and for the supposedly “Meatless Mondays,” though these are only an encouragement to students to try Lindsay’s Garden, and not an offer of more options to those who regularly don’t eat meat anyway.
I don’t know about you, but personally I don’t think I could enjoy the limited choices available every day for an entire school year. Eventually, having the same thing every day would probably get old and, I promise you, the lack of options is not for lack of searching. Even some of the “non-meat” options available are prepared with animal byproducts, which is also a no-no for the conscientious eater.
So what can we do to make finding something to eat easier for students like my roommate? Perhaps some of the vegan options in Larry’s could be purchased with student meal plans? Or maybe Lindsay’s Garden could offer a couple of different choices for lunch and dinner, instead of just one repetitious option. I’m just throwing ideas out, and perhaps, as a freshman, it’s not my place to complain about the matter at all. But couldn’t it be taken into consideration to offer some more options for students who need them?
Kiersten McMonagle is a first year student at West Chester University. She can be reached at KM745613@wcupa.edu.