Students have one area that presents us with a greater challenge than most individuals face in their daily livelihoods, and that’s eating healthy. For instance, some lunchtimes I walk into the Sonoma State University cafeterias and leave without finding anything suitable. As a vegan student, there simply aren’t many options to choose from on campus. Healthy eating nowadays has become an obsession to many people, hence leading them to be more cautious about what they are eating or drinking.
Here at Sonoma State University, it is a requirement that Sonoma State first time freshmen have meal plans, which means that they don’t much of an option other than to eat what’s served by the school cafeteria. Mashed potatoes, green salad, beef, pizza, fries and chicken are some of the regular options on the menu at Sonoma State..
There is no denying that there’s a variety of options to choose from at ‘The Kitchens’, located on the first floor of the Student Center. There’s even a vegetarian section including lots of fruit and vegetables to choose from. As a regular student who eats at The Kitchens, I have noticed that there isn’t a section entirely reserved for vegans.
Vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans in addition to being vegetarian, don’t use other animal products or by-products such as leather, honey, wool or even soaps derived from animals. According to a survey conducted by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals meat and dairy-free menu items have become one of the hottest things on college cafeteria menus. They surveyed nearly 1,500 four-year colleges.
“The cafeteria includes vegetarian students, but not quite so much of the vegan ones,” said vegan and freshman business major John Mil. “As a freshman with a few years to go, I hope that sooner or later vegan students will have many options just like students who aren’t vegan.”
“The main cafeteria itself has a vegetarian section, but there’s also meat being served in that section too. I have not noticed any vegan section yet,” said Josh Matkins, a freshman business major who has a meal card and eats quite often at The Kitchens. “We have a vegan section, but it’s not as popular as the vegetarian section,” said Daniel O’Brien, acting chief of Culinary Services at Sonoma State. “Any students with special dietary needs are always catered [to at] Sonoma State. All they have to do is make a request to the culinary department and special arrangements will be made to cater for that particular student.”
Though students have an option to choose what and where to eat, it’s important that Sonoma State students understand that just like UC Davis and University of Washington, our campus offers options for vegan students. Students can request to personally meet with the executive chef, to discuss their diet concerns as well as make a comprehensive plan on what they prefer eating.
Vegan options may not be as accessible as the vegetarian option, but for vegan students in search of a meal, the chance to meet with a chef is too good to pass up.