A new food option will be finding its way to a University dining Hall in the fall. The Oaks dining facility will be the first dining hall on campus with a vegan and vegetarian friendly station.
Associate Director of Operations and Wellness Daria Blachowski-Dreyer said that even though the number of students who identify as vegan or vegetarian is small, the number is constantly growing.
People who identify as vegetarian are considered to not eat meat. Vegan on the other hand is a lifestyle, said University Veg Club President Holly Sanderson. She said vegans abstain from any products tested or used on animals and foods like dairy, eggs and honey, for example.
Dining Services is currently in the planning stages for the vegan station. Blachowski-Dreyer said that they wanted to make a change in the way students view vegan and vegetarian meals.
“We want to present it in a different way to students who have not been exposed to it,” she said. “We want to give it a newer fresher face.”
Student groups on campus, like the Veg Club, are excited about the addition to the Oaks. They now know that they will always have somewhere to go that will always have options for them to choose from.
Chef Patrick Hannan is one of the executive chefs on the vegan station project. He said that the goal is to have the Oaks as a destination for vegan offering. The menu for the rest of the Oaks serving stations would not change.
Hannan also said that the menu would explore new and different vegan and vegetarian options. Each meal served will be balanced as well. The vegan station will serve a main entree, two to three sides and be accompanied by two to three dessert options, or one highlighted dessert.
Both Blachowski-Dreyer and Hannan want to use the station to educate students on what exactly a plant-based diet is. The student organizations are also on board for the education.
“We are very excited about the vegan station,” Sanderson said. “We are blown away at the opportunity.”
Students can expect to see the station next fall. It will be located in the Oaks in place of the “My Pantry” station. Hannan said there aren’t set menu items yet, but a template menu should be completed by the end of May.
Ingredients vegan food may include on the new menu:
Black Bean Burgers
(These are potential ingredients and meals; all subject to change)