Chloe Ruffennach | firstname.lastname@example.org | Culture Staff Writer
Ohio University is a school that takes pride in diverse ideas and lifestyles. However, the school often drops the ball when it comes to encouraging unique eating habits. OU’s Culinary Services and marketplaces appear to not prioritize vegetarianism and veganism or have a complete disregard for these lifestyles.
Being a vegetarian at Ohio University means that you run the risk of getting a veggie burger that’s still frozen in the middle because the cooks don’t know how long it needs to be prepared. It means when people go to the market, they make a beeline to two specific sections of the store because those are the only spots that offer vegetarian-friendly meals. And it means when students eat at dining halls or flex-friendly restaurants, they’re limited to one or two items. Overall, being on campus means it’s difficult to maintain a vegetarian lifestyle.
Though, students aren’t to blame. The majority of them aren’t concerned with cutting meat or animal products from their diet. In most cases, being a vegetarian poses an inconvenience to the school more than anything. The university’s expected to evolve and meet the needs of these students. Evidently, OU throws vegetarians a bone by typically offering one meatless option per menu. There seems to always be at least one plant-based alternative but there rarely appears to be a meal that accommodates vegans, especially at campus restaurants like Latitude 39 and West 82. While OU is often conscious enough to provide a meatless alternative, there are rarely any appetizing options for people who have cut animal products from their diet altogether.
However, in a society that’s growing more and more plant-based, it means dining hall and restaurant menus need to adapt regardless of the inconvenience. As of right now, Ohio University’s Culinary Services and marketplaces could certainly be worse when it comes to providing plant-based meals, but they could also be better.
Eating meatless on campus is an adjustment, especially if students lack cars on campus. The options that are offered at OU are limited, to say the least. However, there are a few gems on campus that make maintaining a meatless lifestyle feasible. Jefferson Market offers several savory Indian meals that are both vegetarian and vegan. Whether it’s the Tasty Bite’s packets or Café Spice’s delicious trays, Jeff has the most variety when it comes to purchasing meals free of animal products.
However, if students are looking for diverse food options, Boyd dining hall is most aware of students who eat vegetarian and vegan. Boyd has great pasta options at Noodled, several vegetarian sandwiches at Between the Bread, the occasional plant-based option at Carver’s Cut and Destination always allows for students to make their ideal meatless meal. It’s clear that there’s at least a conscious effort to make food that accommodates vegetarian and vegan lifestyles at Boyd. If your friends drag you to Nelson or Shively, I hope you enjoy lukewarm pasta sauce or a bowl of lettuce.
For a school that takes pride in environmentally friendly programs like recycling, OU seems to reject vegetarianism and veganism, to some degree. Instead of encouraging the healthy, eco-friendly diets of vegetarians and vegans, the university almost discourages these lifestyles by limiting food choices for their students. Fixing this problem is simple and doing so might even encourage others to adopt environmentally-conscious eating. Therefore, it’s on Ohio University to create variety or continue its evident indifference.