Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Dining Hall Ranked Vegetarian-Friendly After Menu Changes

The stuffed bell peppers, yams and other vegetarian options that sit on the upper level of O’Donovan Hall have caught the eyes – and the palates – of a national animal rights organization, which recently named Georgetown one of the most vegetarian-friendly colleges in the country.

Peta2, a branch of the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals geared toward young adults, named Georgetown one of the 30 finalists for the title of “Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges in America” based on student nominations, communication with the university and research through Facebook and MySpace.

“We felt as though it is important to highlight the fact that Georgetown has made a great effort in providing vegetarian options for its students,” said Ryan Huling, college campaign coordinator for peta2.

After 32 years of Marriott Corporation operating on-campus dining halls, the university signed a deal this summer with ARAMARK Higher Education. According to Kendra Boyer, marketing coordinator for ARAMARK Higher Education, this resulted in changes to the vegetarian menu.

“There are more selections available on a daily basis on the vegetarian station. We also have had guest chefs from VegAdvantage come to do a cooking demonstration [for O’Donovan staff] with their vegetarian products,” Boyer said. “Georgetown and ARAMARK worked together as a team to review what selections were available and to review suggestions that have been requested. We then had our chefs put together new menus for this station.”

VegAdvantage is a non-profit organization of chefs that teaches other chefs and food providers ways to expand their vegetarian offerings.

“As part of our transition to ARAMARK for dining services, we are hoping to continue to provide students with a variety of menu items, including organic and vegetarian choices, in response to requests,” said university spokesperson Julie Bataille.

According to Boyer, the most popular vegetarian option is the made-to-order pasta station with fresh vegetables. She said the fresh vegetable selections, quesadillas and risotto are also especially popular. A press release from peta2 highlighted Georgetown’s vegan wild mushroom and barley ragout, tofu stir-fry with orange-ginger sauce and vegan rosemary polenta with broccoli rabe.

Carter Lavin (SFS ’10), who became a vegetarian this year, said he thinks Georgetown’s dining services have provided him with various vegetarian options.

“I think Georgetown does a good job providing vegetarian options and should be recognized. Becoming a vegetarian was really easy,” Lavin said.

David Parkinson (COL ’08) agreed that the dining services have improved vegetarian options, but said he is not completely satisfied.

“In the past four years, [O’Donovan Hall] has done a better job, but as far as [university events with food] go, it is still not easy [to find vegetarian options]. I am kind of surprised Georgetown got nominated,” he said.

Peta2 is collecting votes for the top vegetarian-friendly university through Nov. 12 on its Web site.

This is the second year of the contest, which started last year after a number of college students contacted peta2 with comments about vegetarian options in their schools, Huling said. Georgetown was not a participant last year.

“We were receiving feedbacks from stories from students talking about vegetarian options in their schools. One in four college students feel vegetarian options were important to them, so we felt it was important to start recognizing that schools were making an effort to provide vegetarian options,” Huling said.

Last year, Indiana University-Bloomington snagged the top spot in the contest. Humboldt State University, the University of Puget Sound, Yale University and Purchase College rounded out the top five.

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