Dining Services was awarded an A rating on their Vegan Report Card for the month of October by Peta2, North America’s largest youth animal rights group.
The national organization created the report card to analyze how 1,150 colleges satisfy their students with their supply and quality of vegan food. The state average for Florida is a C, yet Rollins received an A with an 88 percent student satisfaction rate.
A spokesperson for Peta2, contacted by the organization’s information line, explained that Rollins received an A “due to their ability to successfully provide at least one vegan entree at each meal, offer non-dairy milk, label vegan entrees, label vegan desserts, include a vegan member on its student advisory board, promote vegan options, and offer egg/mayo replacements.”
The spokesperson declined to clarify what process Peta2 took to gather the data about the student satisfaction rate.
However, Cristina Cabanilla, director of Dining Services, said, “I am not certain if we have someone representing the vegan student body, but we are having a meeting about Dining Services on Nov. 14, where there will be a representative from Athletics, SGA, and other organizations and departments, as well.”
Even though Peta2 awarded Rollins with an A on its quantity and quality of vegan food, the organization still sees room for improvement. “Rollins is still lacking in its participation of Meatless Mondays, offering an all-vegan station, and having an all-vegan dining facility,” said the Peta2 representative.
The Dining Services team hosted a vegan expo last week in celebration of their A rating. They served free vegan meals, including mushroom stroganoff, stuffed artichoke wraps, meatless burgers, and gyozas.
Cabanilla said that the point of the vegan expo was to increase student familiarity with the on-campus vegan options. Cabanilla proudly said, “This is another effort the Dining Services Team is making to better communicate with the students.”
Additionally, Cabanilla also expressed her pride for Rollins’ A rating by Peta2. “We are very proud of the rating that we have and we are always looking for more diverse options for vegan students to have more nutrients.”
Many of the students who attended the expo enjoyed the food. Emmi Green (‘20) raved about the cuisine and is looking forward to choosing more animal-friendly options in the future. “The food was delicious. I am very happy that we had this expo,” said Green.
Donna Dormeous (‘21), another non-vegan student, said, “I love vegan food, but there are not a lot of options in the Campus Center. The closest vegan option is Ethos and that is really expensive. This event gives you more opportunity to go vegan, without wondering if you can or cannot eat anything.”
Nico Ellison (‘21) also commented on the lack of vegan options on campus. Ellison has been vegan for one year. “This is the first effort on campus that I have seen to include more vegan options and more people,” he said.
However, Ellison has noticed small improvements in vegan options around campus. “Over at the vending machines or at the quick service counters, it is getting a little bit better,” he said.
Despite the vegan expo, some vegan students at Rollins disagree with the score and hope that Peta2 will give Rollins the motivation and encouragement to offer more quality vegan options around campus on a daily basis.
Brock Simmons-Barfield (‘20), student life committee chair on Student Government Association, is very disappointed in the vegan options offered at Rollins. As a vegan himself, he sees flaws in how Rollins “only offers one vegan option at each meal and does not clarify whether or not the vegan option is entirely vegan.”
Instead, Simmons-Barfield proposed that Rollins should designate a specific day to offer two or three vegan options. “Offering one vegan option is not effective because if someone is allergic to the ingredients in that one vegan option, then they have nothing to eat.”
In the meantime, the Dining Services Team wants to hear students’ feedback and suggestions. Cabanilla encouraged students to reach out and share which options they want more of on campus.
If students want to become vegan representatives for Rollins, they can apply to become a Peta2 Campus Representative on the organization’s website. This role would provide an initiative to launch campaigns, participate in trainings, and hold vegan outreaches on campus.