JOAN-MARIE JEFFERSON: Growing vegan, vegetarian student population needs more food options


Having to change our eating habits is not the easiest thing to do.

Dietary limitations can restrict us and even just wanting to change our eating habits for a better lifestyle can be hard.

But imagine doing that on a college campus and going vegetarian and not having many entrees, meals or options that can help you make that change.

Some students at the Detroit Mercy can understand the feeling.

In our time today, going vegetarian and even taking it a little further and going vegan is not anything out of the ordinary.

More college students than ever before are changing their eating lifestyles.

According to a study conducted by Oxford University, the number of students going vegan and vegetarian grew by 183% in recent years.

Business major Ashley Buchanan (not her real last name) went vegetarian for personal health reasons and finds it hard to eat on campus.

“My daily grilled cheese and french fries are getting old,” said Buchanan.

There are not enough food options for those with special eating needs, she said.

“I personally went vegetarian for health reasons and eating on campus has been hard for me,” she said. “I expect to have a more open selection for what I can eat, especially paying for a meal plan. I just want more options.”

Transfer student Dior Alston can relate.

Even though she hasn’t fully transitioned to being vegetarian, she knows it will be challenging for her on campus.

“There are a few vegetarian options on campus, but the food quality is not the best at times,” Alston said.

Aterea Boggan understands completely. She believes that something needs to change on campus for vegetarian and vegan students, though she is neither.

For those days when you need a little more motivation to keep the vegetarian run going, simple tips can make life easier.

First, use your microwave.

Foods like oatmeal and quinoa are great for vegetarians and you can spice it up however you want.

There are also vegetarian frozen meals that will make eating on campus easier.

Second, set an appointment with the dining hall managerial staff and beforehand make a list of the food items you would like to have on campus.

Problems can easily be fixed with a plan and solution.

Lastly, make the salad bar in TDR your friend.

That’s definitely a safe place to eat that will always be there.