Kent State ranked most vegan friendly school for second year in a row

Dianna Warwick

Veggie A-Go-Go


Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Vegan Dishes:

Buffalo Tofu Flatbread Wrap – $6.49

Vegan Wheat Pasta – $3.49

Sautéed Garlic Mushrooms – $2.49

Vegan Flatbread Pizza – $7.59

Vegetarian Dishes:

Vegetarian Manicotti with Marinara – $5.99

Sloppy Joe Sandwich – $3.99

For the second year in a row, at the beginning of the semester, PETA ranked Kent State at the top for being one of the most “vegan friendly” schools among large universities across the nation.

In order to determine which schools deserve this honor, PETA communicates with students from different universities throughout the country through surveys and phone calls, and selects the top schools based on the students’ feedback.

“It’s the people that use our facilities and our customers who have given us this nomination,” said Rich Roldan, director of Dining Services.

So what makes Kent stand out next to other schools? Roldan said a lot has to do with the university working hand-in-hand with those students who have special dietary needs.

“We do a lot of demonstrations and talk about different proteins and dishes with those who are very strict vegetarians,” Roldan said. “We work with these vegans on campus quite a bit.”

Roldan said Dining Services works with students as early as when they come for orientation to inform them about its vegan options. Dining Services talks to students ahead of time to understand their needs and wants.

Tia Marie Protopapa, marketing manager of Dining Services, also thinks Kent’s vegan food is readily accessible.

“I think it’s out there a lot. We don’t get many requests for more vegetarian items because it’s always available.”

One of Kent’s most popular services for vegetarian food is Veggie A-Go-Go. It’s a vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free take out that’s available through Prentice and Eastway Café.

If a student is looking for a particular vegetarian dish, they can call ahead and order items off the menu and Dining Services will prepare it for them. When their food is ready, they can go and pick it up. The menu is also available to view online.

One of the biggest reasons for this service is because there aren’t many people who want to eat vegan or soy based products, so Dining Services doesn’t want to keep food items out for too long, Roldan said.

“Over time the food starts to look terrible…so we decided we’ll make a real nice menu.”

Aside from Veggie A-Go-Go, students can enjoy a vegan pizza from Rosie’s late night delivery menu, or vegan sauces at JUMP Asian Express.

In order to make sure vegan students are getting the nutrients they need, Roldan said Dining Services works a lot with protein substitutes such as Gardein – a soy additive that has a texture very close to chicken and beef. There are also fresh, seasonal and organic vegetables available.

John Goehler, senior associate director of Dining Services and a campus executive chef, said he has been working with PETA for three years to come up with new vegetarian recipes.

“We meet about once a month and we basically cook with what we have in the kitchen,” Goehler said. We also talk about how things are going around campus vegan-wise.”

Although Kent was nominated by students as one of the most “vegan friendly” schools in the country, there are some students who feel it does not deserve this title.

Angela Cecys, freshman psychology major, is a vegetarian and thinks Kent’s vegetarian food could be a lot better.

“I think it should be more accessible,” Cecys said. “They should bring in more frozen products such as Morning Start, and more fresh fruit and vegetables at all times.”

But some students, like Danielle Contrada, senior zoology major, are the reason Kent received this honor.

“I think the vegetarian food here is really good,” Contrada said. “I remember always going to the hub or Eastway for veggie options.”

Contact Dianna Warwick at [email protected].