Kent State competes for title Most Vegan-Friendly School

Kyle McCallum

Kent State is in the running for peta2’s Most Vegan-Friendly College competition, PETA announced in a press release Thursday.

The nomination came after the Animal and Environmental Awareness student organization worked alongside peta2 — PETA’s youth outreach division — to gather more than 2,500 signatures in support of vegan dining options on campus, according to the press release.

“As concern for the environment and animal suffering grows, so does the demand for vegan food options, and Kent State is answering the call,” said peta2 Director Dan Shannon in the press release. “The best way for collegians to stay fit, reduce their carbon footprint, and help animals is to remove meat, eggs, and dairy from their diet.”

Kent State is competing among 34 schools in the Most Vegan-Friendly College competition. The competition consists of four rounds and a final in a bracket tournament. Round one voting ended Monday. Winners of the tournament will be announced Nov. 19.

Zane Powell, senior marketing major and Dining Services student marketing manager, said Kent State is catering to vegan students’ needs more this year than ever. He said Kent State is considered a vegan-friendly school because it gives many food options for students who decline to eat meat, dairy or any animal products.

“We are very open to suggestions,” Powell said. “We are working on awareness of vegan programs for students.”

He said Dining Services adds to its vegan options each year. For Fall 2010, Dining Services started its Veggie A-Go-Go program at Eastway and Prentice cafes. Students can call ahead at (330) 672-8901 to order from a vegetarian or vegan menu, allowing a 60-minute preparation time, according to

Eastway Café cook Jillian Shaffer envisioned Veggie A-Go-Go after she realized how much food was tossed out every night.

“I looked at it from a business viewpoint,” she said. “We came up with a made-to-order program that was less wasteful.”

She said the amount of vegan orders varies every day. Rarely do students order specialty vegan items like dairy-free cheese, she said. Shaffer said two popular vegan orders are the vegetable risotto and the Alpine vegan chicken casserole.

Powell said he became aware of students’ need for a diverse vegan menu through comment cards, a monthly survey and a food committee. Open student forums hosted by Kent Interhall Council addressed concerns and showed that students wanted a variety of vegan food, he said.

“We want to make students aware of vegan options,” Powell said. “I like to see more interest in healthy living.”

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