Campus Dining Services adds vegan options to menus

Staying well and healthy in college begins at the various campus dining services.

Eating well promotes better concentration and focus. With empty stomachs, students are not able to keep their minds on studying or lectures. It is also easier to get ill when not eating properly. At Western Carolina University, Campus Dining Services strives for the best in order to keep students well and active.

Sarah Caruso, marketing coordinator for Campus Dining Services, explained what to look for this year.

“Both [the University Center and the dining hall] have gluten-free options. However, the dining hall has one area dedicated to address gluten-free options. Gluten free options at any of our national brands are limited to what the brand has available from their standard menu choices. The dining hall has gluten-free bread, pizza, or desserts available, and then students can mix and match other items to create a complete meal. Additionally, the C-Store contains a gluten-free section and several items throughout for students sensitive to those needs.”

On March 28, students handed out free vegan food options in an effort to promote a vegan lifestyle. Many students were excited about the event because they felt WCU did not provide for their dietary needs.

“Of course WCU needs more vegan options,” said Kayla Beavers, a WCU senior. “There are slim to none to begin with. We need this option available on campus because it is healthier and more humane. We should all support the use of cruelty-free meat and work towards reducing our impact. We need more healthy options instead of greasy pizza and warm chocolate chip cookies.”

“I definitely agree that we need more vegan food on campus,” answered Heather Hust, WCU student. “It is incredibly difficult to keep a vegan diet on campus. Mostly everything in the cafeteria has meat in it, which also makes it difficult for vegetarians to have a well-balanced diet.”

Caruso has good news for anyone wanting vegan meals.

“We try to accommodate a variety of different lifestyles and diets,” continued Caruso. “As an outgrowth of our commitment to healthy dining options, we are creating a vegan-only station located at the end of the deli station. It will include both hot and cold items, as well as sides to fill out a vegan plate.”

Also arriving this year, WCU Campus Dining announced on their Facebook page on August 8, that Freshens now offers crepes, salads and more fruity beverages.

When asked how many students had campus meal plans, Caruso said, “We had approximately 4,300 students on meal plans in the fall of 2011 and will have about the same amount this year.”

Caruso explained that the money for meal plans is to cover food costs, labor costs, utilities, insurance, uniforms, training, facilities, renovations and upgrades.

“Students may also always contact a location manager with concerns or request in order to get direct feedback. We encourage open communication with our students and are willing to help them find what they are looking for,” said Caruso.

Other on campus dining options include: Papa John’s, Chick-fil-A, Burger Studio, Starbucks, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Zoca, Panda Express and Freshen’s. On campus locations that do not accept DB points or block meals include Subway, Mad Batter Café and Rolling Stone Burrito.