Upper Commons rated A+ for vegan options

By Nicole Parent l Herald Contributor

Looking around in Upper Commons, students might spend some time admiring all the vegetarian and vegan options. These efforts have recently been recognized. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) gave RWU an A+ rating on its online vegan report card. This rating is based on public information about the university’s dining service that was available to the organization.

On their website, PETA stated the university met every one of the criteria, except for having an all-vegan dining facility.

There were multiple standards to meet in order to receive this high rating. Some of these include offering at least one vegan option per meal, promoting vegan options and participating in meatless Mondays. 

According to Joseph Solmonese, retail manager for dining, the university was not aware of the rating nor were they trying to meet any of the criteria for the rating.

Solmonese states that Bon Appetit, the dining service provider on campus, “is trying to move away from meat proteins to more vegetable proteins” and “toward more plant-forward diets.” This results in increasing the amount of vegetables that are being consumed, and more vegan and vegetarian orientated dining services being offered on campus. 

According to the PETA vegan report card website, since 2013, the number of schools that have received an A rating has more than tripled, suggesting there is an interest among the student population for this type of service.

Solmonese agreed, saying that for the current generation of students, there is more of an interest in vegetarian and vegan options.

“It’s actually easier to get someone to come over to the station,” he said.

This shift in the student culture has prompted Bon Appetit to change some of their dining services, in order to accommodate students’ dietary preferences. 

Most importantly, Solmonese suggests the student body incorporate more vegetables into their diets, for their own health and well-beings. 

“It makes you feel a lot better. If you eat a lot of animal protein, you kind of feel weighed down throughout the day.”