Veggie club resumes weekly lunches

    The Vegetarian Club and Vedic Culture Society resumed their vegetarian lunch service at the Student Center on April 23 after a three-week stoppage resulting from a dispute regarding their frequency of service. The club is now permitted to continue their service once a week on Wednesdays.

    Rachel A. Garcia
    Guardian

    “”It feels great to be back at the Student Center,”” said Goura Perey, president of the Vegetarian Club and Vedic Culture Society. “”This lunch is very important to me, as a strict vegetarian, but also to others who love to eat here for other reasons.””

    Perey said that since spring break she had met with numerous UCSD officials, working with university officials so that the club’s popular lunch could be reinstated for routine service. The organization’s efforts resulted in a compromise, where the club is permitted to serve lunch once a week at its regular Student Center location as long as the required paperwork is submitted and the health standards are upheld.

    University officials are optimistic that the settlement is fair to the club as well as the permanent food vendors.

    “”The compromise is that their service was frequent enough to help students who wanted a vegetarian lunch, but that it isn’t often enough to tilt the business of our vendors,”” said University Centers Director Gary Ratcliff. “”It’s nice to see they came to a resolution.””

    Before the lunch service at the Student Center was put on hiatus in late March, the organization operated its lunch service three times per week. Rob Porter, the owner and operator of Porter’s Pub, had brought the issue to Ratcliff’s attention once he started noticing that the vegetarian lunches “”looked like a restaurant open for business”” and that it was unfair for campus vendors to adhere to certain health codes while the club did not.

    According to university policy regarding “”Temporary Food Facilities for On-Campus Groups,”” campus organizations may be operated at a maximum of three days per quarter.

    The club was able to sway Environmental Health and Safety official Jon Schmidt toward a compromise for more frequent service than three times per quarter, Ratcliff said, because the group prepares its food at a county-inspected, off-campus facility. The club contended that their preparation facility in Pacific Beach is more on par with the stricter health guidelines of a permanent facility.

    Schmidt was unavailable for comment at press time.

    Supporters of the vegetarian lunch had mixed feelings about the once-a-week compromise.

    “”I really missed it when it was gone,”” said staff member Ted O’Connor. “”It would be really cool if it was five times a week.””

    Another patron said he thinks the Vegetarian Club and Vedic Culture Society’s presence on campus will convince other vendors to serve healthier, less-expensive food.

    “”Regulations aside, this is great food and good competition for others,”” said Chandler Jones, a nonaffiliate who works in La Jolla. “”I’d recommend others take a look at the club’s success.””

    O’Connor says he comes to the club’s lunches for the “”delicious food, cheap prices and friendly people.””

    The Vegetarian Club and Vedic Culture Society’s lunch is available on Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m. at the second floor of the Student Center. A donation of $3 per person is suggested to cover the expenses of food materials and preparation.

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