Group Petitions for More Vegan Dining Options

According to PEACE founder Alisha Utter, the organization gathered over 2,000 signatures on a spring 2010 petition, and has since gathered an additional 2,000 signatures on its fall 2011 petition.

After compiling both petitions, PEACE met with university dietician Becky McDivitt and Dining Facilities Executive Chef Vaughn Vargus to discuss the feasibility of adding more vegan dining options.

“We compiled countless vegan recipes that were feasible for large-scale production and mailed them to [McDivitt],” Utter said.

McDivitt and Vargus were eager to address the group’s concerns after the spring 2010 meeting, Utter said, but no changes have been made since the group met with them again this fall. As a result, PEACE is still waiting on Housing, Dining and Hospitality to move forward.

UCSD spokesperson Christine Clark declined to comment on the delay, but stated that UCSD was recognized as one of the most vegan-friendly colleges in the country by PETA this month.
Utter said that this ranking is misleading.

“This ranking is a result of misinformation being distributed by UCSD dining services,” Utter said. “A majority of the items on the Internet list entitled ‘Eating a Vegan Diet at UCSD’ [which PETA used for its ranking] do not even exist or are not vegan. I have since gotten in touch with PETA to update them on the reality of the lack of vegan options at UCSD.”
Utter said she is also concerned about the labeling process used for menus.

“When proper labeling is not incorporated, the staff is informed of ingredients by the chefs, who are informed of ingredients by the executive chef,” Utter said. “I don’t want to base my diet on a game of telephone.”

PEACE hopes that this initial request for proper labeling will be a first step toward expanding and improving plant-based foods available on campus, Utter said.
A Housing, Dining and Hospitality representative could not be reached for comment as of press time.