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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letters to the Editor: (Response to ‘Vegan,’ 3-07-08)

Published: March 14, 2008
Section: Opinions

Dear Editor,

Thank you for publishing an article highlighting the difficulties students are encountering with finding vegan options at Brandeis. Before I get into addressing that, I would like to offer one correction. Veganism is not extreme. It’s a sane response to an extreme world, one that finds it perfectly normal to kill sentient beings for no good reason.

I am pleased that so many Brandeis students have seen that veganism is the clearest path to living consistently with ones beliefs that animals matter. I am also encouraged that vegan options have recently been added to various food service outlets at the school, though it sounds like few people are aware of them yet. Perhaps the article will go some way toward rectifying that.

I would encourage the students to band together as a group to support each other’s choices, whether working as a student group to negotiate better menu options or to simply help each other to eat better. As director and co-founder of the Boston Vegan Association, I have found that, for many of our members, simply being part of our vegan community can make all the difference.

It pains me to see a crew member putting a sport over her ethics regarding animals (as I know it pains her). Hopefully Stamieszkin will find the newer seitan and tempeh offerings a good source of energy, particularly the protein she was worried about. Most athletes don’t even need that much more protein than the rest of us. They simply need a lot more energy. If they are consuming a variety of healthy plant-based foods in abundance, there should be enough protein in the mix already. The key is for the dining facilities they rely on to provide enough varied, healthy plant-based foods to meet their caloric needs every day.

In terms of support, I would be very happy to speak to any of the vegans at Brandeis (or anyone considering going vegan). I’m also available to speak to Executive Chef Mathew Thompson, any classes with an angle on the subject, or to the student body as a whole. I can be contacted through our website at

– Eric Prescott


Boston Vegan Association

Dear Editor,

In response to your article “The vegan kind of life” (3/7/08), it was disappointing to read that Brandeis students who are seeking healthier, more humane dishes on campus are struggling to find the options. When you consider that a recent survey by Aramark, a leading food service provider, concluded that nearly a quarter of college students are actively seeking out vegan options when they sit down to eat, it would be a shame for Dining Services not to respond to this demand. This is not to say that a quarter of Brandeis students are vegan, but many students want to have the options available at every meal, for reasons ranging from their own health, to environmental concerns, and of course cruelty to animals.

As Gelb and Behrendt touched on in the article, students are horrified when they discover how animals are raised and killed for food on factory farms. Chickens, for example, often have their beaks sliced off with hot blades, while cows and pigs are skinned and dismembered, many while still fully conscious. If this kind of abuse were inflicted upon cats or dogs, it would result in felony cruelty to animals charges.

Dining Services mentioned that they are aiming to expand the vegetarian and vegan options available in the coming semesters, so hopefully the situation will improve. With so many mainstream restaurants, including Burger King, Denny’s and Ruby Tuesdays adding vegetarian and vegan options to their menus, and colleges like Boston University and Wellesley making significant strides in their dining options, it’s imperative that Brandeis keep up with this shift away from cruel and unhealthy meat-based dishes.

– Ryan Huling

College Campaign