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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

’Deis in PETA final four for most vegan

Published: November 5, 2010
Section: Front Page

Brandeis has advanced to the final four in a competition by the world’s leading animal rights organization to name the nation’s “Most Vegan-Friendly Campus.”

According to the college division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), PETA2, Brandeis is close to being given the title, best among small North American schools, for its vegan menus, dietary options and student involvement in pro-animal foods.

Students and community members may vote at the organization’s website.

“Brandeis has stormed to the top of this competition,” Ryan Huling, the assistant manager for collegiate campaigns, said, “and a big part of it is because it seems that the vegan options are popular with all students regardless of whether they are [vegan] or not.”

The competition judges schools on both the quality and quantity of options to eat vegan on campus. First place will be awarded by a combination of student votes, available at PETA2’s website, and analysis of offerings made by the group on other factors including actual menu options.

“Ultimately, PETA2 makes the final call, and looks closely at the vegan options and the votes online,” Huling said.

In the semifinals, Brandeis faces American University, of D.C., a former champion in the contest in past years and the 2009 runner-up.

“Brandeis is doing their best for the very top,” Huling said.

Students on campus indicated that any differences between the results as judged by PETA and first-hand experiences depended on who was asked.

“Brandeis is more vegetarian than most schools,” Eliana Light ’13 said.

“I really appreciate the vegan station in Usdan: it’s much better than even last year.”

Light, who originally became vegan for health reasons, said that beyond truly vegan options, Brandeis also has a decent amount of options for students just wanting to eat healthier, which vegan foods may help with.

Marisa Turesky ’13 disagreed, and said that she worried if things like butter or cream were added in small amounts to make preparation easier.

“A lot of vegans find it very difficult to be vegan here, from what I know,” she said.

“I think they should post ingredients so we know what is in even our vegan food.”

On PETA’s well-respected reputation among vegans and their ranking of Brandeis, Turesky said that it meant, “if we should be trusting PETA’s decision, than it needs to be better advertised—if PETA’s impressed, and yet on campus vegans find it difficult,” it should be looked i to.

“Perfect? No. But in terms of viable options, Brandeis is better than most,” Light said.

Huling of PETA said that more colleges, though, are expanding their vegan menus and that his organization had to add 80 schools to their list for the competition.

“It’s absolutely moving in the right direction,” he said, and “many options—even vegan jerky and vegan candy bars—are starting new all the time in response to student demand. PETA hopes that more see the inherent cruelty and vast inefficiency in killing animals for food.”