Cafeteria’s options make veganism difficult

For most students, Guilford’s cafeteria offers a wide variety of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Vegan students, on the other hand, have much more limited options.

Guilford has taken certain initiatives to adhere to the needs of these students, but can we do more?

Julie Elmore, manager of the vegan station, has done a lot to aid the students with these dietary needs by providing both enticing and filling food for everyone.  Elmore said that she believes there is always room for improvement, but she is wholly invested in her job.

“Well there is always room for improvement,” Elmore said. “I try very hard to make a delicious meal every day that I am there. It is the second most important thing in my life. Suggestions are always welcome. I spend a lot of my free time at home researching recipes and food trends. I consider it to be part of my job.”

There has been a great deal of improvement since Elmore’s taken on the responsibility of managing the vegan station. She has been doing it for two and a half years now, and she claims that, since she has been managing the station, business has increased by 400 percent.

Jenni Gardner, vegan for the last 11 months and a sophomore, explained that she became a vegan in protest of the meat and animal byproduct industry and for consumer rights.

Gardner chose to live in an apartment in the South Apartments this year in order to accommodate her dietary needs with a full kitchen but still faced some restrictions.

“The campus has limited options,” Gardner said. “I noticed at breakfast, for example, they either don’t have any vegan options, or they have nothing labeled as vegan options. Lunch is the best because of Ms. Julie’s vegan station, but at dinner they will often serve something that is not a full meal: for example, pesto cauliflower. That’s not a meal.  That’s a side dish.”

Gardner explained certain errors that she’s noticed in the labeling of food. She related a number of experiences where it was unclear what was and was not vegan. This can be deceiving and problematic for students with an already extremely limiting diet.

On moving forward, Gardner suggested certain changes that could significantly improve the dining experience of the vegan students on campus.

“(We need) better labeling, a breakfast option, a chef for dinner who understands vegan cooking and the dietary needs of vegans,” said Gardner. “(Maybe something) such as having a protein available that isn’t just the plain tofu that’s in the salad bar (would be good). We need to have legitimate meal options.”

Though Guilford has taken certain actions to better accommodate the vegan students to an extent, there are always improvements to make and flaws to highlight.