Eating Vegan In College — Is It For Me?

By Remi Murrey
CBS 62/CW50 Intern

I was very excited to visit a vegan restaurant for the first time! I honestly didn’t know what to expect. There are various rumors regarding veganism, yet I wasn’t sure if what I heard was true or false. As I watched the chef prepare the food, it all seemed fairly easy. She had the time, money, and proper resources to manage her diet. However as I was watching her, I began to think about college students. Would this lifestyle be as easy for them?

I question how this is even possible. It takes a lot of patience and dedication for everyone, but especially for college students. We already have so much on our minds, the absolute last thing we want to do is stress over food. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t know what I was going to eat. Food is my comfort; it provides me peace and satisfaction after a long day of classes. I couldn’t imagine not being able to eat what I wanted. Unfortunately, this is the case for some students.

I have several friends in college who are vegans. When I overhear them having conversations with others, I suddenly start to feel bad. They complain about the lack of options in the cafeteria, which leads to disappointment. Personally, I don’t think college campuses are trying to be inconsiderate. They’re thinking about the entire student population and most students aren’t interested in pursuing a vegan diet. Who doesn’t want a slice of pizza or a nice hamburger from time to time? Or even ice cream for dessert?

Although it is complicated, I do understand why there aren’t many options for vegan students in the cafeteria. The ingredients to prepare a regular pizza and hamburger are much cheaper than the ingredients to support a vegan student’s diet. This doesn’t make it right, but it is the sad truth. There are more students who will eat a regular pizza over a vegan type pizza. Colleges think about the mass and not a portion of it, which is not fair.

While there are vegan options in the cafeteria I believe there should be more. I can eat something different everyday if I wanted to, yet I doubt my vegan friends could. Maybe they should make a cafeteria solely for vegan students? Or maybe even a station that only focuses on vegan foods? That sounds more reasonable… but will they? Who knows? You would think they would’ve thought to do that by now, especially all the big name universities that can actually afford to provide their students with these accommodations. But, I guess it’s going to take time for colleges to realize this.

Furthermore, we have to also take into consideration the students who live off campus. Personally speaking, I miss my meal plan. Without it, I’m not allowed to eat in the cafeterias. As a result, I have to either bring a lunch to campus so I won’t starve throughout the day or go spend money. This can get rather expensive, especially for students without jobs or parents to support their needs.

 I am blessed to have both a job on campus and supportive parents. But what about students who have neither and are vegan? Do you really think they can support their diet? I couldn’t even help them if I wanted to because what I cook is not what they would want to eat. They shouldn’t be picky, but who am I to say that? They want to live a healthier lifestyle; I have no right to get mad at them for their decision. It would be my job as a friend to support them, but at this time in my life I can only support myself. Unfortunately, some of my friends had no other option but to convert back to the lifestyle they were trying to stay away from and try again later in life.

As can be seen, starting a vegan lifestyle is difficult for college students. I believe the problem is more financial than it is mental. Hopefully one day, colleges across the country will be able to accommodate all dietary needs. I know the University of Michigan is making strides with providing gluten free options. That is a step, but more can be made. Like anything we want in life, it is going to take time and patience.

Remi Murrey is a CBS 62/CW50 intern through the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program. She is a student, entering her third year at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, interested in pursuing a career in Broadcast Journalism.

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