Dining Plan Proposal

10 October 2016

And at first though, most non-vegetarians may not take this into consideration due to a plentiful amount of non-vegetarian food available, but I can tell you from personal experience, food is one of the main factors contributing to homesickness. The day -to-day food available on Drexel’s campus is not varied or appetizing enough for vegetarians, especially international vegetarian students. Each student who purchases the meal plan can dine at certain designated locations on campus.

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The available dining options on the Drexel University campus consist of the following: a mini cafe in the main building, Ross Commons Take 3, Creese Cafe, Chick-fil-a, Currito, Subway, Kelly Deli, Southern Tsunami Sushi, and Starbucks. This may sounds like many options, but that does not overlook quality, or the fact that vegetarians may not have as many options as those who eat meat. As Drexel has ascended in its rankings, so have the number of students from different states and different countries.

This year itself, the percentage of international students at Drexel University went up about twenty-eight percent and is expected to grow next year. (Facts and Figures) A student that purchases any meal plans spends an average amount of around five thousand & two hundred dollars throughout his or her university education. A relatively large percentage of these students, whether from the states or international students, are vegetarian as one of the most frequently asked questions on Drexel’s dining website. Drexel Campus Dining) I myself know up to ten vegetarians in the freshmen year itself. The number one complaint I tend to hear, or coincidentally eavesdrop on, in the dining center is about the food. According to my survey these complaints are usually voiced by international students and sometimes by vegetarian, American citizens. I also concluded from my survey that those who dislike the food and live nearby do not feel the need to complain as homemade food and favorite restaurant visits with the parents are just a train ride away.

I summarized my issues with the available dining service at Drexel by carrying out confidential surveys of a sample of students who eat at the Handschumacher Dining Center. Of course my survey was favorably given out to international students and it consisted of open-ended questions that cover a few valid issues I personally wanted to know more about. On an average, the survey revealed international students dissatisfaction with the amount of vegetarian or vegan food available at the Drexel dining locations.

Although the survey revealed complaints students had about the staff, quality of food, and such, I chose to concentrate on the vegetarian food options. Students explicitly expressed their concern with the fact that vegan food was often confused with vegetarian food. A few students stated their issue with days where more of a variety of vegetarian food was made and other days where more vegan food was made, always more options of one over the other. Of course, non-vegetarian food always seems to be plentifully available.

One student wrote on her survey, “ although there is a pasta station that is vegetarian on the whole, the options are very limited. Vegetarians at the dining center can only eat pasta, on certain days very bland vegan wraps are available, and French fries, and the same vegetarian fried rice. “ Another student said, “ the passport section hardly ever has vegetarian or vegan food, which is sad because so many international students are vegetarian and we have to make do with salad and pasta every single day. To this I would like to add an observation I made at the Dining Center and Subway: most of the times, the staff uses the same gloves to touch vegetarian food as they do meat. This is very disturbing to me as I am vegetarian for religious reasons and cannot technically even have meat touched to my food. When I asked students about the other Dining options, Starbucks and the cafe in the main building were immediately opted out of consideration as “dining. ” This leaves the unhealthy options of Ross Commons cheese Pizza and Chick-Fil-A fries. Two other options are Creese and Subway.

The two of these are relatively healthier options, but again Subway has only one veggie patty. And Creese Cafe serves only two to three options for vegetarian paninis. But out of all the times I have been to Creese, they are out of one ingredient or the other, which limits the vegetarian options further. For example, when I asked for the Capri panini at Creese, I was told they were out of basil and hence, could not make that panini for me. Out of all the dining options Currito landed up being a favorite for vegetarians on my survey because of its many vegetarian varieties.

Even though Currito is one stall that serves good vegetarian options, what about the rest? Vegetarian students I surveyed unanimously agree upon the conclusion that there is not enough variety out of the entire dining service on campus for vegetarian students. It think it is safe to say that a certain percentage of Drexel University students is dissatisfied with the vegetarian dining options on campus. I know I am. Yet, these students are paying for the dining services the same price as any non-vegetarian student. I propose a solution, or many solutions.

Firstly, I think the staff should be educated on how to handle food for vegetarian or vegan students. For example, they should start with using different gloves and utensils for meat. Second, I believe the dining hall would be a good start for more vegetarian options as hundreds of students dine here each day. For example, the staff can make sure they do not compromise on the food for vegans or vegetarians. Both these categories should have a plentiful amount. Also, the passport section that serves international food can make sure they have one vegetarian alternative to each non-vegetarian dish they make.

And the Asian food section can start searching into more feasible Asian recipes for both vegans and vegetarians. Coming to the options besides the dining center, it may be difficult to open more dining options on campus, so instead each service can find ways to increase its creativity and variety with vegetarian food. Currito can find more than just tofu to substitute meat, or they can cook the tofu in different ways and serve it. Chick-fil-A can look into making breakfast sandwiches. Subway can create more than just the veggie patty, or it can give more vegetable options to choose from.

Ross Commons can start serving pizza with diverse vegetarian toppings. Such minor changes may go a long way. This idea may seem new, but it has been done before. Every time a fast food chain opens in different countries, it is altered to cater to the taste and customers of that country. I feel like Drexel should look into doing the same with its chains opened on campus as Drexel is an international University and the vegetarian population deserves first-rate food. (Vegetarian Subs & Different Countries, Different McDonalds) (A Picture of other Asian recipes that can be made)

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