Veg-heads are celebrating UF’s latest vegan victory.
UF was voted the Favorite Vegan-Friendly college in the large school category in a contest by peta2, the youth outreach division of the animal rights group PETA.
The results of the competition, which featured 16 large schools and 16 small schools, were released this week.
Winners were determined by votes cast on peta2’s website. UF received 2,795 votes. It won by fewer than 50 votes against Kent State University in the final round.
Peta2 has had vegan-friendly competitions in the past, but this was the first year it was entirely voting based, said Kenneth Montville, PETA’s college campus coordinator.
The vegan report card was a new feature this year. Schools were asked to fill out surveys about their vegan options. The results from the surveys were translated into a grade on the vegan report card.
UF received an A on the report card, as did the University of South Florida and Rollins College.
“These contests are meant to celebrate the schools that are doing a fantastic job providing vegan food to their students,” Montville said.
Christina Bicknell, a 19-year-old UF public relations sophomore and a peta2 representative for UF, said this victory will help implement changes on campus.
“I feel after winning this competition, Gator Dining will want to expand the options available for students on campus in order to continue being a vegan-friendly campus,” Bicknell said.
Vegetarian Allie Jones, a 19-year-old UF business administration freshman, said she was originally worried that a meal plan would leave her stuck with salads. However, she now considers UF vegan-friendly because she never had a problem finding something she could eat.
“Gator Dining always had a least two completely vegetarian options every day, plus sandwiches, pastas and salads you could make vegetarian also,” Jones said.
Caroline Stocks, a 19-year-old UF recreation and event management sophomore, said some of her friends had to stop being vegetarians when they went to other colleges because of limited options.
“I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 6 years old, so I don’t know what I would do if I had to go back to eating meat like my friends at different schools,” Stocks said.
UF’s vegetarian-friendly reputation was something that drew Emily Born, a 20-year-old UF English and political science junior, to the school in the first place.
“Going to a school that sells vegan items all over campus makes my life easier, but it also shows that UF cares about its student’s needs and, to some extent, a cause that matters a lot to me,” Born said.
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 4/3/2014 under the headline "UF voted favorite vegan-friendly college"]