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Saturday, April 13, 2024

I imagine Gator Dining officials are all very excited about UF's place in the final round in this year's ranking of the most vegan-friendly colleges in the nation. If only those University of California Santa Cruz hippies would go away and let us win. Even if we lose, second place is pretty darn good, so congratulations.

As a concerned Gator who always likes to win, I thought I should do my duty and give you some pointers on how to make sure we take that top spot this year and make other schools fear our vegan prowess. Plus, just for fun, I've included some reasons why we should actually want to win this super cool award as the best college for students who, you know, don't want to participate in the slaughtering of baby pigs.

So, for starters, it's kind of silly for you all to expect to win a most vegan-friendly college contest when on your self-described and superficially promoted Meatless Mondays, you guys still serve things like pepperoni pizza and lunch meat in your sandwich line. And the meatloaf you served this Monday? Is that irony? Apparently so. We're good friends, so I know you wouldn't do this, but from an outsider's perspective, it seems like your two on-campus dining halls don't change that much on Meatless Mondays. It seems you all have mastered the public relations aspect of talking the talk but just haven't nailed that whole walking the walk thing. It's just not fair to your competitor UC Santa Cruz, which has a dining hall go completely vegetarian each Monday.

But I want you to win.

Don't you guys remember when almost 2,500 Gators publicly demanded last year that you all adopt a Meatless Monday policy? I hope you do. I presented each and every signature to you at our meeting in December along with a dynamite campaign book complete with public endorsements from GatorWell Health Promotion Services, The Humane Society of the United States, the Earth Day Network and the UF Office of Sustainability.

And I know times are tough, especially in the food-service industry. The recession hit us all hard. People have less money to spend on, well, everything, so going out to eat is going to be an easy expenditure to cut. Luckily, a vegetarian and vegan diet can help your big, multimillion dollar wallet. Think about how much money a more vegan-friendly cafeteria could save just by buying an eggplant instead of, say, a pound of pork. Or think about how much money you all could spend on a lavish Christmas party from the money you'd save from buying more flour for waffles at the popular Sunday breakfast at The Fresh Food Company instead of buying bacon.

But, really, when U.S. News released a report this June that found 12 percent of college students are vegetarian or vegan (about 6,000 of those veg hippies at UF), I just feel bad UF doesn't have the Meatless Monday in the two dining locations on campus it keeps promising them.

Gators, voting for the most vegan-friendly college in the nation ends Nov. 14. Vote at Peta2.org.

Jared Misner

campaign director for the Meat-free Mondays Campaign at UF

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