Gator Dining

UF is in the running to take the title of “favorite vegan-friendly college,” and for the first time, voters have the final say.

The title, given by peta2, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals youth division, launched voting for the title last week. The first-round voting period ends Wednesday. Students can cast their votes at

The contest includes 32 universities, all of which have already received A’s on peta2’s Vegan Report Card, but only two champions — one large school and one small — will win the title. The winners will be announced March 31.

Kenneth Montville, peta2’s college campaign coordinator, said this year’s competition gives students a chance to advocate for their schools.

“This year, we’re not just going out and praising schools that we think do a job. We are listening to students’ feedback, and this in turn sets a standard for schools all around the country,” Montville said.

According to the report card, UF’s high points include dining halls that promote vegan options, participate in Meatless Mondays and offer a totally vegan station.

UF dining halls also provide vegan and vegetarian dining guides for on-campus restaurants.

Criteria on the report card that UF doesn’t meet include having a vegan member on its student advisory board and an all-vegan dining facility.

Amanda DeArmond, a 20-year-old UF psychology junior, said she experimented with being vegan and found the cost and time to be the biggest deterrents. She said campus options often don’t make the cut.

“You really have to prepare and make meals to bring to campus,” DeArmond said. “I don’t have a meal plan, and the other vegan choices on campus are super expensive.”

The closest UF has come to winning peta2’s competition was in 2011, when it placed second in the large university category.

[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 2/11/2014 under the headline "UF in competition for favorite vegan-friendly college title"]