Letter to the editor

USC needs veggie options

The culinary desires and restrictions of USC students have become more diverse over the years as the student body has increased, yet campus eateries do not provide necessary alternatives. USC must fulfill students’ dietary needs by improving the selection of foods on campus.

Students limit the food in their bodies for health, religious and other reasons.

The Vegetarian Times found that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults follow a vegetarian-based diet, while 10 percent of U.S. adults say they largely follow a vegetarian-inclined diet, meaning that most of their meals consist of vegetarian dishes, with 42 percent of them aged 18 to 34 years old.

My senior year of high school, I decided to cut meat out of my diet in order to sustain a healthier lifestyle and protect animals’ rights. Ever since that day, I, like many other Americans, have a vegetarian diet.

The student body consists of a variety of people with different needs, including vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians and those with other dietary restrictions or food allergies.

Finding a variety of foods on campus to fulfill these needs is tough.

Anybody who has a restrictive diet knows the difficulties of eating out. It is important to know what ingredients are used to make the food and how the food is prepared.

Menus do not always list the ingredients for each meal, nor if certain foods, including meats and non-meats, have been cooked on the same surfaces or in the same oils, using the same utensils. Increased vegan, vegetarian and friendly gluten-free foods need to be more readily available on campus and at reasonable prices with ingredients listed.

College is a time when students move out on their own and are first responsible for feeding themselves on a budget. As college campuses including Tufts and Boston College become more vegetarian and vegan friendly, USC needs to follow in their footsteps and improve their food options by considering all dietary needs.

Not only should there be more reasonably priced prepared meals for specific diets, but also more care in keeping food safe from cross-contamination.

The dining options on campus today include more meat-friendly meals at the dining halls and Café 84, the Law School Café, Popovich Café, Tutor Café and Ronald Tutor Campus Center.

By incorporating healthier options at campus cafeterias and restaurants, students will be better nourished and their performance will improve.

Also, by making labels with ingredients, students will be better educated on what they put in their bodies.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a well-balanced diet is necessary for students activity and advancement in college.

Such a large and diverse university like USC must accommodate the student population’s wide variety of dietary concerns and needs.

Laura Maruszak
Junior, communication

4 replies
  1. Amen
    Amen says:

    Amen to that! We definitely need more Vegetarian options at USC..

    Well, to be honest, we need BETTER food options. This business of greasy, nasty, cheap “food” is just too much for a university we’re paying $50k to attend…

  2. Ras
    Ras says:

    We all are fortunate enough to live in a society where food is plentiful and relatively inexpensive. If we make decisions to that place restrictions on that abundance, then we need to face the consequences of those decisions and go through whatever additional effort is required to execute on that decision. I am growing weary of self indulgent, self- entitled people that want society to bend over backwards and provide for their idiosyncratic wants and needs. So much of the world is starving and here we have so many spoiled people with such disgustingly critical conditions about their food. Grow up people – what is next – do you want mommy and daddy to pick out the brown M&M’s?

  3. USC MA '13
    USC MA '13 says:

    When I came to USC as an undergraduate in 2006, I had been a vegetarian for five years. As a freshman, I was restricted to eating at Parkside or EVK for a majority of my meals due tot he required meal plans at the time.

    Maintaining a healthy vegetarian diet at USC’s dining halls proved extremely difficult. My vegan/veggie friends and I had a running joke about EVK’s “vegetarian section”: steamed vegetables, plain pasta, rice and occasionally a cheese-based pasta. Most of us were limited to those foods, the salad bar (and it’s horrible, rancid tofu), PB&J sandwiches, french fries and grilled cheese (for non vegans.)

    To maintain some variety in my diet, I took the bus to Trader Joes and would stock my dorm fridge with food, even though I was being forced to pay for the meal plan.

    I wrote to Hospitality Services many times and never got a response. That first year, I lost a considerable amount of weight and became very ill just because the protein-rich veggie foods I had ate at home were not available at USC.

    Now that I’m back at USC, I’m glad to see the little fridge of vegan/veggie foods at Seeds — but it still isn’t enough!

  4. Aman
    Aman says:

    Thanks a lot Laura for making this point. I am a lacto-vegetarian, and find it very difficult to get vegan/ lacto-vegetarian food on campus.. Also as you state, the food is contaminated with nearby meat based food.. Basically the cooking utensils, etc are the same.. Good Karma Cafe in USC is the only full vegetarian lunch service, google it if you don’t know about that..

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