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Commentary: Vegetarians are people, too

Veronica Orozco, News Editor

Veronica Orozco, News Editor

In most universities, there are always students complaining about the food in their dining halls.

At the University of La Verne, there is no exception.

Complaints about flavor, preparation and lack of variety are always mentioned and sometimes worked on, but one thing that is never changing is the lack of options for vegetarians.

As a vegetarian, I know the struggles of trying to find not only a decent meal but also one that would not make me sick over some sort of meat contact.

If I am not in the mood for a slab of tofu, then usually my only other option is salad or cereal.

I have brought up this issue to people before and they always seem to have the solution of getting a grilled cheese or quesadilla—like I didn’t think of that before.

Waiting for something to cook on the grill at Barbara’s Place or Davenport Dining Hall is not only time consuming, but when looked at with a vegetarian eye, you can see them cooking vegetarian food in the same place as the meat.

The end result is a grilled cheese with charred pieces of chicken—yummy.

I have tried to work around this and asked the person at the grill if it was possible to make it in another place. The end result is them leaving the grill to make it in the back costing not only me more time, but also the others lining up behind me.

After a while they returned with my grilled cheese only to have them cut it with a knife I just saw them cut the chicken with.

This leads me to the pizza; that is usually where I turn next but then I see a pepperoni and a cheese come out and the same cutter is used.

Now with the fries, most people love chicken strip day but for me that means no fries because it shares the same fryer with the same oil.

For those who do not know, when a person becomes a vegetarian, after a while your body forgets how to process meat. If, in the future, they decide not to be a vegetarian anymore or accidentally ingest meat, they are in for some pretty intense pain for a little while even if it is just a little piece or a bit of the residue left behind by it.

This problem has limited my diet to maybe four Davenport meals per week, an excess of Leo dollars and an unhealthy diet of cereal, salad and the occasional soup.

One solution I have thought of is to try and leave a small portion of the grill clear and only used for non-meat things like grilled cheeses and quesadillas.

Another is to have cutting utensils separate for meat and other things to avoid cross contamination.

I have voiced all of these opinions to various people, in surveys and in comment cards but nothing has been done.

Things need to be done because I know I am not the only vegetarian on campus and if I am paying $2,370 per semester for a meal plan, then I think I should be able to eat more than Cheerios.

Veronica Orozco, a sophomore journalism major, is news editor for the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at veronica.orozco@laverne.edu.

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