Questioning CSUSM’s food options and whether they offer inclusivity and sustainability

Christina Suarez, News Reporter

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CSUSM has seven places on campus where students can buy food and drinks. Out of these seven places however, the vegan options and options for students with milk and egg allergies are limited.

 

The coffee shop, Jazzman’s in the USU has a few vegan snacks ranging from pretzel mix, gummy bears and fresh fruit. Their bagels aren’t vegan, the breakfast sandwiches they offer all have meat, cheese, egg or both, their pastries contain milk and all of their salads have cheese.

 

WOW! Cafe, however, carries vegetarian and vegan options, they have mozzarella sticks, french fries, a California veggie burger which is vegan and a West Coast veggie wrap that can be modified for vegans and students with milk allergies. In addition to carrying options, WOW! Cafe employees had a sign that made it clear if a student has an allergy of any kind to notify the cook/server so they can take extra caution.

 

The Mexican food place, Caliente displayed themselves as vegan and allergy friendly. Their rice and beans are vegan containing no lard and each bowl, burrito or taco can be customized to a student’s needs.

 

SubConnection offers a veggie sub with all the veggies they have or you can customize your sub to however you like. They do not have a veggie patty of any sort, so the sub might be a little low in protein. The soups SubConnection serve are chicken pot pie and cream of mushroom which are not suitable for vegetarians or students with milk allergies because the cream of mushroom contains milk.

 

Panda Express, the chinese food chain does not offer many vegan options, or options for students with milk or shellfish allergies. Some of their menu items that don’t contain meat, contain shellfish or egg allergens making it non-consumable for vegans and students with food allergies.

 

The USU market does have a few vegan options but not much compared to the array of food available for students with non-specific dietary needs.

 

The other coffee shop on campus, Starbucks does offer vegan snacks, bagels and their coffees and teas can be made with a choice of one of their non-dairy milks. Their bagels come with a package of cream cheese but students can purchase a side of their avocado spread instead.

 

Other places on and off campus which provide free food for students are the Cougar Pantry located on the third floor of the USU and whenever The Quad or The UVA offer events with free food.

 

While the Cougar Pantry does offer vegan and allergy friendly options for students in an attempt to battle food insecurity. Events on campus and in the dormitories do not offer as many vegan or allergy friendly food options. A couple weeks ago when CougarFest was held in Chavez Circle, the desert food truck serving gourmet waffles didn’t carry any milk or egg free options.

 

The problem isn’t necessarily placed on students who live on campus, because they can go home in between classes and prepare food. But, the burden becomes placed on commuters who may not bring their own food, or may get hungrier than expected and have to decide what can they eat on campus?

 

CSUSM prides themselves on being a sustainable and inclusive campus according to the university’s website statement but limited food options suggest a gap in the reality of it.

 

According to New Internationalist.org, veganism and cutting down the consumption and production of animal products is one of the quickest ways to fight climate change and create a more sustainable environment.

 

In an article titled, “If we all became vegan tomorrow” by Chris Saltmarsh and Harpreet Kaur Paul, states, “If everyone became vegan tomorrow, between 14.5 to 15.6 percent of anthropogenic (human-made) global greenhouse gas emissions would be wiped out.”

 

Overall, CSUSM has a limited source of food options for students with specific dietary needs, but can be improved on the premise that CSUSM wants to be a leader of sustainable college campuses.

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