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Dining hall disappoints vegetarians

With enough willpower, there aren’t too many challenges that come with being a vegetarian. My mother’s dedication in the kitchen and the trendy food scene of my hometown made a vegetarian diet easy. But three months after coming to college – and almost two years after taking up vegetarianism – the lack of options in the dining hall constantly makes me consider returning to a meat-based diet.

Upon first arriving at the University of Miami, the dining hall seemed promising: a cereal and salad bar, ice cream and yogurt machines and different food stations to choose from – all conveniently placed a short walk from the dorms. With so much variety, the possibility of ever being dissatisfied with the dining hall seemed slim.

But, of course, it happened. As time progressed and students returned to campus after the “hurrication,” the quality of dining hall food seemed to decline. Now, I constantly find myself eating Lucky Charms and filling up on bread and butter.


Lucky charms and toast have become an unsavory staple in freshman Andrea Illan's vegetarian diet. For students with dietary restrictions, the lack of variety in the dining halls can be frustrating. Photo credit: Amanda Prats

The reality is that only a few of the choices are truly enjoyable. The salad and fruit bar foods tend not to be fresh, and the veggie burger from the burger station is a pre-packaged patty. And for students with a more restrictive diet, this lack of food diversity can make it hard to find even an “okay” meal, since there simply is not enough to choose from in the first place. The same scenario arises at takeout: with only a few vegetarian choices per day, this potential solution is no upgrade.

According to research conducted by personal finance website WalletHub, Miami is the No. 9 best city for vegans and vegetarians — so shouldn’t our dining hall reflect that? In a city that values health and fitness, the trends in dining hall food seems especially out of place. A lack of access to varied, nutritious options on campus conflicts with many students’ desire to eat fresh and clean, making it easier for them to slip into less healthy habits down the line.

Certainly, there are worse places to eat than the dining hall. Not every meal is awful — but considering what students pay for our meal plans, it only makes sense that there should be more high-quality options. Students can contribute to positive change by engaging in conversations with administration, sending emails or voicing their opinions on the school dining website, With time and a bit of student engagement, the potential of the dining hall can finally be realized.

Andrea Illan is a freshman majoring in journalism and political science.

November 14, 2017


Andrea Illan

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Dining hall disappoints vegetarians”

  1. Alec Jimenez says:

    Dining Services sends out weekly emails to interested students about all the meals offered in both dining halls on campus. Reach out to Michael Ross, Director of Dining Services for information about the email list. Also, the UM Dining Services/Chartwells has a monthly meeting for vegetarians and people with dietary restrictions to voice their opinions and suggest new ideas to be on the menu. I’ll be honest as a vegetarian and a UM student, the more you speak up the more you get what you want. When i was a sophomore i brought strawberries and blueberries to the dining hall and also a falafel sandwich to Fresh Fusion, just by talking with administration.

  2. Maria Perez Illana says:

    Vegetarian students should let their voices be heard as you have done. If students get together for a good cause, and the right to follow a vegetarian diet is agood one, Miami University will have to pay attention to this issue. I am sure they will do the necessary changes to offer better options for the growing community of people who want to follow a plant – based diet.

  3. adriana martini says:

    Soy una fiel creyente de la protesta y de su inmenso poder, sobre todo cuando la protesta es bien sustentada . Me gustó mucho tu enfoque, go forward, ahijadita!

  4. adriana martini says:

    Soy una fiel creyente del poder de la protesta, protesta sustentada en realidades, con propuestas de solución. Go forward mi querida, me gustó mucho tu artículo. !!!!

  5. Ramón Meneses says:

    Buen artículo de protesta, felicitaciones, si escribes otro artículo sobre el mismo tema, te sugiero que propongas algunas soluciones al respecto para mejorar el servicio porque no es gratis, sigue adelante.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.