Loyola’s vegans and vegetarians want more on-campus options


Hannah Darcey

Hope Donovan waits in line at the simple serving station to get dinner in the Orleans room on Wednesday, Sept. 29. Donovan is one of the vegan and vegetarian students on campus who feel like there aren’t enough on-campus dining options available to meet their dietary restrictions

Music industry studies sophomore Hope Donovan went vegan five years ago and said Loyola does a better job than her last school at offering her food options. However, Donovan said she thinks about one thing all too often that she doesn’t see at Loyola: vegan junk food.

Donovan’s wish for oat-milk ice cream and butter-free popcorn calls attention to a conversation surrounding food options at Loyola and whether or not those with dietary restrictions are satisfied with the school’s offerings.

Last week, Donovan said she had a delicious vegan meal with beans and rice but that options like that don’t come often.

“I’m just like anyone else,” Donovan said. “I want sugar. I want bad carbohydrates.”

Kelsey Rosenbaum, Loyola’s regional campus dietitian and Sodexo representative, said Loyola’s market still offers vegetarian sushi, but Donovan said she hasn’t gotten her hands on one since the beginning of the year due to lack of quantity, which she called “absolutely devastating.”

The Orleans Room, Loyola’s dining hall, is also currently out of soy milk due to a lack of supply of milk packaged for the dispenser, Rosenbaum said. However, Loyola dining services said dining services do offer soy milk upon request, she said.

The Orleans Room identifies all vegan and vegetarian options and has a rotating menu of options in the dining hall’s vegetarian station, according to Rosenbaum.

Rosenbaum listed scrambled tofu, grits, oatmeal, chickpea burgers, smoothie bowls, and legumes as viable options for vegans and vegetarians at Loyola.

Theatre arts and environmental science junior Hilary Nguyen, a lactose intolerant vegetarian, said she acknowledges that Loyola has options for her but that she doesn’t want to eat the same thing days in a row. Nguyen canceled her meal plan at Loyola after last semester because of that, she said.

“It’s a waste of my money, frankly,” Nguyen said. “I can make food cheaper.”

What she opted for instead was getting a plan with Wolf Bucks only and cooking meals in her dorm. She said having to go home and prepare food is overwhelming and that she wishes more options stopped her from feeling the need to do so.

Donovan seconded Nguyen’s feelings that feasible vegan or vegetarian options aren’t always present at Loyola. She said she sometimes needs to ride her bike off campus to get a satisfying meal or snack within her diet.

Hope Donovan eats dinner in the Orleans Room on Loyola’s campus Wednesday, Sept. 29. Donovan is one of the vegan and vegetarian students who want more on-campus dining options. (Hannah Darcey)

“I just want to be able to access good food that I’m craving at a good point in the day,” Donovan said.

Rosenbaum said listening to student feedback is important to Loyola’s dining services and she wants students to know they can talk to them. The team also conducts a survey once a semester to encourage students to reach out.

Rosenbaum said Loyola’s Executive Chef Matthew Box was part of the first regional
Humane Society Culinary Training held by Sodexo in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions. The effort increases the amount of plant-based entrees in menus, Rosenbaum said.

“As the dietary needs change we strive to keep up with the trends and implement those into our menus,” Rosenbaum said.