Health a priority for local college campus

// University of Puget Sound voted No. 4 Most Vegan-Friendly College

For the third time in recent years, the University of Puget Sound (UPS) has been bestowed with a top rank in a unique and popular contest: a high ranking by the youth arm of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), peta2, for their vegan-friendly cafeteria options.

This year the university was ranked at number four, in 2009 it was seventh and in 2007 it was ranked number three out of 10, among many other small colleges across the United States.

Items such as enchiladas derduras (Mexico), sesame noodles (China), falafel (Egypt), minestrone and pastas (Italy) and curried lentils with carrots (India) are a part of UPS’ daily vegetarian fare and have won over the stomachs of hundreds of students who voted the school a national winner among college dining rooms.

Dining and Conference Services Director Julie Coykendall affirms that the vegetarian and vegan population at UPS have been growing rapidly, and thus the department feels the need to cater to their students’ and staff members’ wants and needs.

“More students are becoming health conscious,” Coykendall said. “They wanted more vegetarian and vegan options, and we wanted to provide good nutritious options for everyone on campus.”

UPS is fortunate in that their dining hall has a counter (Vegetarian and Co.) that caters strictly to their dietary needs and offers different, delicious items every day and week. In addition to this spot where they know they can have anything that sounds good, dining services is also putting in an effort to integrate vegan meals into the other stations of the café as well.

“You shouldn’t have to give up flavor while being a vegetarian or vegan,” Coykendall said. “We have great options for people no matter what their dietary preferences are.”

Dining and Conference Services at UPS are honored by their recent award, but it doesn’t mean the staff will be sitting back and stop coming up with new and tasty options for their customers. Coykendall said the staff is continuously striving to find new vendors and bring the best of what’s available to their vegetarian students.

“One thing we’re getting as a surprise (for students) when they come back from the break is a soft serve ice cream machine that’s vegan. It took some digging to find a product that tastes good, but we will be offering one standard machine and one that’s vegan-friendly,” Coykendall said.

For more information about UPS’ Vegetarian and Co. station or to visit the café, stop by the diner located in the Wheelock Student Center on the University of Puget Sound campus, at 1500 N. Warner St. For more information, call (253) 879-8544 or visit


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