Penn State nominated among nation's most vegetarian-friendly schools

University Park, Pa. — The “souper bar” in Simmons Dining Hall, tofu scramblers for breakfast, daily vegetarian entrées, and Natural Life refrigerators may be a few reasons Penn State's University Park campus has been nominated as one of the “Most Vegetarian-Friendly Schools” in the country.
After years of working with vegan and vegetarian students on campus, Penn State has been recognized for its efforts by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in its competition to find the most vegetarian-friendly school in the United States. Voting for round one ends Nov. 6 and students, faculty, staff and alumni are encouraged to vote every day for Penn State at  

“We are so honored to be considered for this nomination,” said Michele Newhard, Food Services special projects manager. “It’s really fantastic.”
Newhard said one group in particular, the Vegetarian Advisory Board (VAB), has helped Food Services make improvements in menu choices for years. The group consists of student vegetarians, the executive chef, the student nutrition assistant and the Food Services advisor.
“VAB has been instrumental through the years in helping Food Services to modify our meatless and vegan entrées and trying to find dishes that are popular,” Newhard said.
Newhard also attributes Penn State’s nomination to the reopening of Simmons Dining Hall, located in South Halls, which now offers a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan food options. While all dining commons have at least one vegetarian soup, more than one of the six soups in Simmons is vegetarian. The commons also features one vegetarian entrée every day. Additionally, high-protein products such as quinoa and barley can be found in Simmons, as well as delicious couscous.
Natural Life refrigerators, located in every dining commons, are stocked with Berkey Creamery plain and strawberry vegetarian yogurt, vegan Smart Dogs, hummus and soy beverages. Vegan BocaBurgers are available upon request.
“I think the nomination was a combination of all the efforts,” said Newhard. “But I think the Simmons upgrades pushed us over the top.”
Penn State is among 32 colleges and universities selected for this competition, which consists of five rounds. In round one, Penn State faces off with the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to voting at, students who are vegetarians are encouraged to attend VAB meetings held every semester.
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Last Updated March 19, 2009