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Last month, fliers appeared in dining halls announcing Brown had been recognized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as a vegan-friendly school, though it was eliminated in the first round of voting for the designation of most vegan-friendly college.

In the past, PETA's designation focused on vegetarian-friendly schools. In 2007, it named Brown a "Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly College," Gina Guiducci, Dining Services' dietitian, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. But this was the first year the group focused specifically on vegan-friendly schools, she wrote.

"After receiving feedback from students, PETA reached out to Dining Services for additional information about our dining program and our vegan offerings," Guiducci wrote.

The "vegan-friendly college" nomination was not PETA's ultimate prize but rather "more of a recognition and start of a voting period, in which students were asked to vote," Guiducci wrote. The next stage was a bracket-style tournament in which schools competed for votes head-to-head. Brown was eliminated after losing to Smith College in the first round of the tournament, according to PETA's website.

But Guiducci said Dining Services is "very proud to have been recognized by the nomination, which has opened the doors to increased communication with students on campus who are vegan or vegetarian."

"I always have something to eat," said Ellora Vilkin '14, who was a vegan for several months before coming to Brown and has kept it up since. "Sometimes it's not the most exciting food in the world," but there is always an option for her, she added.

Vilkin said she had been in contact with Guiducci about when the dining halls would have soy milk, which they did not get until October. Guiducci had been very responsive, she said.

Sophie Hawley-Weld '14 tried a vegan diet for several weeks this fall. "It just means you're eating the same things every day," she said. Ultimately, she quit "mainly because I was doing it for the wrong reasons," she said. She said she was trying to go vegan after a class challenged her to try something new, but she didn't have the commitment level to keep it up.

"I absolutely think it requires you to think about what you're eating," Vilkin said.

"The salad bar is my friend," she added.

Though she is satisfied overall with the options at the dining halls, Vilkin said she will not stay on meal plan.

"I love to cook, so I'll go off when I have access to a nice kitchen," she said.

According to Guiducci, Brown sets itself apart because "we don't rely solely on vegan hot dogs, nuggets or patties." Instead, Dining Services has developed its own recipes, including "oven roasted tofu, vegan falafel, vegan chana masala" and many more, she wrote.

"Both the nomination and our past award in 2007 speak to the diversity here on campus and the desire and need for a department, like Dining Services, to continue to service students of varying dietary preferences," she wrote.

Future vegan-friendly projects for Dining Services include labeling vegan menu items and the development of more vegan-friendly desserts, Guiducci wrote, adding that she plans to work with Brown Animal Rights Coalition on these projects.


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