The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Students eat and cook vegetarian

3 min read

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By Alyssa Dandrea

Junior Peter Hawes is a vegetarian.

He has been one since his freshman year, and said he has trouble finding things to eat on campus.

“The salads are good, but I feel like they are really the only thing I want to eat on campus,” Hawes said.

This semester Seacobeck Hall opened a “Fresh and Fit” station in its Washington Diner, that offers exclusively vegetarian meals.

Kori Dean, manager of UMW Dining Services, said, “We hope to provide a balanced, healthy, complete meal for vegetarians during every meal period.”

Senior Erin Perugini said she has luck finding vegetarian options at the Eagle’s Nest.

“I feel like the workers there go above and beyond to help me find the best options for me,” she said. “They even clean the knives and switch the gloves for vegetarians.”

Ann Hill, an Eagle’s Nest employee, said she thinks it’s important to offer meat-free foods.

“We all try to accommodate anyone who comes in here for a meal,” she said.

However, some frequent diners still think there is room for improvement.

Claudia Emerson, an English professor, said she’d still like to see more variety.

“It’s not that it’s bad food,” she said. “It’s good, but it’s limited. For example I’d like to see whole wheat pasta rather than just white pasta.”

Hawes agreed.

“Most people who are vegetarian are health conscious as it is, so fries don’t cut it,” he said.

Hawes believes everyone has the right to access healthy and even meat-free food.

“We waste so much of our crop land producing animal food instead of human food,” he said.

He and other like-minded students are a part of the Fredericksburg branch of Food Not Bombs (FNB).
FNB is a 30-year organization dedicated to feeding the hungry and creating nonviolent change.

“Most organizations spend their time dealing with the symptoms of a problem not the problem itself,” Hawes said. “FNB isn’t like that.”

The majority of the food comes from grocery stores, which dispose of items that have passed the sell-by date but have not yet expired. They also receive produce from the Fredericksburg Community Garden and farmers market.

A few times a month they get together to cook a free vegetarian meal for the community.

“It’s fun to cook and eat with other people,” Hawes said. “For thousands of years communities have been sharing food like that, and I think we should keep on doing it.”

Junior Evan McLaughlin has been involved with the organization since last year.

“The idea is that we spend so much money on wars and things that don’t benefit the vast majority of people,” he said. “Those resources could be put to much better use feeding hungry people.”

McLaughlin has been a vegetarian for the past three years, partially because of the way meat is produced in this country.

“It’s about being health conscious and thinking about food,” he said. “There’s so much food wasted in meat production.”

McLaughlin said he occasionally eats on campus, but usually finds it easier to cook for himself.

“The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough options, the quality just isn’t very good,” he said.

He also enjoys cooking, whether it’s just for himself, or the whole community.

“Our priorities should be towards helping those of us who are less fortunate,” he said.