Move over Northwestern! Brandeis University might be the most vegan-friendly college in the country this year.
According to food-service provider Bon Appetit, in the seven years since peta2--PETA's youth division--started its annual Most Vegan-Friendly College contest, the number of college students who identify themselves as vegetarian has risen by 50 percent, and the number of vegan students has more than doubled, according to a peta2 press release.
Despite the tough competition, Brandeis may have a good shot in this year's small-schools contest. Described on the contest website as "a beacon of friendliness to vegans and vegetarians in the Northeast, Brandeis offers a broad array of cruelty-free options, including vegan chili dogs, tofu scampi, sweet-and-sour vegan meatballs, and ginger-sesame noodles with tofu."
"The vegan revolution is in full swing, and nowhere is that more evident than at Brandeis and other schools across the country," said peta2 Manager of College Campaigns and Outreach Ryan Huling in the press release. "The best way that students can fortify their health for a tough year of hitting the books, protect the environment, and save animals' lives at the same time is to go vegan."
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegetarians are less prone to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer than are meat-eaters. The United Nations has also concluded that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level--from local to global--and that a worldwide shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change, the press release cites.
Brandeis is currently competing in the first round of competition against 31 other colleges, including reigning-champion Northwestern University, Brown University, and fellow Massachusetts-based Smith College. The pool will be narrowed down five times before a winner is chosen.
The contest began on Oct. 8, and voting for the first round ends Oct. 16. Round winners are determined by the number of votes received, the quality and variety of vegan foods offered by the schools, the schools' enthusiasm in promoting vegan options, and student feedback. For more information, visit peta2.com.
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