Lipton Dining Hall Going Vegan This Week

Lipton Dining Hall is going vegan for Earth Week thanks to the Animal Welfare Collective, a student activist group at NYU.

Julia Moses

Lipton Dining Hall is going vegan for Earth Week thanks to the Animal Welfare Collective, a student activist group at NYU.

Herman Lee, Staff Writer

Lipton Dining Hall has begun its Veg-Out pop-up event, a three-day trial of serving only plant-based food.

Outside the dining hall hung a banner announcing the event. Inside, dining hall staff dressed in special green Veg-Out uniforms served meal plan holders with an entirely plant-based menu, which included vegan versions of typical dining hall food, like burgers with Portobello mushroom and black bean patties, bagels with tofu cream cheese and scrambled tofu.

The event is a  collaboration between the Animal Welfare Collective, a student activist group at NYU, and the dining administration and food provider Aramark. At Lipton, AWC members handed out pamphlets and leaflets explaining the benefits of plant-based dining and gathered feedback on the new menu.

Gallatin freshman Danielle Winchester said that she appreciated the variety of vegan dishes provided at Lipton.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Winchester said. “I didn’t think there would be all vegan options — I simply assumed that they would do what they do most days and just have one little section for tofu, but they substituted everything. Even the waffles are vegan, so I’m taking advantage of that.”

Gallatin freshman Milena Makse came to the event despite not being vegan. She tried the plant-based cuisine to support her vegan friend, but she said she appreciated both the food and the information provided by the AWC.

“The brussel sprouts were amazing and the scrambled tofu [looked like] eggs, and they tasted great,” Makse said. “I actually really appreciate this little pamphlet, all these little booklets that [they] are giving out, they are actually really helpful.”

However, others had mixed feelings about the vegan menu. Stern freshman Rafael Moreno said that while he liked the food, he did not want to be forced to eat a plant-based diet.

“I think it’s really good — the food tastes nice — [but] I don’t think they should be forcing it on people and make it so [students] are not able to get meat,” Moreno said. “I know there are groups that want to make this like an all-vegan dining hall, but I feel like it’s not fair to people who still eat meat. I think the option should be available, but I don’t think it should completely close off from everything else.”

Stern freshman Jennifer Kim said that she disagreed with Moreno because other dining halls still have meat options.

“I don’t think that’s a valid argument because they are not forcing you to eat only plant-based things — [there] are other dining halls [that] also serve you meat and this is just an experimental thing,” Kim said. “It’s also not fair that vegans don’t have an option at dining halls as well, so I think giving them one dining hall that offers a lot of vegan food is not unfair, because there are so many different options that offer meat to non-vegan people.”

Stern senior and AWC president Anami Nguyen said that she was glad that NYU students approached the event with an open mind.

“I love that you had very diverse opinions [and that] everyone has different expectations,” Nguyen said. “But I think when you come in with an open mind and the food is good, that is what it’s all about in the end.”

Nguyen also said that AWC hopes that the NYU administration would consider providing a plant-based food source on campus based on the feedback the group receives from this pop-up.

“We are hoping that this is not just the pop-up — maybe there’s going to be a plant-based eatery, probably not Lipton but some other place,” Nguyen said. “We’re definitely not stopping here.”

Email Herman Lee at [email protected]