SU is vegan friendly


Shippensburg University is in the running to become Peta2’s “favorite vegan-friendly” small college.

When Peta2, the largest youth animal rights group in the world, assigned letter grades to hundreds of universities, Shippensburg University scored a solid A.

SU scored well largely because of the ‘veganization’ efforts of Nick Iula, a former executive chef who oversees SU’s campus dining. Iula follows a vegan diet, himself.

To rank schools, Peta2 scores their vegan-friendliness by testing them in categories; such as whether the school promotes vegan options, offers nondairy milk, participates in meatless Mondays and other similar tests.

After qualifying, A-rated universities, like SU, compete against each other in a fantasy football-style bracket with four rounds and a face-off between the final two contenders. The school with the most student votes will win.

The first round of voting closed last Friday. SU, with 144 votes, came in third place, out of the 16 colleges in the first bracket.

Weslyan University, a liberal arts school in Connecticut, came in first place with 221 votes and Wellesley College in Massachusetts came in second place with 154 votes.

“I was elated to find out that we were so high in the rankings,” Iula said.

As the competition rages on, Nick Iula continues to promote healthy, delicious vegan options for students. He also runs at least five, free vegan cooking classes, every semester.

At his class on Thursday, he showed the audience how to make “Roasted Fingerling Potatoes,” “Pho Soup,” “Three Roasted Veggies,” and “Sun Dried Tomato Hummus.”

Even though SU currently has many vegan dining options, it took years for his vegan ideas to pick up steam. “We started our first vegan venture about nine years ago when we introduced different vegan salads and a vegan grain bar, but it didn’t really work, so we stopped,” Iula said.

Undeterred, Iula pressed on. When five or six vegetarian students, who were not happy with the menu, came to him with their concerns, he jumped on the opportunity. “I worked with them to create a committee and invited students with different dietary needs to join and make their voices heard. After about three semesters, the nine-student committee disbanded, because they felt good with the new options. Now we have vegan options, vegetarian options and options for people with food allergies,” Iula said.

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