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Students like it animal- and eco-friendly: PETA chose the most vegan-friendly university dining halls of Germany. The animal rights organization awards Vegan Stars for selection, regularity and labelling of plant-based dishes, trained staff, special vegan days and for promotion of a vegan diet. Mensa Academica and Mensa Vita gained two of three possible stars.
Mensa Academica and Mensa Vita took part in the contest and gained two stars. No wonder: Vegan specials, plant-based drinks and dishes like chickpea curry with spinach and cubed sweet potatoes or vegan mini dishes in a jar are on the menu. These meals are prepared by specially trained cooks. A dining hall that serves a vegan dish every day would gain three stars.
In general, the number of plant-based dishes has increased in the last few years and the interest in trainings and in promoting vegan products has risen since PETA’s last survey. Most big dining halls offer a vegan dish (almost) every day and mostly, there are buffets with salad and side dishes. In addition to that, vegan snacks or sweets like vegan chocolate are more and more part of the daily menu. Two Studierendenwerke even offer vegan cooking classes for students. A plant-based diet saves animals as well as the environment and it is healthy. PETA congratulates all certified dining halls.
"The increasing demand for plant-based dishes in dining halls shows that ethics and sustainability regarding food are getting more and more important for students", says Felicitas Kitali, PETA nutritionist. “We are happy that the certifications of the previous year motivated many Studierendenwerke to organize trainings and workshops on vegan diet.”
"Studentenwerke have offered vegan dishes in their dining halls for a long time“, explains Achim Meyer auf der Heyde, DSW general secretary. “The Studentenwerk dining halls are well attuned to different kinds of diet and meet the students’ expectations.”
Also the Studentenwerke in Cologne and Ulm were rated with two stars. Studentenwerke in Frankfurt am Main, Göttingen, Halle, Münster, OstNiedersachsen, Greifswald, Siegen, Stuttgart and Tübingen-Hohenheim each gained one star.
PETA regularly examines cities and food facilities in order to evaluate how vegan-friendly they are. All 58 Studentenwerke, which run 900 dining halls and cafeterias in total and serve food for 80 percent of all students every day, were asked to take part in the survey. 33 Studentenwerke participated and fielded their vegan-friendliest dining halls.
In the evaluation the number and kind of vegan offers as well as special staff training were examined. Also vegan specials and the regular promotion of vegan dishes and diet were looked into. PETA wants to motivate all dining halls and cafeterias to gradually increase their vegan offer and to advertise it in a creative way.
The animal rights organization is of the opinion that animals are not meant to be eaten. Not only do vegans have a healthy diet, every single vegan also saves 50 animals per year. The free vegan start program offered by PETA gives advice on switching to a vegan diet easily.