23rd March 2016

Vegan student convinces halls to offer new menus

The first-year was unhappy with the limited offerings for vegan students in Tree Court and has successfully campaigned for a more animal-friendly and sustainable menu

A first-year student living in Tree Court has managed to convince the catered halls to offer a vegan option at every meal as well as non-dairy milks.

Aless Donebauer, a mathematics student, is currently the only vegan in the Owens Park block. When arriving at university the options available to her were very limited, with the daily vegetarian option not always suitable for her diet.

She met with the catering staff from the accommodation and made the case to offer food that was not just animal-friendly, but sustainable too. Head of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Manchester Emma Gardner, also a vegan, told The Mirror the team had listened to Aless’s ideas and considered also the requirements of other students.

“As a university, we take our supply really seriously and source organic local produce whenever possible.

“We see more vegans coming to university and a result of student engagement, we now have at least one vegan option across the halls and bigger canteens.”

Myles Kitchiner, Operations Manager in Catering, also told The Mirror: “There’s been an increase this year of vegan students throughout Manchester and we’ve reacted to that.

“We have this particular student who was the only vegan in her halls and the chefs went out of the way to do the dishes for her.

“On the back of that, this semester we decided to put a vegan dish in all the halls on each day in all the menus. It’s been very well received that we’re providing the choice and the variety to all students. We’ve found that non-vegan people are also enjoying the dishes, so it’s a win-win.”

The chef Aless originally approached, Deana, went out of her way to make meals especially for the vegan student. “It’s very nice to be appreciated for the effort you put in,” she said.

“We always have a vegetarian option in Tree Court which is often vegan-friendly, so we don’t need to cook extra dishes all the time although I don’t mind doing it if necessary.”

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