PETA ranks York among top 10 vegan-friendly campuses

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has named York one of its 2010 Top 10 Most Vegan-Friendly Universities in Canada.

PETA ranks universities based on submissions and the number of student votes participating institutions receive on their website.

“We ranked seventh,” says Anthony Barbisan, director of YU-card & Food Services, Campus Services & Business Operations.

York has entered the PETA contest every year since its inception. “We like to benchmark ourselves against other institutions and conduct on-campus surveys to help identify where we’re doing well and where we have opportunities to improve our services,” says Barbisan. “We’ve entered the PETA contest every year.” The organization usually names a single winner, but this year it named the 10 finalists, he says. “Receiving the plaque in December was a nice surprise.”

York offers a range of vegan options on campus. At last count, vegan meals and snacks are available at 13 locations – 12 on Keele campus, one at Glendon. Among those explicitly listing vegan fare on the Food Services locations pages are the Complex 1 and Complex 2 cafeterias, the TEL Café, the Graduate Student Lounge and the Orange Snail pub. But there is a lack of awareness around what is available, says Barbisan.

He is working on a new vegan express program with University caterer Aramark. This year they added vegan wraps and salads marked as “vegan” in the grab-and-go offerings in their coolers.  

Barbisan is also working with students, caterers, York administration and Toronto Public Health to develop more – and improve awareness about – vegan options on campus and educate people about making healthier eating choices.