Thirty-two American universities are competing for bragging rights as the "most vegetarian-friendly campus" -- and Ohio University is one of them.
The contest, now in its third year, is sponsored by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In the first round of voting, Ohio University is pitted against Northwestern. Based on total votes, one of those schools will move to the next stage, where it will face off against either the University of Missouri or the University of Texas. Two more rounds will follow.
Executive Chef Matt Rapposelli said PETA sent e-mails to nominated universities about a month ago, asking for photographs and recipes for vegetarian and vegan items planned for menus. Rapposelli said he submitted current items and those planned for spring quarter's menu.
"We've done a lot of changes with our menu, and we are focusing on vegetarians and vegans," he said. "We have been trying to make a concerted effort to expand our offerings."
Rapposelli said he has been working with students who are vegetarians and vegans to improve menu options at all dining venues. Rapposelli said a student suggested a better-tasting vegan pizza cheese that would melt properly. That suggestion will appear in the new vegan margarita pizza in spring.
Ohio University made it into the contest through student nominations, a PETA spokesman said. First-round votes must be received by Nov. 6 and can be cast here (following this link takes you outside Ohio University's Web site). The contest winner will be determined by Nov. 17.
-- Casey S. Elliott