September 16th, 2010 by Webmaster
Now is the best time of year to make sure your school cafeteria has vegan options. Here’s how:
Step 1: Become Friends with Your School & Cafeteria
It is always easier to change a system from the inside. Just by stopping by and politely asking your Cafeteria’s food service coordinator for vegan options, you can make a personal statement on why these dishes are necessary and offer suggestions how they can make the changes. By building a relationship with your school’s food service coordinator you can help them locate the best recipes and resources so that these vegan changes can be successfully incorporated into the menu. If you’re too shy, send a kind e-mail or note to the head of your school’s cafeteria or dining hall requesting daily vegetarian and vegan options.
Of course, sometimes that doesn’t work. You can then move on to speaking to your school’s administration. Request a meeting with your school’s principal or, if you’re in college, your school’s Operations Director. Come to your meeting prepared to talk about why your school needs vegan options, what the benefits of a vegan diet are, suggestions for how they can veganize the cafeteria. Of course it doesn’t hurt to do a little research into how many of your classmates would want these options and if your school has had any issues with recalled meat or dairy products in the past (link to recent egg recall story) You can even contact other schools, such as Baltimore’s Public School System and Indiana University that have added vegan options to their cafeterias and get some statistics and suggestions to support your cause.
If you have any meetings, arrive on time, dressed nicely, and be polite. Don’t give them an excuse to ignore or disregard your request. Remember, you are there to advocate for the animals, so making a good impression is very important and, perhaps, this will be the beginning of a relationship with your school administration that could later help you also get dissection or circus field trips also removed from your school!
Step 2: The Petition
If you strike out with both the food service coordinator and the administration, it’s time to start the petition! It is never a great idea to jump straight to the petition. It can make decision makers feel attacked and defensive and ruin chances for potential allies. Give them the chance to do the right thing first.
But if you have reached the point of petitioning, use word processing software to make a professional and friendly petition. Print out several copies and ask coworkers and students to sign up and show their support. Please make sure you are clear when collecting signatures that the people signing don’t have to be vegan to sign. They just need to be supportive of having more compassionate options. This is also a great chance to meet other people on your campus who are interested in animal rights and being vegan.