OPINION: WSU is vegan friendly — if you really like fries

In an article titled “Foodie Finds: Being Vegan at WSU,” posted by the university, a list was compiled “highlighting” the best vegan food at Wichita State. The article unintentionally showcased the severe lack of vegan and vegetarian options available on campus, showing how out of touch WSU continues to be with students who have dietary restrictions.

Apparently, “candy, chips and fruit” are the best of the best Wichita State has to offer its vegan students. Really? You expect students to survive a full day of class, work, and studying on chips, candy, and a leftover apple from the dining hall? It could almost be comical, but seeing as we live in a country that considers pizza a vegetable, it’s not.

Other highlights include “waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A,” “Freddy’s fries,” and “fries from Shocker Grill and Lanes.” Three different types of fries — how satisfying. These choices are about as diverse as the Presidential Search Committee.

Outside the immediate vicinity of campus is Fuzzy’s, which notably has more vegan-friendly options than most.

However, if you have a 15 minute break between classes and you’re running across campus, there’s no way you’ll be able to make the trek out to Fuzzy’s and back in time for class. Even with an hour-long lunch break, it’s simply unrealistic to expect students to make Fuzzy’s part of their daily routine.

Shocker Dining, Panda Express, and Starbucks are a bit more inclusive, but they still don’t scratch the surface of being “vegan-friendly.” While cold pasta salad, chow mein, and soy lattes might be enough to get by, they’re by no means as filling or affordable as other, meatier options on campus.

The article went so far as to mention Pizza Hut with a quote that perfectly captures the issue at hand — “I don’t believe they have anything, but hopefully that will change.”

“Hopefully” isn’t good enough. Do better. Wichita State loves to boast about its diversity — a narrative that students from all walks of life can come here and not only succeed, but thrive.

Intentionally providing students who have dietary restrictions reliable and healthy options on campus is how the university can ensure that their students — all of their students — can thrive.

Marketing food that happens to be accidentally vegan as reliable options is not only untrue but dangerous.

College students are already at severe risk of food insecurity. Running jokes about surviving solely on coffee and ramen are commonplace, but they shouldn’t be. Physical health and wellness affects every aspect of students’ lives. It’s something that has to be taken seriously.

If the best this university can offer its vegan students is glorified junk food, it’s time to reevaluate if WSU is actually providing its students with the resources they need to succeed.

The new salad machine in the RSC is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. No full-time college student can afford to pay upwards of $8 for a mixed salad out of a vending machine. When other meals on campus range from $4-$6, it appears the vegan options are once again, unsustainable in comparison.

Delicious, filling, and healthy vegan food exists — and it’s not difficult to make. In an age when more and more people are choosing to be meat-, dairy-, or gluten-free, it takes minimal effort and research to create cheap vegan meals.

WSU has to stop neglecting its students who choose to live their lives being mindful of the impact food can have on not only their body, but also the environment.