Hidden behind the pasta line at the Connections Cafe, the vegetarian or vegan chefs prepare Orzo for Monday’s lunch. Orzo is a vegetarian dish sauteed with vegetables, rice and a choice of Parmesan cheese.

UTA’s Connections Cafe implemented the vegan line last semester after a resolution detailing the need for a different option for those who want to eat vegan went through Student Congress in spring of 2012.

Ann Mai, president of the Environmental Society, was one of the students who headed the vegan resolution process. Being vegan herself, she said she wanted that option to be available to those who preferred the vegan or vegetarian choice.

For undeclared freshman Timothy Creek, having a vegan option on campus means it’s easier for him not to consume any animal products.

That means: No meat. No milk. No eggs. No cheese.

“Animal welfare is the big reason why I went vegan,” Creek said. “I don’t want to be a part of that.”

Creek was a vegetarian before going vegan. Then he decided he didn’t want to participate in the possibility of mistreatment of animals. 

Instead of grocery shopping locally for fresh foods, Creek said it's easier just to eat on campus. The vegan line allows him to eat vegan without having to spend the time or gas. He also said that eating vegan isn’t always vegetables and fruit; it’s anything that isn’t an animal product.

Creek said he likes the new option but said it can be hard to tell what’s in the food. 

“They don’t label if it’s cooked with butter or with eggs or anything,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind eating dairy if I knew how the animals were raised.”

But the good thing about the vegan line, he said, is the food is cooked while he’s waiting, unlike food in other lines, which are previously prepared.

Since its implementation, location manager Kevin Craig, said the vegan line is doing well. 

“It’s a big hit,” he said. “Students eat in the vegan line even if they’re not vegan.”

Craig said the cafe tries to take everyone’s needs into consideration. 

“We’re catering to a more specific crowd. We try to pick recipes that fit their needs,” Craig said.

The vegan line is open in the Connections Cafe every day except for weekends.


Editor's note: The Side Dish is a blog dedicated to sharing stories about one thing that can bring community — food. This blog will feature stories about people in the UTA community and why their food is what brings them together.

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