Vegans are individuals who do not consume or use animal products in any form. This ethically motivated lifestyle can lead to some challenges at college, where vegans often find a lack of food options at dining halls and around campus. Fortunately, these conscientious students don't have to settle for salad bars; the colleges listed below include a variety of nutritious, vegan options.
Many of these institutions commit to providing multiple vegan food options for students and are also concerned with food sustainability. Colleges receive food from local farms and companies, which keeps produce fresh and reduces pollution caused by food transportation. They also often compost and recycle waste. Some of these schools even let students run their own vegan-friendly cafes. Others partner with vegan students or hire dieticians to maintain a certain standard. These rankings cover the vegan foods options at each college, and also outline the ways each of these colleges integrate food sustainability into dining services.
This list takes into account geographic diversity, and includes schools across America. Of the 25 colleges listed below, many are clustered within certain states.
University of North Texas
The University of North Texas, a public school located in Denton, runs a dining hall called the Mean Greens Cafe. The cafe offers options including vegan pizza, seitan, and fresh desserts. Mean Greens dedicates its operations to environmental sustainability throughout every part of the food production and cooking process. The cafe grows some of its own vegetables. The university's hydroponic garden -- a garden where plants grow without soil -- produces 11 different types of lettuce. The garden can grow 800 heads of lettuce every week using only one gallon of water.
The food at North Texas satisfies students cravings. Students surveyed by Peta2 for the organization's Vegan Report Card gave the University a 90% satisfaction rating. The Mean Greens Cafe serves about 1600 students per day, and the school estimates the large majority of students who eat at the Mean Greens are not vegan -- a testament to the food's taste.
Warren Wilson College
The town of Asheville, North Carolina, possesses a reputation for environmental sustainability and vegan eats. Warren Wilson, a small college with less than 1,000 students, takes this philosophy to heart when providing dining options for students. In fact, the school grows nearly 35% of student's food on their 300-acre on-campus farm.
Students initiated and now run the Cowpie Cafe, the school's vegan dining hall. The menu changes depending on ingredient availability on any given day. Patrons can find options such as taco lentil soup, quinoa salad with black beans and mango, and chickpea shawarma. Students have a variety of dessert options too, including lemon bars, jelly donut cupcakes, and pumpkin snickerdoodles. In addition, Warren Wilson counts students work experience at the Cowpie Cafe as a way for students to meet the school's learning outcomes.
Warren Wilson received an 86% satisfaction rating, according to Peta2's Vegan Report Card survey.
Stanford University is known as a prominent research school near Silicon Valley, California. When it comes to food; however, Stanford also ranks highly for vegetarian and vegan options. Peta2 gave the school an 81% student satisfaction rating.
Stanford offers about 80% vegetarian food options and 50% vegan options in all of its dining halls. Students can choose from tofu scramble, homestyle hash browns, and root vegetable hash for breakfast. Lunch options include lemon-herb roasted potatoes, tofu sofritas, and Jamaican vegetable curry. For dinner, the dining halls offer selections such as Mongolian tofu stir-fry and garden fresh gnocchi. Some dining halls also host specialty options, like Stern Dining Hall, which serves up tofu burritos or bowls.
Students can find full menus on the Stanford Dining Facebook page. Food options change every week.
University of California - San Diego
|San Diego, CA||
At the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), students can dine at Roots, an eatery that exclusively serves vegan food. The menu labels everything with allergen information, so students can avoid ingredients like tree nuts, gluten, or peanuts.
Roots plays with the names of entrees, with menu items like the "Spicy Sierra" and the "Root of All Evil." Each entree consists of a variety of ingredients. The "Spicy Sierra," for instance, essentially involves lettuce wraps filled with vegan "chicken," barbecue sauce, caramelized onion, and cabbage slaw. The "Root of All Evil" is a vegan "chicken" sandwich with pesto and chipotle cashew spread. In other words, Roots does not sacrifice creativity or playfulness when creating menu items for its vegan patrons.
About 77% of students said they felt satisfied with UCSD's vegan options, as reported by Peta2's Vegan Report Card. UCSD also earned an "A+" from Peta2.
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Earthfoods offers a different entree and dessert every day. For instance on Monday, the cafe might serve sesame noodles with peanut butter chocolate cookies. On Tuesday, students might see spinach and artichoke pizza on the menu alongside chocolate coconut pudding.
The eatery strives to operate with a sense of environmental and social responsibility. It receives a significant portion of its food from local sources, like the student farming enterprise which grows produce nearby. In addition, the cafe considers each cafe student worker a co-manager, which means all those who work at Earthfoods participate in a democratic decision-making process. The Earthfoods menu changes each week and is posted on the cafe's Facebook page.
About 3,000 students attend the women's-only Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Smith provides students with locally-sourced and sustainable food options. It purchases many food items from farms and companies in Massachusetts and surrounding states. Even the school's coffee comes from a fair-trade company based in Connecticut.
Although all dining rooms at Smith College provide students with some vegan options, the college operates one dining hall especially known for its vegan offerings: the Northrop and Gillett Dining Hall. The dining facility serves both the Northrop and Gillett residence halls, but students living at other residence halls can eat there too. Students can find meals inspired from all over the world, like vegan Mediterranean burgers, curried vegetable pakoras, szechuan spicy tofu, Thai peanut tofu burgers, and mushroom street tacos.
The Peta2 Vegan Report Card gave Smith College an "A+" and awarded the school a place on its dean's list.
Based in Elon, North Carolina, Elon University received a 100% student satisfaction rating for vegan food, according to Peta2's report card. Unlike some other schools, Elon does not run an entire dining hall dedicated to vegan food; however, the school does provide students with the Green World vegan and vegetarian station in the Clohan Dining Hall. The station, which opened in 2014, keeps its pots, pans, and other utensils used for vegan food completely separate from the rest of the dining hall. Therefore, students with allergies do not need to worry about contamination.
Elon obtains 10% of its food from local sources in North Carolina. For instance, the university receives its hummus from Asheville and serves students cucumbers and tomatoes grown at Sunburst Farm in Nashville, North Carolina. Students also eat sweet potatoes from Scott Farms in nearby Lucama, and assorted fresh produce from another farm in Wilson, North Carolina.
A women's-only school, this private liberal arts college located in a Boston suburb gives students several vegan meal options. Students know Pomeroy Dining Hall as the culinary center with most options for students with dietary restrictions. Although not strictly a vegan dining hall, Pomeroy caters to vegetarian, kosher, gluten-free, and vegan students.
Students can find options like quinoa and spinach patties, chipotle grilled tofu, Brazilian rice, lemongrass tofu banh mi, and vegetable curry. Wellesley Fresh runs the college's dining services. The organization follows sustainability guidelines, like composting and local sourcing. They also hire a resident dietician, who runs a blog and helps students with dietary restrictions learn to navigate the dining halls. Students can check out the menu at Pomeroy Dining Hall on the Wellesley Fresh website.
Wellesley boasts a 96% student satisfaction rating through Peta2's Vegan Report Card.
With about 2,500 students enrolled, Canisius College is a Jesuit school located in Buffalo, New York, and caters to its plant-based students. The school offers a dining station that serves entirely vegan foods. Students can find the Pitchforks dining station at Economou dining hall.
Pitchforks provides options like sweet potato, avocado patties, and vegan cupcakes. The dining station rotates its offerings, allowing students to order vegan pizza one day and Indian cuisine the next. Students seem to enjoy the meals at Pitchforks; which received a 93% satisfaction rating through Peta2's Vegan Report Card. On top of that, Peta2 gave Canisius an A+ and granted it a dean's list commendation.
A small school, Canisius follows through on its commitment to support small local businesses. It buys fresh produce from Hurtgam Farms, Bowman Farms, and other farms around New York. The pledge to buy local reinforces a philosophy of environmental sustainability.
|Boca Raton, FL||
Boca Raton, Florida's very own Lynn University -- a small, private school with an enrollment of around 2,000 students -- boasts an A+ and a 90% student satisfaction rating from Peta2's Vegan Report Card. The school's main dining hall, Elmore Dining Commons, provides students with vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options.
Elmore provides at least one vegan entree option in addition to vegan sides for lunch and dinner. Students can fill up their plates with foods like summer squash and carrot medley, Moroccan couscous, lentil salad with lemon dressing, roasted portobello mushrooms, salatat khiyar, and Singapore rice noodles. Lynn makes a special attempt to include food items from all around the world. For instance, Elmore will present students with a vegan bar option with North African food, like lentil tagine, tabbouleh salad, and Tunisian pickled vegetables.
The university's menu also lists nutritional information online so students can make informed dietary decisions.
University of North Carolina at Asheville
Nestled near the Blue Ridge Mountains, with just over 4,000 students, the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC Asheville) operates as one of the smaller UNC campuses. Even so, this campus offers great vegan options.
UNC Asheville hosts a satellite on-campus location for a local Asheville vegan restaurant, Rosetta's Kitchen. Called Rosetta's Kitchenette, this eatery gives students the option to eat comfort foods made with vegan ingredients, like french fries, chips and salsa, and vegan queso. Students can also order entrees such as "The Mountain," a brown rice bowl with kale hempeh and Korean barbeque sauce; and a coconut curry plate, which comes with garbanzo beans, spinach, peas, potatoes, and peppers. Students can find other classics as well, like veggie burgers, vegan grilled cheese sandwiches, and tofu wraps.
Students following a plant-based diet should also check out Brown Hall, which provides buffet-style food with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free foods.
At Syracuse University, a private research university located in the state of New York, students can find vegan options at any of the university's dining locations. Syracuse's dining services expanded its vegan options in 2017, adding 15 different rice dishes, 21 grain dishes, 18 entrees, and 14 stir-fry options to the student menu.
Currently all of the dining centers have vegetarian stations where students can find multiple vegan meals. Vegan students can choose from basmati rice with peas and carrots or vegetable stir fry for lunch, and pasta and green beans or vegan field roast "sausage" for dinner. Breakfast presents plenty of options beyond granola; students can eat hash brown sticks, smart vegan "bacon," and spicy corn pancakes.
Syracuse also receives high satisfactory marks from current students. According to Peta2's Vegan Report Card, 90% of students felt satisfied with the school's vegan options.
A private Catholic school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Duquesne University emphasizes a plant-based menu and gives vegan students several options for meals. Vegan students especially enjoy the V2 Station at Hogan Dining Center. Known as the vegetarian and vegan station, V2 serves up meals that seem gourmet. A student might see Hawaiian teriyaki chickpeas with brown rice and mango pineapple salsa on the menu one day, and then curried eggplant, tomatoes, and basil over basmati rice the next day.
Duquesne commits its dining services to the principles of sustainability. Its food provider purchases at least 20% of food from local sources. Dining services avoids foods with MSG or preservatives.
The school earned an 88% satisfaction rating and an "A+" from the Peta2 Vegan Report Card. Students who want to see more food options can get involved by joining the vegan and vegetarian food committee.
Although Nashville's Vanderbilt University does not operate a vegan facility, it does provide plenty of vegan options at its dining halls. Rand Dining Center, for instance, operates an entire station of chef-crafted grain bowls. Another dining hall, the Commons, allows students to choose vegan meal options.
The school operates a vegetarian cafe on campus. Grins Vegetarian Cafe not only serves meat-free options, but also a 100% kosher certification. Some of the meals are vegetarian, not vegan, but Grins presents vegan options as well. For instance, students can order a superfood wrap with avocado, quinoa, edamame, spinach, carrot, tomato, cucumber, and red cabbage. Or students might prefer the buffalo cauliflower bowl, which includes black beans, quinoa, and vegan ranch dressing.
Vanderbilt made the dean's list on Peta2's Vegan Report Card, and students gave the school an 86% satisfaction rating. Nashville also has many vegan options off-campus.
Loyola Marymount University
|Los Angeles, CA||
Loyola Marymount University, a private school located in Los Angeles, sponsors several initiatives to keep dining services as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible. Many food products come from local farms in southern California, and Loyola Marymount participates in fair trade practices. The school follows a "trayless dining" initiative -- where students avoid using trays to cut back on taking extra food and creating additional waste. Once students finish their meals, most food remains are recycled or composted.
Lair Marketplace -- also known as The Lair -- has Harmony station, which serves entirely vegan meals. Harmony allows students to pick from four hot vegan meals every day. Students can add their own twist to these meals from the salad bar. The Lair provides other vegan options too, like fruit juices and smoothies from the Natural juice bar or fresh produce items from the Seasons salad bar.
Located near Philadelphia, the private research school, Villanova University, takes vegan options seriously. The school provides vegan choices at all of its dining halls. Some of those entrees include chickpea burgers; kale and sweet potato flatbread pasta; curry stew with rice; baked tofu tacos; edamame dumplings; Moroccan potato salad; and apple teriyaki saffron rice. Students also receive access to the campus nutritionist and registered dietician, who can help learners on their journeys to eating balanced vegan diets.
Villanova even has a webpage dedicated entirely to vegan eating. Students can check out a 30-day vegan challenge, hummus recipes, and find a list of educational films about sustainability, the meat industry, and how to become vegan. Plus, students can participate in Veggie Mania. This competition allows professional cooks and students alike to create and cook unique vegan recipes. Three winners will see their entrees sold at Villanova's farmers market in April.
Boston University (BU) proudly displays its dean's list award from Peta2 when it comes to vegan eating. The school offers vegan options at all of its dining facilities. Students can find vegan desserts, fresh produce at salad bars, and non-meat protein options each day.
The school has a vegan dining room called Fresh Fuel at Ganby Commons. At Fresh Fuel, students can choose from two vegan entrees and several sides for lunch and dinner. The dining room serves up meals like pesto couscous; cavatappi with spaghetti sauce and zucchini; tofu and vegetable teriyaki; grilled portobello banh mi; and seitan with soba noodles, mushrooms, and scallions. Students can even find a variety of desserts, like an apple pear crisp or a vegan cream cheese marbled brownie. All of these options come with nutrition facts, and many of the options follow kosher guidelines.
Bowling Green State University
|Bowling Green, OH||
Bowling Green State University, a large, public research institution located in Ohio, offers one of the best vegan college dining stations in the midwest. Known as Shoots, the university created this station to meet the dietary needs and preferences of students, staff, and faculty members alike. Every day for lunch and dinner, Shoots patrons can choose between two lunch and dinner options. Lunch entrees include barbeque Caribbean tempeh with mango salsa, avocado carbonara, spicy peanut tofu, and mushroom and Italian spiced seitan calzones. Dinner consists of a similar variety of options, for example, tofu lime tacos, vegan pad thai, hummus wraps, Creole garden gumbo, and spinach sun-dried tomato and garlic calzones.
Students can find Shoots at the Oaks Dining Center. Dining staff isolate all of the cooking utensils at Shoots from the rest of the Oaks Dining Center, so students do not need to worry about contamination.
SUNY at Geneso
The State University of New York at Geneseo (SUNY Geneseo) offers two food stations with exclusively plant-based foods at two dining halls. One station provides vegetarian entrees, the other provides vegan meals. These stations have options like veggie burgers with sun-dried tomatoes, white bean hummus, house-made black bean cakes, vegan lasagna, baba ganoush, and Cajun grits. Students can locate these vegan and vegetarian food stations at Food Studio North and Red Jacket Dining Hall.
Even the dining halls without plant-based food stations have vegan options -- particularly build-your-own meal options, where students can create vegan burrito bowls. SUNY Geneseo attempts to serve protein-heavy vegan foods, such as tofu, black beans, chickpeas, hummus, and lentils.
The vegan food at SUNY Geneseo received an "A+" and a dean's list commendation from Peta2's Vegan Report Card. It also earned an 80% student satisfaction rating.
Pacific Union College
|Napa Valley, CA||
A private liberal arts school located by Napa Valley, California, Pacific Union College takes sustainability in its dining services seriously. At least 20% of its food comes from within a 150-mile radius of Pub Cafe, its main dining center. The produce that goes into vegan meals comes from small California farms. Cooks make meals from scratch with fresh ingredients. Since the eatery serves seasonally available produce, the menu changes throughout the year.
At Pub Cafe, students can order vegan banana walnut pancakes for breakfast, for instance, and roasted vegetable creamy marinara lasagna for lunch. Even the traditionally non-vegan options can be made to order as vegan meals. At the La Taquiera station, students can choose burritos, tacos, taco salads, and nachos with vegan ingredients. Students can even order vegan mac and cheese.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|Chapel Hill, NC||
With an enrollment of nearly 30,000, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) operates several dining halls, cafes, and food trucks to feed students. Every dining hall at UNC offers a vegetarian station, which also includes vegan entrees. At Chase Hall, students may find tofu "crab" cake, spinach onion pakora, or tomato onion chutney at the dining center's Veg Out station. Lenoir Hall hosts a similar Veg Out Station. The speciality bakery at Lenoir Hall serves a vegan chocolate ganache cake for vegans with a sweet tooth.
On Meatless Mondays, UNC whips up extra vegan options for its students. Students can consult with UNC's on-campus dietician for any dietary questions. As it stands, many students feel quite satisfied with the school's vegan offerings. The school holds a 77% approval rating from vegan students and an "A+" grade from Peta2's Vegan Report Card.
A public university located in Pennsylvania, Shippensburg University received an A+ rating and deans list commendation from Peta2's Vegan Report Card. According to the survey, students say the campus offers "numerous" vegan food with "lots of great options." Peta2's survey also mention Shippensburg's efforts in recent years to center dining options around plant-based principles.
Shippensburg also practices environmental and food sustainability that appeals to many vegans. The school purchases much of its produce from surrounding Pennsylvania farms. The college also challenges students to only grab food they will eat, in order to reduce dining hall food waste. Students can become involved in the school's Environmental Steering Committee. This committee includes representatives from dining services and faculty, and members discuss how to improve the school's environmental sustainability initiatives.
College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in America. Founded in 1693, Harvard is the only U.S. college older than William and Mary. Despite its historical status, William and Mary has kept up with contemporary demands -- including culinary trends. Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, with about 8,000 students, the college offers several vegan options. In fact, Peta2 gave the College of William and Mary an A grade for its accessibility of vegan food.
Students can find several options at Maize, a vegan and vegetarian station at the Center Court Dining Hall in the Sadler Center. In 2017, the college expanded the salad bar and added more hot meal options at Maize. Students can also find minimally processed foods without gluten and other common allergens at Simple Servings, a food station in The Caf.
Located in Vermont, Marlboro College has a small student population of about 200 students. The school does not offer an exclusive vegan dining facility, or a specialized station for vegan food. This college makes this list; however, because the dining hall -- the Metz, as students call it -- weaves vegan and vegetarian food into everyday offerings, even with a small student population.
The Metz prioritizes preparing food from scratch, using ingredients from local sources, and buying fair trade. Students can find vegan offerings such as cajun potatoes, honey sriracha carrots, Thai cucumber salad, basmati rice pilaf, and butternut squash soup with curry. Through the Taste of Home program, students can share their favorite family recipes with the Metz. Vegans can utilize this program to request specific vegan recipes from home.
Marlboro received a 100% student satisfaction rating from the Peta2 Vegan Report Card Survey.
Northern Arizona University
Founded in 1899 and located in Flagstaff, Arizona, Northern Arizona University has over 30,000 students. The school has a dining area specifically for vegetarian and vegan options, called Hotspot. Hotspot is an all-you-care-to-eat dining hall that features the Wild Mushroom platform, a food bar with only vegan and vegetarian entrees and sides. The hall also features a full salad bar, a superfoods bar, and a Simple Servings bar, which is void of most food allergens.
The campus boasts 27 dining locations, some of which are open late for students living on campus. The school works with a dietician to form dining hall menus and even has a mobile app that allows students to sort through on-campus dining options using filters, such as vegan or vegetarian options.
Northern Arizona University received a 78% satisfaction rating and a spot on the dean's list for the Peta2 Vegan Report Card Survey.
The list below addresses two main questions: Does the college run a dining hall dedicated entirely to vegan food? If not, does the school offer at least one vegan food station in its dining hall? The best-rated colleges on this list operate a facility with exclusively vegan options, those with vegan food stations rank high as well. Furthermore, this list takes into account Peta2's Vegan College Report Card. Peta2 surveyed college students across the country about available vegan food choices. The survey considered whether schools offered at least one vegan entree at every meal, if they provided all-vegan stations, and if students felt satisfied with the vegan options, among other factors. This list only includes institutions that received an "A+" or "A" grade from Peta2.