By Nina Mendes
The SoVi salad bar is stocked with crisp, leafy greens and ripe tomatoes.
Through the sliding doors is a stationary carousel divided into sections. Each station contains a different food group, which caters to student’s diverse palates.
Over the past five years, FGCU’s Campus Dining has adopted several sustainability practices and wants to pass the education down to students through the food provided on campus.
FGCU alum, Ashley Farquhar, Assistant Director of Marketing and Sustainability for FGCU Dining Services, began working at the university in 2015.
“I really enjoy educating other students on sustainable lifestyles because you guys are in college and establishing your habits now,” said Farquhar. “The more you learn about healthy living, the more it’s going to help you succeed. The value I see in it is when I get to tell others about it.”
Multiple sustainability methods have been implemented into the Campus Dining system since Farquhar’s arrival.
One change that has positively affected those who eat on campus is the addition of vegan and more vegetarian options to accommodate student’s dietary preferences and restrictions.
By providing more eco-friendly foods, it exposes students to a different lifestyle that helps combat climate change and reduces the human carbon footprint.
FGCU recognizes that students may not have had access to eat the foods they wanted to while living at home. The university took advantage of the opportunity to make healthier food more readily available to those who dine on campus.
Junior Sarah Loube began to practice a vegan lifestyle once she arrived at FGCU in Fall 2018. She frequently eats at Sovi Dining Hall, where they always have a vegan option available. She finds it is easier to maintain her diet this way.
“Before I came to school, I wasn’t able to live a vegan lifestyle, because my parents didn’t want to spend more money on food,” said Loube. “I met people who were vegan/vegetarian when I got to school and came to the conclusion that it’s healthier, and I like to know where my food is coming from.”
FGCU Campus Dining recently received an ‘A’ on their People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA), Vegan Report Card this past October.
PETA is a non-profit, animal activist organization that travels across the country grading college campus’ menus.