Slippery Rock University is not a vegetarian-friendly campus.
While Boozel Dining Hall boasts a meatless station, it appears to be some medley of corn and beans every single day, labeled under the guise of “Frito Pie” or “Chili.”
Occasionally, Boozel will have plant-based chicken or other meatless proteins, but they are typically extremely dry and flavorless. Soybean nuggets should not be cooked in the same way that chicken nuggets are, and I am not sure if the cooks are aware of that.
The dining hall will also feature tofu about once a week, but I have only ever seen unseasoned, white, jiggling blocks, pathetically sitting atop half-cooked noodles.
One choice available each day is black bean patties—a mixture of beans, corn, and other ground-up vegetables. However, they do not taste good at all. Although I am sure that someone enjoys the taste, you cannot deny that it is essentially a patty version of the aforementioned corn-and-bean medley.
Another alternative is the salad bar. This section offers no meatless protein. The lettuce is typically wilted or old-looking, and it is simply not substantial to eat a salad for dinner every day.
While I had COVID-19 in spring 2022, Boozel delivered meals to my dorm. One of the dinners they gave me was nothing more than a pile of cooked mushrooms as the main course.
So, while, yes, there is a small vegetarian selection at Boozel, it is redundant and tasteless. As a result, me, and every vegetarian I’ve spoken to, are rendered with nothing edible besides pizza, pasta and fries.
Rocky’s, located in the Smith Student Center, is slightly more appealing than Boozel. The sandwich station offers several veggie options. The Mexican station used to offer raw tofu, but now the most they can do is allow you to substitute any meat for beans.
The meal swipe options do not cater to vegetarians. At Quaker Steak & Lube, the meal exchange always includes a carnivorous entree. As of September 2022, the meal exchange at the sandwich station is a chicken caesar wrap. You cannot substitute a vegetarian sandwich if you would like to use a swipe.
Every day, I feel I am faced with the choice of either mediocre, unhealthy food from Boozel, or the same sandwich from Rocky’s that I have been eating for the past two weeks.
A diet lacking this much nutrition can be detrimental to both physical and mental health. Aside from grease-induced breakouts, malnourished students experience trouble concentrating in class, difficulty staying awake and poor grades.
Personally, I feel as though my body is screaming for nutrients the entire time that I am here. I try my best to manage my nutrition with groceries, but that is difficult when the only cooking device we are allowed is a microwave.
It is frustrating to me and other campus residents that we are forced to pay for such an exorbitant meal plan when the food is so terrible that we lack the motivation to even eat.