Bradley has been ranked among the top colleges in the country, but this time its not for the quality of the education it offers.
The ranking is for the quality of vegetarian food options.
Peta2, the college arm of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has placed Bradley in its Most Vegetarian College competition
The contest includes 31 other nominees, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University and a number of other mainly larger, public institutions.
Peta2 based its nominations on feedback from different students across the country that was received via Myspace, Facebook and the Peta2 blog.
Director of Food Services Ron Gibson said this is the first time Bradley has been recognized for something like this.
Food Services has always made an effort to cater to the needs of not only vegetarian students, but also to those with food allergies or specific dietary wellness requests, Gibson said.
The culinary staff goes through specific training that helps reduce cross-contamination of appliances such as pans and other utensils during food preparation and is always looking for newer recipes that are both health-conscious and vegetarian-friendly.
All of the efforts made by Food Services on campus focus on the specific wants and needs of the students, Gibson said.
New to the Food Services staff this year is registered dietician Kim Kelly. Bradley has been looking to bring a registered dietician to campus to provide more of an opportunity for students to receive this kind of specific attention.
Gibson said Kelly makes an effort to get involved with various student organizations across campus to see what exactly it is students are looking for in their diet – whether it is vegan, vegetarian, allergy or health and wellness related.
In this way, Food Services tries to provide the widest and most desired range of options for students to chose from, as opposed to your plain, run-of-the-mill salad bar.
Vegetarian students said theyappreciate the special attention to their different dietary needs offered by the university.
There is typically more than one vegetarian option at every meal to choose from that is health friendly, such as whole wheat pasta and Kashi cereals, and there is always a tofu and a bean option at the salad bar during every meal.
Other unique options that helped that helped qualify Bradley as a Peta2 finalist are the vegetarian sausages and soy grilled cheese sandwiches.
Freshman AEP major Katie Gordon said she likes having different food option.
“Not only are there multiple options at meal times, but they are good, wholesome options that a lot of people like,” she said.
Because of the wide range of options offered at meal times and the attention given to food preparation, students said they are not surprised at Bradley’s nomination.
“I appreciate how Bradley offers good options that help encourage different, healthier lifestyles,” Gordon said. “I’m not surprised that they received this nomination.”
Gibson said he is always looking for feedback from students. Food Services’ mission is to provide specific and detail-oriented services to Bradley students.
He encourages students to visit the Bradley University Dining Services Web site where you can post comments and make special requests for different food options that you would like to have on campus.
Responses to your comments are made as quickly as possible, usually within 24 hours, Gibson said.
The results of the first round of the Peta2’s 2009 Most Vegetarian-Friendly College competition will be revealed on Nov. 23. Voting is open to anyone online at Peta2’s official Web site, but first-round voting closes Nov. 2.