By Yetnaleci Maya Martinez, Sept. 28, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona’s Foundation Dining Services has been working consistently with their newly hired nutrition specialist to ensure vegan and vegetarian students have an abundant amount of on-campus dining options to choose from.

New hire Brenda Garcia is the first ever Nutrition Specialist to help address students’ dietary restrictions and concerns, such as vegan and vegetarian diets. Garcia is a CPP alumna who majored in nutrition and has been working on ways improve CPP’s dining options.

“We are continuously working on trying to source out new products that are vegan and vegetarian friendly,” Garcia said. “Recently we have been meeting with new vendors that are on the market to bring forth more plant-based items.”

Garcia stated that some of their specialty dishes are their marinara pasta, which is vegan, and their alfredo pasta, which is vegetarian.

For pizza options they have a vegetarian pizza, which is a cheese pizza, and they also offer a vegan veggie pizza which is made with dairy free cheese and veggies. They have also been altering between a regular crust and gluten-free crust.

The “build-your-own” bowl is a fan favorite of vegans and vegetarians on campus with a tofu asada option which is both vegan and vegetarian friendly. Centerpointe also serves vegan soups daily. Centerpointe has also been experimenting with a new jackfruit tuna option which is vegan friendly at the deli station. At the international station they also serve a veggie roll.

According to Garcia, they are still working on adding Indian and Mongolian food with the hopes of continuing to expand their variety of options for vegan and vegetarian students.

Hiral Ashani, a technology and operations management major who was raised as a vegetarian, says he is pleased with the number of vegetarian options he has found on campus.

“I do not think they have to improve much on the vegan or vegetarian options, I think there are plenty. Maybe adding another item or two at Innovation Brew Works would be nice, but I do think there are a lot of options,” said Ashani.

Lollicup, the boba store on campus located next to Centerpointe, sells non- dairy milk making them vegan friendly. They can offer a fruit refresher, shake or coffee to vegan and vegetarian students looking to quench their thirst.

Although Cal Poly Pomona’s Dining Services is working toward getting everystudentwithdietary restrictions a plentiful number of options, some students still opt toward cooking at home.

Deekshna Balkrishnan, a lacto-vegetarian and residential advisor for the dorms on campus, says instead of eating at Centerpointe she utilizes other on campus resources like the Poly Pantry, Vista Market and the Farmstore to shop for groceries and cook at home.

Dining Services and Garcia are working to eventually cater to every student’s needs as the semester progresses. “It takes a lot of background work to get it all to come full circle, and we are always here for improvement and feedback from students,” Garcia said.

If students on campus have dining service or nutrition related questions or concerns, email Brenda Garcia at fdnnutrition@cpp.edu.

Feature image courtesy of Yetnaleci Maya Martinez. 

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