Students with dietary preferences have choices at MediaNow

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Fruits bowls are offered to students who are vegan at MediaNow. MediaNow offers anyone with dietary preferences an alternative meal.

Anna Lindquist, Reporter

Aubin Murphy has been a vegetarian for a while now but said she still finds it difficult to eat places she isn’t familiar with like restaurants or summer camps

“People who I’m friends with or people in my family are used to [me being a vegetarian] and I usually just take care of my own meals.” Murphy said. “I’d say the biggest issue is when I’m with someone and they offer me food and I don’t want to seem rude or like I don’t want to eat what they have so graciously given to me. That’s probably the most difficult part.”

Going to camps like MediaNow can be a little stressful for students like Murphy because they don’t always know if vegetarian options are offered or desirable, but both the camp co-director Kate Manfull and Maryville campus liaison Rebecca Dohrman said they want to give them that option.

“What we ask for are healthy and filling options [from our caterers],” Manfull said. “I want to have a healthy option. Meaning like a vegetarian dish of some sort, and then, I want to have a filling option on the other end for everyone else to have.”

While Dohrman and Manfull said they want to to be prepared for students who have dietary preferences/needs, some people don’t let them know.

“There’s a question on registration form, I believe,” Dohrman said, “where they ask if a student has dietary preferences and so I wasn’t sure that there were any so we didn’t prepare for any, but yesterday we found out that there were about 20 vegetarians and a few vegan students. We asked the catering staff to prepare something quickly for them which they did and then I asked them to prepare more for today to make sure that there’s food available.”

Even with the lack of preparation, the vegetarian option was still given to all the students who requested it. Students said they appreciated the choices like the spinach wrap offered at lunch, but some said there could also have been more to offer for an even healthier meal.

“I really wish I was able to eat more protein,” Murphy said. “A lot of people who become vegetarian later in their life don’t realize that you have to change how you eat. You can’t just cut one thing out. You have to substitute the protein you would be getting from meat with protein in beans and nuts and something like that and I’m not always getting that at camp which is a little frustrating but I know that that doesn’t always cross their minds.”

Next time, Dohrman said she hopes more people can let them know what they want beforehand so that they can have a better time at camp without worrying about meals.

She said, “So my experience is that anything we know about in advance we can prepare for and so that’s been our sort of mode operations so far so as soon as we found out there were dietary preferences we managed them as best we could.”