UCSC makes final round of the "Nation's Most Vegan-Friendly Colleges" contest

UCSC is facing off against the University of Florida in a social-network-based contest that will determine the "#1 vegan friendly college in the nation."

The five-week contest, sponsored by People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ young adult division, known as PETA2, determines the "top-rated vegan school" in the United States.

The winner of the contest is determined by responses on Facebook as well as votes sent in directly to PETA.

Last week, UC Santa Cruz Dining sent out an email to all of UCSC’s undergraduate meal-plan holders, asking them to "Like" UCSC on the PETA 2 site, which also links to Facebook. The response was so strong that UCSC surged in front of UC Berkeley. Then, last week, Dining sent out an email on the Student Affairs list serve seeking even more votes, enabling UCSC to surpass UC Irvine.

Only one week remains in the contest. Those who wish to vote for UCSC can do so by clicking here.

This is not the first time UCSC has done well in the contest; in 2009 it made the top five.

"It’s kind of fun that it’s the Banana Slug against the Gator," said Candy Berlin, program coordinator for UC Santa Cruz Dining, referring to the respective mascots of UCSC and the University of Florida. "We’re known for vegan and vegetarian options on campus, and every year the word is getting out more and more."

Berlin said that the participation in the contest does not necessarily mean that Dining supports all aspects of PETA or endorses PETA; instead, Berlin described it as a way to increase awareness of UCSC’s sustainability-minded and environmentally friendly approach to food sourcing and dining options.

UC Santa Cruz Dining has increased the visibility of its vegetarian food options with Meatless Mondays, a program that is currently in its third year.