Penn State Becomes Third Big Ten School to Increase Plant-Based Options on Campus

(May 16, 2023) ─ In April, Penn State, in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, committed to providing more plant-based entrees to students and staff, becoming the third Big Ten school to do so.

Penn State plans on having 35% of its entrees be plant-based by 2025, joining the University of Michigan, which set a target of serving 55% plant-based entrees by 2025, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which set a plant-based target of 30% by 2025.

The Humane Society of the United States guides institutions like schools and food service companies on creating and executing the most effective plant-based commitments for food offerings through a wide variety of free resources. These resources include culinary trainings, marketing and education support, and sustainability analyses that provide unique and valuable data to institutions about how plant-based menu offerings help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other negative impacts on the environment. The HSUS will work with Penn State on a customized approach that combines the university staff’s culinary expertise with robust student engagement.

“In setting this goal, Penn State has shown tremendous leadership and responsiveness to its student body,” said Christine Coughlin, food service innovation coordinator at the HSUS. “There is a growing demand among students for plant-based menu offerings that are better for themselves, the animals and the planet.”

“We look forward to working with the Humane Society of the United States toward increasing the plant-based entrée offerings at Penn State,” said Jim Meinecke, Penn State director of residential dining. “Providing healthy and nutritious options for our students, faculty, and staff is very important, and HSUS has been a great partner in providing guidance as we pursue this goal.”

About Penn State Housing and Food Services

Penn State Housing and Food Services is one of the largest university food service organizations in the country, purchasing over $40 million in goods each year. Campus dining commons alone serve approximately 1.4 million meals each semester. Currently, Penn State serves over 14,000 on-campus residents, and 14,000 LionCash customers.

Penn State offers food services to student, faculty and staff populations through five on-campus dining commons, multiple retail operations, professional catering and coffee shops. Enhancing our students’ residential experience through quality and innovation is a priority at Penn State.

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