The first known college campus raw vegan food station in the country will open for business Oct. 25 at Oklahoma City University. The cafeteria is open to the public.
The OCU Cafeteria, operated by the hospitality company Sodexo, installed the station during Fall Break to offer healthier dining options to students and the campus community.
“We’ve made several recent changes in our menu options to promote students’ health, but this is certainly the biggest,” said Kelli Keegan, director of operations for OCU Dining Services. “Students, and their parents, should rest easy in knowing that they’ll be able to get tasty and nutritious meals.”
Keegan added that having the daily raw vegan options would also be a good recruiting tool for the university and hopes it becomes known as the best college in the country for vegetarian students.
The 105degrees Café and Academy in Classen Curve is helping OCU get started with its new dining offerings. Megan Massoth, academy director, will be running the raw vegan station on campus Oct. 25 with her Pad Thai recipe. The cafeteria is scheduling other guest chefs from the restaurant to work shifts at OCU during the school year.
The university’s concept came as a result of an idea from Keegan and Brett Wheat-Simms, Sodexo’s regional labor specialist. After visiting 105degrees, the two became fans of the cuisine and began experimenting on their own.
“We loved the food and the fact that it retains more of its nutritional value than other cooking methods,” Keegan said.
The new station adds to other recent offerings for OCU Dining Services including the use of fair-trade coffee and tea, organic vegetables and gluten-free grains. It is also the first university in the state to exclusively use cage-free eggs. The cafeteria began using fresh ingredients like basil, thyme and peppers from OCU’s new community garden this summer.
Along with the new raw vegan station, Keegan is introducing a fresh juice station. The chefs will make a special flavor mix each day. The cafeteria will also have almond, rice and soy milk available.
The cafeteria is open to the public with an all-you-can-eat format for $6.95. Each day’s menu includes a grill station, sandwich counter, hot entree special, pizza, dessert counter and a salad bar.
The cafeteria is located in the Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center near Florida Avenue and N.W. 25th Street. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the regular school semesters. Hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Although OCU will still have its traditional food options available, Keegan said the raw vegan station enhances the menu for vegetarians.
“We had a great variety before, and now it’s even better,” she said. “There’s something in the OCU Cafeteria for everyone no matter their diet or taste preference.”