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U.S. Colleges Go Vegan – Here’s How You Can Too

Manny Berhanu

U.S. Colleges Go Vegan - Here’s How You Can Too

It’s estimated that 14% of students in the U.S. identify as vegan or vegetarian. With an increasing number of young adults going cruelty-free, vegan burger-serving robots are set to be introduced in U.S. colleges next year. But as a college student there’s a lot more you can do than just eating foods free from animal by-products, including opting for vegan clothes, homeware, and college books and supplies.

Vegan-friendly clothing

College students typically spend a combined total of $9.5 billion on clothing and accessories every year. This figure is increasing annually due to young adults seeking out more eco-friendly products. This is backed by the nation’s green colleges, including Colorado State University which has a platinum reward for sustainability to its name. There’s a whole list of materials that aren’t vegan friendly, including leather, suede, silk, and wool, so be sure to steer clear of clothing made from these. Instead, look out for cotton, polyester, linen, viscose, and faux fur. Always check the label of any clothing or accessory you wish to buy as sometimes an unexpected animal product may have been used to produce it, such as a fur pom pom or leather zipper pull.

Animal-free homeware

55% of students live in rental housing, according to National Real Estate Investor. This type of housing is ideal for vegan living as you often have a bit more leeway with what you can have in your home. But regardless of your housing situation, you want to eliminate all animal products from your accommodation. When buying items such as a sofa, consider leather alternatives like Pinatex which derives from pineapples. If you want to decorate your college room, avoid paints and varnishes that use casein as this is a milk protein. Instead, go for casein-free paints or keep the shade already on the walls and enhance it with artwork and photos from home.

Cruelty-free college supplies 

On average, college students spend more than $1240 on books and college supplies every year, states US News. However, not all the items you require for college are vegan, such as laptops, notebooks, and pens. The problem with laptops is that LCD screens and batteries contain animal by-products, such as cholesterol. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to buy a laptop that’s vegan-free, but you can limit the impact on animals by using a second-hand one and buying a non-leather laptop bag to carry it around it. Biodegradable pens are plastic free and don’t harm the planet. These may be made of bamboo, corn, or soy. One problem with the books you’ll require throughout your college life is that they’re bound together with glue which contains isinglass, a product that comes from fish and farm animals. Where possible, download and use e-textbooks instead or, if you need a physical copy, a used copy is best for the planet.

U.S. colleges are encouraging students to try vegan options wherever possible. While it’s easy to eat vegan meals during your time at college, it can take a little more work and effort to turn everything in your life vegan.

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