Villanova Becomes First University to Receive PlantPure Communities Certificate

Villanova recognized for its efforts to offer and label vegan and oil-free options in its dining locations

Villanova Becomes First University to Receive PlantPure Communities Certificate

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University students, faculty, staff, and guests can expect to see even more whole food, plant-based (WFPB) menu options in the coming months. Villanova recently became the first university to receive the PlantPure Communities Restaurant Certificate—recognizing its efforts to offer and label vegan and oil-free options in its dining locations.

PlantPure Communities is a nonprofit organization that works to build healthier, more sustainable communities through a wide range of initiatives and programs. Its mission is to build stronger, healthier, and more sustainable communities by increasing access and providing evidence-based education regarding a WFPB diet.

Plant-based eating is gaining momentum at schools across the country. Villanova Dining Services introduced a nutrition program, Villanova Eats Great (VEG), in August 2015 with a focus on health and sustainability.

“For over ten years we have been offering vegan options on our menus.  I am extremely proud of the great work our menu committee and culinary team have done to focus on bringing more healthy food products onto our menus and into our dining outlets for our students and University community to enjoy,” said Timothy Dietzler, Director of Dining Services at Villanova. “VEG has been the catalyst for driving more plant-based menus in our dining outlets, and doubling the volume of fresh fruits and vegetables we have served across campus.”

The principals of Villanova’s VEG program are based on Menus of Change, an initiative of The Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and leaders in the health industry, including Kaiser Permanente.  VEG has defined four core pillars as a foundation for healthy eating:  reducing animal proteins; increasing fruit and vegetable intake; increasing whole grain intake; and reducing sugary beverage intake through increasing water consumption.

Alicia Farrow, Nutrition Marketing Manager in Villanova Dining Services, noted, “Our four core VEG pillars align perfectly with the standards suggested by PlantPure Communities. We aim to provide more delicious recipes that are oil-free for the benefit of our customer’s health.”

The USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended a shift towards a more plant-based diet, suggesting that a diet higher in plant-based foods—such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds—and lower in calories and animal-based foods, is more health promoting and associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet. PlantPure Communities works to further educate the benefits of WFPB nutrition to foodservice individuals, local non-profits, businesses, governments, hospitals, health-related organizations, faith-based groups, and other community organizations. PlantPure Communities offers tools, resources, and programs to empower leaders to make positive change and to provide customers with more education about healthy foods.

Villanova Dining Services remains committed to providing chefs with the tools they need not only to create delicious food, but also to create a positive, lasting impact on our community’s health and wellness.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.