With the opening of Seasons Café and Vegetate, two new on-campus dining establishments dedicated to sustainable eating, Drexel University is responding to a growing demand for healthier, sustainable food options. Both facilities are open to the public and to students, and offer vegetarian and vegan fare, as well as locally grown produce. “The menu fills the need for the vegetarians and vegans in our community, but also appeals to meat-eaters looking for some fresh alternatives,” says Rita LaRue, senior associate vice president of Drexel Business Services.
Located in the Creese Student Center, Vegetate is an internationally inspired fast-casual dining option that sells sandwiches, soups, wraps and snacks—including a pita stuffed with tempura-crusted quinoa with chunky cucumber salsa and a savory three-vegetable lasagna. Seasons Café, located in the new LEED Gold-certified Papadakis Integrated Science Building, features a seasonal menu with ingredients sourced from 39 local farms and an on-site bakery. The menu includes sandwiches, gluten-free soups, fresh fruit smoothies and fair-trade coffee.
But the food is not the only sustainable part of these dining facilities—both were designed by the “green division” of the local architectural firm Charles Matsinger Associates. “Our goal was to bridge Drexel’s commitment to remaining sustainable and environmentally conscious by using recycled and low-impact content in the design and production of the interiors,” says Matt Perna, lead architect on both projects. “We utilized companies and materials that are not only conscious of the energy they use, but the waste they produce.”
Those materials include GEOS countertops by EOS, which use a carefully chosen mixture of both post-consumer and industrial-use glass; Mannington Laminate flooring, which consists of 74 percent recycled materials and was installed without any glues or adhesives, using low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials; as well as Armstrong Vinyl Plank flooring from Armstrong Flooring’s recycling program, which is dedicated to reclaiming used material and recycling it into new vinyl composition tile products rather than manufacturing with virgin materials.
Drexel Senior Zicky Villette says Seasons and Vegetate are welcome additions to the Drexel Campus. “I decided to eat there to experience a different taste, as opposed to some of the more fast food-type options,” she says. “I have no dietary restrictions, but I do watch what I eat. ... These are great additions to Drexel’s campus and promote a healthy lifestyle.”
Seasons Café is located at 33rd & Chestnut Streets. Vegetate is located at Chestnut Square, 3210 Chestnut St.
Story by Emily Brooks.