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Four Washington colleges are in the running for the title of " most vegan-friendly campus ," an honor bestowed annually by PETA's young adult division.

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Seattle Schools Compete for Vegan-Friendly Award

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Four Washington colleges are in the running for the title of "most vegan-friendly campus," an honor bestowed annually by PETA's young adult division.

The University of Puget Sound, The Evergreen State College, and Bastyr University are competing in the "small schools" division; the University of Washington has a slot in the "large schools" tournament bracket. The University of Puget Sound--the region's "most consistently well-performing school," according to a peta2 spokesperson--finished seventh in 2009 and fourth in 2004.

"UW, Evergreen, and Bastyr were all nominated last year, but were eliminated in the first, second, and first round, respectively," says Paige Snyder, who believes a Seattle-area school could have a shot at the 2011 prize.

"With students becoming increasingly aware of the inherent cruelty on animals raised for food--for instance, cows having their throats slit while they're still fully conscious--this could be their year," Snyder says.

Nominees are chosen for the "quantity and quality of vegan options available on campus." But since menus don't always indicate how vegans are treated on campus, peta2 also assesses the results of student surveys; considers "the enthusiasm demonstrated by nominated schools in promoting their nomination"; and conducts an online poll to determine match-up winners.

"Tell your readers to show us some love," Bastyr University spokesman Derek Wing e-mails.

Bastyr was cited for its coconut tofu curry and vegan chocolate cake. According to peta2 materials, the University of Puget Sound serves tofu-spinach breakfast burritos, and Evergreen State Geoducks can feast on vegan jambalaya.

At the University of Washington, the cafeterias offer meat-free versions of yakisoba and chow mein. Those veggie-heavy dishes may not be sufficiently impressive to dethrone reigning champ University of California - Los Angeles, where the menu lists "dozens of vegan entrées, including vegan lasagna, veggie chicken fingers, vegan barbecue beef with roasted vegetables, and vegan chili cheese dogs."

The first round of voting ends next week.

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