Can You Relate to This Vegan Student’s Dilemma?
You’re a committed ethical vegan. But when you leave home and start university, you find there are no vegan meal options at your catered student halls. So do you:
1. Compromise your principles and eat non-vegan meals.
2. Try to live on toast and Oreos for the next nine months.
3. Change the system! Meet with your university’s catering staff and head of sustainability, tell them all about the benefits of plant-based meals and persuade them to start offering healthy vegan options… which prove so popular with your fellow students that they’re rolled out across the whole campus.
This is the dilemma that faced 18-year-old maths student Aless when she began studying at Manchester University this year. She didn’t even consider the first option. The second seemed somewhat nutritionally unsound, so she went with the third – and in the process, has helped transform her university into a more vegan-friendly place and encouraged others to try compassionate meals. That’s quite a result!
As she said:
Hopefully the new menus will help educate people as to how veganism is great for not just the animals, but also the environment and our health. I would love it if we could show people how easy it is to make the switch and convince them to give it a go.
We loved hearing about Aless’ determination and the positive difference she’s made, so we’ve just recognised her with a Compassionate Action Award.
Well done to Manchester University, too, for listening to students and recognising the need to cater to those who choose to eat ethically. After all, 20 per cent of British 18–24-year-olds are moving towards plant-based meals, according to a recent survey, suggesting that veganism really is the future.
As people who care about animals, we all face situations in which we have a choice about standing up for our principles. And when we choose to speak out like Aless, we can all make a difference.
If you know anyone who’s performed a feat of inspiring everyday activism for animals, let us know by leaving a comment below.