Yesterday, the Vegan Club hosted a collaborative event with Animal Rights and Rescue of North Texas (ARRNT) and Mercy for Animals (MFA). In honor of World Farm Animals Day, the event featured Pay Per View video outreach, free vegan food samples, informational leafleting and Q&A.The event left volunteers absolutely exhausted (we reached an estimated 2000 students total), but the following things made the whole event worthwhile.
- Cooperation from (some of) UT Arlington’s staff:
One of the problems we were having was getting the electrical outlets on site to work, but thankfully the Office of Facilities Management was very helpful in responding to my phone call–they sent someone over to do some re-wiring. They really made the video outreach part of the event possible, so I am extremely grateful to them.
It’s always great to see people to go above and beyond their jobs to help people.
- Compassionate gestures:
During our Pay Per View outreach, we paid participants a dollar to watch a four-minute video about factory farming, to raise awareness about where our food really comes from. The point of this activity is not to scare participants or traumatize them–the goal is to expose the industry and hopefully empower consumers to make different choices.
While most participants were initially attracted by the dollar offer, several people decided to donate their dollars back to us for the cause.
Business junior Eric Floyd donated his dollar back, with these comments:”Now I feel so bad for just wanting the dollar, at first. I had no idea what kind of profound event you guys were hosting. Thank you so much for doing this to open my eyes to these things.”
- Collaboration of volunteers
The event would never have been possible without the help of ARRNT and MFA. All of the Vegan Club members had class during the event (though a couple were able to help for a few minutes). Without volunteers from these groups, we could not have pulled off the event in the least.
Barbara DeGrande of ARRNT provided food samples, vegan literature, a small tables, and a great canopy to protect our event from the sun.
Nora Kramer, from Mercy for Animals, even went to the trouble of purchasing a table for the event, because there were complications with our table requests at UTA. Halfway through the event, we also got another small table from Millie Hunt Fain (ARRNT).
While I was taking care of the Pay Per View, ARRNT volunteers handed out food samples, and Mercy for Animals leafleted.
All these people worked their hardest to make the event come together so that we could reach as many people as possible. I cannot fully express my gratitude to them.
- Receptive audience
One of the things I love best about these events is seeing the participants’ reactions.
Activists rarely receive negative responses from college campuses, because most students are open-minded.
Notably, several students from a junior high field trip were very interested in the Pay Per View. I was initially hesitant…I wasn’t sure what the rules were about engaging young audiences in discussions about such heavy topics.
However, the kids told me they were more than willing to learn and knew what they were getting into, so I had no qualms about letting them participate. Their responses were inspiring. Some kids had known about the issues, some didn’t, but most of them eagerly accepted the vegan starter kits and told me they were going to show their mothers the recipes in the back.
All other participants I interacted with expressed their concern for the issues and wanted to find out more about the vegan lifestyle.
- Delicious food
Okay, let’s be honest–food is probably my favorite part of any event.
We got countless compliments about the free food samples at our event. Participants sampled whole wheat chocolate chip muffins, vanilla cupcakes with chocolate ganache, and Field Roast vegan sausage samples (Mexican Chipotle and Smoked Apple Sage–available at Kroger and Whole Foods).
Everyone asked for the recipes, and I will do my best to post them soon, so keep checking back!
Vegan Club’s next event will be a film screening–please come out and say hi! I will also be making free cupcakes for this event.