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Going beyond the veggie burger


On Monday, March 19, from 7-9pm, the Voice for Animals club will be hosting a screening of the Netflix original movie, Okja. The event includes free vegan food, such as grilled cheese and ice cream. The movie screening is one of many events that the new club is promoting to spread awareness of animal cruelty and to promote a plant-based lifestyle. The club was created in response to the overall lack of awareness of animal rights on campus and encourage students to embrace the plant-based movement more than the ethics behind the trend.

Veganism is on the rise, especially in the United States. To put this phenomenon into context, the percentage of plant-based eaters has increased by 360% in Britain in a decade, whereas in the US it has grown by 600% in just the past three years. There has also been a 987% increase in demand for vegetarian options in 2018 alone. On a macro-scale this movement seems to have resounding effects, but at Loyola small changes have mainly been focused on food. While this is something to applaud, it is also missing the key element of ethics which drive the movement.

Loyola offers an increasingly wide array of plant-based options, even specifying vegetarian and vegan-friendly meals on the dining website. Veg-friendly options are available at other on-campus locations, such as acai bowls from Green Peel, the Mediterranean salad bar in Boulder 2.0, and Taqueria’s new addition of lentils and quinoa. It seems that students are opting more frequently for meat-free options, but overall the atmosphere on campus does not reflect the growing rise of veganism as a small percentage of Loyola students identify as vegetarian. However, the Voice for Animals club hopes to bring this trend to Loyola in more ways than just offering veggie burgers at Boulder.

The screening of Okja is representative of the overarching work the club has completed in its two years on campus. The club is focused on food with potlucks and food sampling events, but members of the club also hope to bring awareness to animal cruelty in the factory farming system because many students are unaware of these practices.

“We’ve hosted speakers, brought virtual reality headsets onto campus, and organized trips farm sanctuaries,” mentions co-president Erica Bemiller (‘19). The club aims to inform people about what goes into their food, including the animal suffering, health hazards, and environmental degradation inherent in factory farming. Movies that bring attention to the origins of our food, such as Okja, can provide an opportunity for Loyola to gain knowledge of and embrace the plant-based movement in more ways than just the food.

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Going beyond the veggie burger