Empowering Students On Campuses Across the Country
With over 9 billion land animals being raised and killed for food in the U.S. each year, addressing the mistreatment of farmed animals requires change at all levels. With The Humane League's Campaigns team relentlessly hard at work with major corporations to eliminate the cruel practice of caging hens for eggs and our Grassroots team tirelessly building thriving veg communities in cities across the country, THL's Campus Outreach program is empowering student activists and providing them with the tools they need to effectively engage and inspire others on their campuses to make compassionate food choices. Whether it's going vegetarian, vegan, or reducing meat consumption by going meat-free one day a week, everyone can do something instead of nothing to help the animals suffering in today's industrial animal agriculture system.
The students who found us through the Campus Outreach program have been exemplary. And they're not just exemplary on paper, they each have a drive to make their campuses more veg-friendly, and they put the time and elbow-grease into it to make it happen. Over just one semester, that elbow-grease nearly doubled! The program went from 18 students to 30 students, and the amount of progress we've been able to make in just a few short months has been astounding. Each Campus Organizer—every single one of them—has success stories, and the thrill in their voices when they tell of that success brings me so much joy! Helping these students grow, helping them reach their full activist potential, couldn't be more rewarding.
We asked our team for some thoughts on their experiences so far this semester. Here's what some had to say!
"[My favorite part is] having people hear about why we do Meatless Mondays and then hear them say that they'll give it a go! Experiencing that light-bulb-moment, whether it's through a pay-per-view or another event, is the best thing ever." —Ella Azoulay, New York University
This semester, our Organizers have been working to be interviewed for the campus newspaper. Ella was interviewed a few days ago, and during that interview she convinced the reporter to adopt Meatless Mondays. WOW! What a gem!
"Even with all the no's or doors shut in my face, the times people say Yes, are supportive, and are open to information on preventing animal cruelty is honestly life changing." —Cammie Tolleshaug, California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo
Cammie goes to an agricultural school, Cal Poly, which is surrounded by dairy operations. Still, she stands unfazed on campus. She loves to present in classes about the Meatless Monday Pledge and has shown she's a natural advocate!
"I know so many people who have jumped from vegetarian to vegan or reduced their consumption of animal products as a result of my activism, and that is the best feeling in the world." —Stella Elwood, Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke is one of the smaller schools we work with, and yet, Stella has made leaps and bounds of progress. She has left Veg Starter Guides just about everywhere on campus. When I visited, we were walking around, and I just kept seeing them wherever there was literature displayed, it was fantastic! She has also already gotten 10% of her student body to pledge to go meatless on Mondays. Stella came up with one of our more rare-forms of outreach for this program: presenting to the Glee Club about Meatless Monday! She said it went great!"
"I would say that the highlight of my campus outreach has been the surprising amount of support I've received on campus from students and administrators alike. It has been super uplifting to see that kind of support coming from so many different people. And so far I have loved working with THL, the support you have provided me to get some serious activism done on campus and reach out to the students and staff of NAU has truly left a lifelong impression on me!" —Jonathan Colombo, Northern Arizona University
Jonathan started an animal advocacy group on campus this semester after becoming a Campus Organizer. He found an interested faculty member to be the advisor, has a core group of people who make up the executive board, and is now in the process of getting registered with Student Life. His recent letter-to-the-editor was also published in his student newspaper—Letter to the Editor: Inhumane treatment goes further than SeaWorld.
At NAU, Jonathan also has a lot of success putting up posters-against-cruelty all around campus. These posters feature one of many famous influencers along with their pro-veg quote. At the bottom of the posters are pull tabs with links to his school's Meatless Monday Pledge site! Nice work, Jonathan!
"I absolutely love working with THL. Working with a compassionate and driven team to help animals, people, and the environment is the best part about working with THL!" —Johanna Lee, Goldey Beacom College
Johanna attends the smallest school we work with, but she is the model for persistence and optimism. Because of her school's size, leafleting only allows her to reach so many people per day, but she has discovered a few great workarounds! For instance, Johanna has been approaching sports teams to distribute the Compassionate Athlete booklets to them before their practices, and she's on her way to meeting up with the men's basketball team!
"I love working with the Humane League! It's given me resources and an outlet to feel like I'm making a difference on campus. I didn't realize how much good even an hour of activism a week can do. Every moment has been awesome!" —Laura Hancock, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Laura is a grad student at UMass. Last week she met with a Resident Advisor supervisor and convinced them to let her speak to different dorms at their respective floor meetings—yet another creative avenue for outreach. I love when the students get innovative!
Are you a student? Inspired by these stories to get active on your campus to help animals? Apply for the Fall 2016 semester here.