Student Spotlight: Tess Hosman

February 22, 2018

Tess Hosman, an Environmental Studies major at Mount Holyoke College, is one of many extraordinary young changemakers who are part of The Humane League's Campus Outreach Program. Tess works as a THL Campus Organizer, in addition to being the co-president of her school's Animal Welfare Association, which advocates for the just treatment of animals and facilitates discussions about speciesism, as well as the intersectionality of human and non-human rights.

In an interview, Tess shared what motivates her to work hard for animals, and what she's been able to accomplish as a THL Campus Organizer.

What inspired you to get active for animals?

Tess: I was vegetarian for 8 years and have been vegan for the past 2 years. I always noticed a commonly acknowledged disconnect between humans and nature. Humans and nature, including non-human species, were binary terms seen as distinct from one another. Why were humans not considered a part of nature, but instead superior to nature displayed in our ability to alter our environment and exploit resources? I have always considered non-human species as equals. We exist within our individual cultures and non-uni-lineal spectrums.

I previously worked on urban farms for 3 years with The Food Project. Not only was I responsible for farm work, but I also facilitated and participated in workshops regarding food and social justice. I learned of the exploitation of those considered a disposable labor force in the system of capitalism. The unjust working conditions that migrant farmers face in order to supply the American food system are enabled through the same system that profits off of the suffering of non-human animals such as pigs, cows, and chickens. The exploited are used as resources; their bodies and rights are no longer protected. My interest in human rights issues has led me to notice connections in the unjust treatment of animals as objects. How can we reconnect humans and nature to foster a system of sustainability and reciprocity?

What drew you to The Humane League's Campus Outreach Program?

Tess: Upon entering college, I was able to fully invest myself in vegan activism and develop my individual vegan identity. The Humane League has offered me an amazing opportunity to pursue outreach opportunities on and off campus while connecting and sharing ideas with fellow vegan activists. I am able to gain experience in advocacy techniques.

What has been your favorite aspect (or aspects) of your work as a THL Campus Organizer?

Tess: I am doing what the animals need me to do. I am an ally for those that are deemed "voice-less." I have been able to facilitate in creating an inclusive community on campus and have been given the opportunity to connect with others based off of our passion for animals. I have really enjoyed participating in monthly leadership meetings with other campus organizers as well as brainstorming sessions. I've gained a lot of knowledge from fellow organizers and members of THL.

What tips would you offer other students looking to do more for animals?

Tess: As a student, I understand often feeling overwhelmed with work. After class, readings, studying, etc. it may seem difficult to find time to help animals. Fortunately, there are many ways to stay updated on recent news and increase the presence of veganism in the media. THL's Fast Action Network keeps me notified of recent laws passed, new movements taking place, and simple actions I can do to get involved. Simple actions such as signing a petition or tuning into a webinar can expand your advocacy skills. It can be as simple as this; at dinner bring up a conversation with your friends about animal agriculture. By having this discussion, you are learning to represent animals in the face of a society that is taught to treat them as objects non-deserving of life and freedom.

What are some ways you will continue to be active for animals after this year?

Tess: The Humane League has provided me with the resources to access campaign information and materials. I have been trained in advocacy skills such as leafleting and I feel prepared to correct commonly held misconceptions about the vegan lifestyle. I have been empowered as a leader, finding my own voice to present my thoughts about animal rights.

I will continue to maintain my campus club and stay connected with vegan organizations and updated on their events. I will persist in my daily activities, addressing the impacts of species-ism. I will continue to learn and develop, so I may fight for the rights and protections of all animals; human or non-human.

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