BYU’s Vegetarian and Vegan club is boosting membership and knowledge of the club after the past leadership graduated and the club diminished.
As past leaders graduated, the club and its members became less active. The new leadership is trying to get the club going again through activities and events.
The club will host activities such as dinner groups and nutrition presentations. Not all of the activities will be related to food however. Some of the activities they have planned, such as speed dating night and hiking, are aimed at bringing people together rather than focusing on food.
Justin Bosely, a member of the club presidency, said that being vegetarian is hard at BYU.
“Food is such a cultural activity. When you cut out meat, you cut out more than 50 percent of your social activities,” Bosely said.
Activities can be awkward and uncomfortable for vegetarians and vegans to go to because there is food they know they can’t eat.
The vegetarian club hopes to provide vegetarians and vegans with a social group where they don’t have to worry about whether or not they can eat at an activity.
This month the club hosted a bonfire to bring members together and share vegan hot dogs and s’mores. The activity gave vegetarians an opportunity to be social while not having to worry about what was available to eat.
“The club is about being social and supporting each other,” Bosley said.
Each member in the club has different view points and reasons for being vegetarian. While some do it for health reasons other do it for animal rights.
“I think that its O.K. to eat meat, but that it should be done in the right way, where you aren’t violating the rights of animals,” said Tansy Billin, a new member of the Vegetarian club.
Vegetarians are rare at BYU, they feel judged by other students for their life style choices. Billin has encountered many people who consider her to be hippie or weird for her choice.
For many in the vegetarian club, it is a lifestyle.
“It’s not just a diet; it’s a way of seeing the world,” said Devin Rasmussen, animal rights representative for the club.
Transitioning to vegetarianism can be scary. Getting started is the hardest part because eating is a part of everyday. Every time they eat they have to make a decision on what they are going to put into their body.
The club plans to reduce the stress of cooking and finding things to eat by putting together a cook book.
“I wasn’t a good cook to begin with, add being vegan on top of that and it makes it hard,” said Rasmussen.
The club has 180 likes on the Facebook page, but only about 20% of the club is active. The club hopes to increase awareness so that more students will join.
The club welcomes students who aren’t vegan or vegetarian. They are open to talking about their decisions and invite people to come and learn more about the club, even if they don’t agree with vegetarian or vegan philosophies.