“People forget that I didn’t grow up vegan,” Peya Yousuf, an economics and mathematics major with a concentration in statistics, said. “It’s important for me to remind people of that I had to learn and I’m sure other people will learn too.”

Yousuf is one of the many members of Rowan University’s Culture in Green club, an organization that is devoted to the promotion of veganism and plant-based eating.

Reflecting on her veganism, Yousuf stated, “I actually failed at being a vegan the first time. But then I researched and I realized that food isn’t something that you shove down your throat. Veganism is a lifestyle.”

This plant-based lifestyle is promoted by various members of Culture in Green. Klaudia Rzotkiewicz, an exercise science major laughed, “It’s funny but the main reason I went vegetarian was that I love trees. I even have a tattoo. When I heard they were cutting all these trees down, that’s when I started.”

Whereas Liam Cunningham, a history and geography major, said, “I started being a vegetarian for health. Then, I became vegan for health, ethics and the environment.” Cunningham argued that the “why” doesn’t matter within Culture in Green but the “how.”

“We want to teach you guys how and not the why of veganism,” Cunningham said. “I think your actions should match your values.” Whatever your reason, Culture in Green promises to help you make your vegan dreams a reality. 

Culture in Green has launched its 30-Day Vegan Plan initiative that guides pledgees through 30 days of veganism. Throughout these 30 days, participants can look forward to mentorship, moral support and a connection to a network of eager vegans.

“The pledge is a network that transcends the 30-day pledge mechanism,” said Dr. Corey Waters, the faculty advisor of Culture in Green. “It is a sustained relationship and resource that pledges, mentors and organizers use for information, support and even friendship. I know so many former pledges who are now active in the Philadelphia vegan community. We’re creating a vegan community at Rowan.”

Within these 30 days, pledgees can look forward to instructions on how to start a vegan lifestyle as a college student. Shania Terry, a psychology and anthropology double major, remarked, “Something that really bothers me is that people think of veganism as fresh fruits and vegetables, but we’ve literally just had chicken nuggets that were a dollar at Aldi’s.”

Students like Terry will take pledgees on virtual shopping trips to find affordable and tasty vegan treats. Pledgees can also look forward to notable guests within the vegan community. Dr. Waters promises that there will be guests such as renowned vegan chef, Eric Belfi, who will teach vegan cooking classes, Professor Gary Francione from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, who will host an ethics of veganism presentation, and Ed Coffin, a registered dietitian. 

You can register for the event here.

For comments/questions about this story, email features@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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