SARAH STUMPF — On Denison’s Campus, VEG is a club for vegans, vegetarians, vegetarian-interested and anyone interested in coming together and making positive change.

Leah Hansler, ‘18 a political science major, started VEG club her freshman year. When she first came to Denison there wasn’t an organization for vegans or vegetarians, but knew that this community existed on campus.

Hansler states, “I wanted to start the club so these people could come together into a more coherent community and so we could help provide resources and education for people to be able to move toward more plant based lifestyles.”

The vegan club is a perfect place for all veg enthusiasts to have a place where they can discuss, ideas, plan events and bond over delicious vegan food.

The goal of the VEG club is to build a community of vegans and vegetarians and work with issues of sustainability, social justice and nutrition which goes hand in hand with the vegan lifestyle.   

Along with learning together through shared experiences and eating as much vegan food as possible, Hansler wants members to engage with the broader Denison community and the Columbus veg community. Just as importantly, the club wants to make it easier for people who want to lead a more plant based lifestyle to do so at Denison.

The vegan club typically meets every Monday at 5pm for about an hour in the Center for Women and Gender Action in Slayter, with occasional changes. There is dialogue about issues like, “Eating veg at Denison”, “How to go veg”, “Common myths about eating veg” and others.

Leah states, “These meetings are about people sharing their experiences and opinions in open dialogue, and they help us learn from each other and build community. We also try to collaborate with other organizations in meetings as much as possible, such as working with the Green Team and the Denison Feminists.”

The open dialogue and discussion is a great way for people to bond with others, but also learn about how to go vegan if interested.

Once a month, the club holds screening for veg related films. This semester they have shown “Vegacated” and “Cowspiracy.” These documentaries are a great catalyst for anyone interested in going vegan. The club also has restaurant outings where they can get together and eat delicious vegan food.

At the Open House everyone comes together to cook and share a vegan meal. Once per semester, as a club, they go down to the farm animal sanctuary to volunteer and go to a local cat cafe.

The vegan club is a warm and welcoming atmosphere that gives people a chill and relaxed place to learn about veganism and how to go about it. Many people are aware of the environmental issues with animal agriculture, or the health issues, or animal rights, but the vegan club is a place where you can go to learn about these issues and exist in a space with zero judgment.

Everyone can learn that veganism doesn’t have to be a detriment, but rather something that adds to your life. It brings you veg friends and a way to be more environmentally friendly, healthier and better to animals in an easy and fun way.

In the future the club hopes to expand in welcoming people to a plant-based lifestyle. Leah states that she, “would love to see VEG get more involved with the Columbus veg community.”

Leah hopes to see the club expand across Denison’s campus through creating collaborative events and tabling at Slayter to engage all students.