|Enewsletter • August 28, 2013|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Activist Profile: Ali Pester
Continuing our series of activist profiles, we meet the Leafleting Queen of the North, Ali Pester. Ali is the most prolific Canadian leafleter of all time, having reached more than 44,000 individuals with a Vegan Outreach booklet!
Why do you leaflet?
I leaflet because it’s one part of activism that anyone can do. I was very shy about it in the past, but after learning how easy and rewarding it is, I recognize that it has the potential to reach so many people, often in just a small amount of time. Protesting can take a lot of time to organize and that can be really difficult as a full-time student. Leafleting just requires a bit of my day – maybe just a class break in a busy hallway. It’s also incredibly effective. After speaking to so many people who didn’t know what was happening on factory farms, countless people have thanked me for the information, asked me questions about how they can make a change, and have even come out to help me leaflet at another event. Vegan Outreach makes leafleting so easy – supplying me with booklets and always making me feel appreciated for the work that I’ve done.
What was your most positive leafleting experience?
The only downfall of leafleting, I find, is that you often don’t get to see the results immediately. Especially at Warped Tour events when we are handing out so many booklets so quickly that we often don’t get to talk to many individuals. However, it is always rewarding when we do get feedback. A few highlights off the top of my head are when David and I met a student at Berklee College of Music [Will, left] who had received a booklet in the past and it made him go veg. There was also a girl I leafleted at Warped Tour this year who turned to her friends and said, “This is why I’m vegetarian.” Possibly my favorite moment, however, was when I was sitting on the bus on my way home from campus late at night and a guy around my age started talking to me. He said he recognized me and had received a booklet from me more than once. He thanked me for my “very informative” work on campus, and told me that he is in the process of going vegetarian due to my outreach.
Be a Part of Hotel Vegan Outreach!
Next week, Jon Camp, VO’s Director of Outreach, gets on the road for two months of college outreach through the south. He’ll be joined by VO intern Lauren Walker. They’ll be in WV, KY, TN, OK, TX, AZ, NM, LA, AL, and MS.
They’ve got housing lined up for most places, but are still in need of it for 1 to 3 nights in or near: Lubbock, TX; Houston, TX (for Lauren only); Las Cruces, NM; Lafayette, LA; Starkville, MS; and Tuscaloosa, Auburn, and Troy, AL.
If you’d like to leaflet with them, host them, or if you’d like Jon to give a talk to your local advocacy group, please contact Jon at jon(at)veganoutreach(dot)org. Thank you so much!
From “Your Daily Dose of Vegan Outreach!” & Jack Norris RD Blogs
Cookbook of the Week
Ali: “I would recommend the Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin.”
Notes from Our Members
Fun day of leafleting with my mom
[Karen, below] at Macomb Community College. We recently got
some pretty bad news about her health, but her
immense positivity has her turning sadness around
and into motivation to get out there and do
something to reduce others’ suffering. She’s
currently wheelchair-bound, but that didn’t
stop her from smiling ear-to-ear and offering
a booklet to every student that walked by.
She more than doubled her previous one-day record.
We heard lots of supportive words and had many
wonderful, productive conversations with interested
individuals – which brought an even bigger
smile to my ma’s face. It was a VO booklet that
turned my mom veg, so she knows firsthand the
power of this work. She inspires me every day
and I feel I’m the luckiest son in the world.
Great to be joined by Laura at
Dartmouth today. She said the veg options there
are improving; the booklet acceptance rate is
definitely improving! When I first started coming
here in 2010, it was one of the toughest schools,
but now there seems to be more interest in the
information. Today was a great day and we set
a new record here! One young man shook my hand
and said, “I appreciate your efforts. Keep
up the good work.” Another young man thanked
me for the leaflet and as he walked away he
cheerfully said, “And happy Meatless Monday!”
It was an awesome day of outreach
today with Joe at Joliet Junior
College! The students were accepting booklets
at a rate of 80% which was really incredible!
Many students were already vegetarian, and many
expressed interest in exploring a veg diet /
limiting their meat intake to help save animals!
A few let me know that they had successfully
transitioned into veganism. One girl, who recently
became vegan told me how wonderful she felt
since changing her diet. Others, including a
couple of faculty members, mentioned how saddened
they were to see how animals are treated, and
agreed that this was unacceptable. A number
of students requested extra booklets to take
with them to distribute to others! I spent some
time talking with students who told me they
had tried a vegan diet but were unsuccessful.
Besides offering the Guide, I encouraged them
to transition at their own pace if that works
for them…perhaps eliminating one type of
meat at a time or having meat-free days of the
week. They were very appreciative of the advice
and sincere about their desire to help animals.
Jovan and I quickly reached 580
students at Curie Metro High School
on Chicago’s South Side. I was a bit worried
that the line of parents in cars would object,
but a father actually rolled down his window
to ask for one.
In my short time after work
at Harold Washington College, I heard from 2
vegans and 10 vegetarians, and most importantly
a good number of students who were curious about
the way modern farming treats animals. The opportunity
before us is golden.
John and I had a wonderful time
leafleting at Triton College –
the take rate was amazing. I gave a Guide
to a student who used to be veg and had reservations;
we talked and he left saying he has friends
he wants to share the booklets with.
Great day with Nicolas
in San Diego! We reached over 2,000 students
at California State University San Marcos and
Palomar College. Talked with several vegans
who want to get involved – I’ll follow up.
In a short time at
Central Oregon Community College, I handed out
30 Guides to interested students. Many
students said how glad they were that I had
given them the Even If You Like Meat,
and some students sounded very sad when they
saw the Even If. Good conversations,
including one with a student who said that he
gets most of his meat from a particular ranch
which he named. I asked if he had visited the
ranch, and he said he had. I said, “I’m
really glad to hear that, because some of the
animal products that carry labels like free-range, if you visited the place they come from,
you wouldn’t like what you saw.” After
that, he seemed receptive to the message, asking
Good interactions at Oregon State
today – a number of students
stopped to talk about how disgusted they were
by how animals are treated. Leafleting’s great,
given how easy it is: just bring the booklets
– no complicated setup or equipment necessary.
A large number of people can be reached
in a short amount of time.
Today at Irvine Valley College
was a little difficult for me
at first. Luckily an enthusiastic vegan came
along just in time and we had a great conversation
that lifted me up. Also had a nice discussion
with a student named Max. I saw him sitting
down completely engrossed in the booklet for
around 15 minutes. He approached me to tell
me how messed up he thinks it is; he received
day at Bloomsburg University with
Cathy! I talked with Ayisha, a student who said
the booklet pushed her over the edge, and she
is very serious about significantly changing
her diet. Cathy spoke with a guy who used to
work on a duck farm. He agreed that today’s
farm animals are treated horribly. Cathy also
spoke with a defensive farmer, who said that
she treats two of the cows on her farm as pets.
The farmer and Cathy agreed that today’s chickens
lead really bad lives.