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Activist Profile: Marguerite Campbell

May 18, 2011

Continuing our series of activist profiles, today we feature a fast-rising star, Marguerite Campbell! While a full-time student, Marguerite has handed a booklet directly to 7,905 individuals, including 1,213 in one day. You can support her by contributing at her Team Vegan page.

Marguerite Campbell

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and now go to school in New York, but I’ve been pretty spoiled with fantastic vegan food in both cities. I’m hesitant to leave New York because there are so many vegan restaurants! I did have a stint living in London when I was a freshman and I must say, the UK also has some pretty awesome vegan food!

What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?

Studying! Just kidding. But school does take most of my time and energy. This semester has been especially interesting as NYU started up an Animal Studies minor. There are only two classes offered for Spring 2011: Animals and Society, which I’m taking, and Animals, Food, and the Environment. Animals and Society has been so enlightening, as I’ve never thought about animals in an academic setting before. It’s fascinating to see the relatively new research being conducted on our varying relationships with different animals. My course has already covered the evolution of our treatment of companion animals from mere objects to sentient individuals. I can’t wait until the “Eating Animals” segment as many of the students are not vegetarian or vegan and have probably not been exposed to information about factory farming before. It’s very heartening to see this minor starting up and creating a new academic field. Animals deserve to be studied!

Who has been / is a major influence in your life and why?

My wonderful parents raised me vegetarian, so I grew up thinking of animals as friends, not food. When I learned about factory farming at age 15, I went vegan the same day; my parents transitioned with me over a few years. It has been so great to explore new vegan recipes and restaurants with them. And having a vegan house is simply fantastic! We recently got into making pizzas and fancy nut-based ice creams – pistachio was especially awesome! My mom also came to every leafleting event I set up this past summer in Salt Lake City. She loved doing it and it was so great to have her support.

How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?

I was tangentially involved with a few animal rights clubs in middle school and high school, but Utah didn’t really have a strong student activist presence when I was growing up. I recently started leading NYU’s Cruelty Free club and have done a lot of great outreach and put on some awesome events so far! It’s really great to have so many resources available to the club, both in terms of funding and audience. So many vegetarian and vegan students have been excited to find an animal rights community at NYU.

Why do you leaflet?

After reading the excellent The Animal Activist’s Handbook, I understood for the first time how to effectively communicate my passion for animals. This was a revelation for me! I always struggled to answer the oft-asked question of why I was vegan, and the Handbook really helped me to translate the overwhelming sadness and despair I felt about the suffering of factory farmed animals into constructive dialogue. I was compelled to leaflet after reading it, because leafleting is the absolute best use of my activist time.

What was your most positive leafleting experience and why?

I had an awesome experience in leafleting Warped Tour's Salt Lake City stop. It was an all day event and I had a ton of help, it was so great to add up everyone's numbers. So many concert-goers stopped to tell me they were interested in becoming vegetarian or vegan, it was inspiring to see so many young people not only aware of vegetarianism and veganism but excited to givie it a go! However, I do appreciate even the coldest, windiest day because I know that what I'm doing is making a difference for animals.

What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?

I’m normally a pretty shy person and was super nervous when I first began passing out leaflets to students at Columbia University on a cold October day. But I quickly got over that fear when I realized how easy it was to just smile and ask people if they opposed animal cruelty. It takes a few leaflets to get into the swing of things, but once you put a smile on and think of the numbers it gets easier and even fun! If you help even two people go vegetarian through leafleting in one day, that’s many, many hundreds of animals saved over the years in one go – many more than you as a vegan would spare.

Support Marguerite’s work here!

Bonus: Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I’ve been making these chocolate chip cookies for five years now and they can convince even the most strident omnivore of veganism’s deliciousness! I think I got the recipe from a soymilk carton, but I’ve had it memorized for years. So here goes!

½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup of vegan margarine
¼ cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Half a bag or an entire bag of chocolate chips, depending on your love of chocolate!

Soften – don’t melt – the margarine and beat in sugars until fluffy. Slowly add the non-dairy milk and then teaspoon of vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients incrementally to the wet mixture. Once thoroughly combined, pour in the chocolate chips. Bake for 8–10 minutes at 350. Makes about two dozen.