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Vegan Outreach: Working to End Cruelty to Animals
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Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization dedicated to
reducing the suffering of farmed animals
by promoting informed, ethical eating.

Donations to VO are fully tax-deductible.
VO’s tax identification no. is 86-0736818.

Vegan Outreach
POB 1916, Davis, CA 95617-1916

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Selected 2012 Feedback

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The Vegan Outreach team serves as a vital cog in the rapidly expanding vegan movement. Smart, smiling, happy, healthy and fit people on university campuses handing out a colorful booklet carefully designed to inform but not offend – it’s a winning formula. The sky’s the limit. Their ultimate success will come when there will no longer be any demand for their booklets, because everyone has already read it and changed their lives.
—Jonathan Balcombe, author of The Exultant Ark

UA student
Above: A University of Arizona student reads a booklet from Dawn.

Thanks to your support, I was able to reach over 16,000 students and dozens of staff and faculty members this past fall semester as a volunteer. I have been involved with Vegan Outreach since 1996, and remember handing out the first version of the Why Vegan? booklet at festivals, tabling events, and stoplights. (Yes, stoplights.)
     As an increasing number of people eliminate or reduce their consumption of animal products, I have found it all the more important to hand out booklets and help people identify veganism with a friendly face who can answer their questions and offer advice. And it’s because of your generosity that this is possible, and why 1996’s thousands of booklets has burgeoned into batches of hundreds of thousands of booklets every semester. College cafeterias are more vegan-friendly than they were when I went vegan in 1995, and professors are increasingly assigning papers and projects on vegan eating and animal advocacy, no doubt in part because of Vegan Outreach’s influence.
     The impact we’ve made as a group is changing the way that people view animals and I thank you for supporting such a results-driven nonprofit.
—Dawn Ratcliffe, excerpted from her semester report

Soleil Mckirdy, Rashmi Abeysekera, Brian Grupe, Kitty Jones, and Jessica Carroll at UC Berkeley

 

This fall, volunteers and I got to 75 schools, and while I personally distributed over 43,000, the two dozen or so volunteers were the real backbone of the semester. Together as a team we reached a grand total of 91,669 students! Truly amazing!
     It was a special semester for me, personally, marking 5 years with Vegan Outreach and a 400,000-booklet lifetime total! Just one example of how this is making a difference:
     I remember doing Los Medanos College in 2009 and meeting no vegetarians or vegans. We met close to 10 today, and many students mentioned the movie Food, Inc., learning about this issue in a class, being aware already, etc. Love to see measurable progress like this.
     Thanks for your generous support of Vegan Outreach! We wouldn’t be able to do it without all the amazing volunteers and donors who believe in our work.
—Brian Grupe, excerpted from his semester report

Above are Brian and some of the amazing volunteers who joined him this semester (from left): Soleil Mckirdy, Rashmi Abeysekera, Kitty Jones, and Jessica Carroll. And below are “some happy customers” in the Social Movements class at Berkeley City College where Brian delivered a presentation earlier this semester.
BCC students

 

Vic Sjodin and friend at SASHA Farm

What a great semester of outreach! Thank you so much for making it all possible and being a part of Vegan Outreach.
     As a part of the Vegan Outreach team, I feel really privileged to be on the pavement every day as a voice for the innocent animals trapped on factory farms. I work hard knowing that I am just one point man of a whole team of VO members who sacrifice to make this outreach possible.

Edinboro students  
Above: After getting a booklet from Vic this month, the Edinboro University student on the right said, “I’m going to become a vegetarian,” and her friend on the left said, “I love pigs – I can’t eat animals that are treated this way.”  

     There were highlights every day, but one special day happened at Oakland University, north of Detroit. In two hours, four separate students came up to me and said they were never going to eat meat again. I spoke to each for a while, and each got the comprehensive Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating (which really helps kick-start eating vegan if it is new). Another student at Oakland said they would go back to being veg, and others that they would reduce their meat consumption. Amazing! If you told me 5 years ago to go and make 10 people go veg by 3 pm, I would have been bewildered. Yet every single day, many are choosing to go veg from getting our booklets. It really is amazing!
     Our seeds are growing every day. Thank you for not forgetting the plight of so many innocent animals, and making all these wonderful things happen each day. With your continued support, every day brings us closer to a compassionate world.
—Vic Sjodin (above), excerpted from his semester report

Nikki Benoit  

Mounting evidence of progress! Our society’s shift toward justice is palpable. People are ripe for the truth! This past 6 months proved how much awareness is growing among the masses. People care about animal suffering – and they no likey that it’s happening.
     Southern California’s outreach kicked off this fall with our first ever intern: Kassy Ortega. Kassy brought vibrant, new, enthusiastic energy to the turf. Twenty-seven volunteers joined us (half were repeat helpers!) to promote compassion throughout this entire semester. All total, 96,458 southern Californians were directly infused with tools for transformation at 85 different colleges and high schools! Many of these helpers were on-the-spot converts, like Amir from Irvine Valley College [below].
     Working at the scale of the problem, and with the real-time urgency it needs, requires this on-the-ground outreach YOU support. Whether it’s pounding out booklets, contributing to the creation and distribution of said booklets, providing support for those who tour the lands directly – EVERYTHING we do depends on you. By supporting our efforts, we can push forward and help ensure this chapter on insanity sees its final days.
—Nikki Benoit (left), excerpted from her semester report

Amir Mirzaei leaflets IVC Amir Mirzaei at IVC

 

New vegetarians in Times Square
Casey snapped this pic of a couple who wanted to go veg after getting booklets from him in Times Square!

Accompanying a donation to the Matching Opportunity:

You guys do such amazing work. When I’ve given money to [other groups], I’m not sure where it’s going, but with you I know it will be put to good use. Thank you so much!
—RH, 11/26/12

Students at the University of Central Oklahoma were receptive today, coming up to ask about being vegan, eating more vegan fare, etc.
     A group of young women interviewed me for their class project. One of them said, “I can tell that you love your job.” I do. Even though being on the road is no easy thing, and there are some sacrifices made for such, I’ve been so grateful to have been able to do this work for so long. At the end of each day of leafleting, I feel that it really counted, and that the world is a better place because of the leafleting. I hope that all of you who do this outreach feel the same way about your work. As always, thanks to the donors who provide us leafleters the opportunity to do this fun, effective, and fulfilling work!
—Jon Camp, 10/9/12

Big changes at Eastern Connecticut State since I first came here a year ago. Met 8 vegans and 20 vegetarians; 21 students signed up to start a club on campus, 9 of them want to leaflet, and 17 want to get better / veg food into the cafeteria! One student who signed up is the president of the food justice committee on campus, and would like me to come in to speak. Another student said, “You won’t want to hear this, but I found one of the pamphlets you handed out last semester laying on the ground.” I asked what he did with it? He said he read it and turned vegetarian! Serious progress has been made on this campus!
     Was great to have Julia’s help at the University of Connecticut, where we set another record. The very first student I spoke with said she received a Compassionate Choices from me last semester and went vegetarian! Another student said he received a booklet from me in the past and cut out almost all of his consumption of animal products. Another one said he had been vegan, but had difficulty only two days ago, and ate chicken, which he missed eating. We talked, I gave him a Guide, and he said he would try again! Three different students asked me for an interview, and one interviewed Julia.
     After receiving a booklet from Julia, a young man came to me and asked, “What can I do?” I talked with him about his compassion, and asked him to reduce his consumption of animal products to save lives and reduce suffering. He said he would definitely do that. He and 12 other students gave me their email info, and want to join the Veg Huskies group on campus!
—Karen James, 10/9/12

Krista at MiraCosta College  

Previously at Barry University, I would meet 2 or 3 vegetarians, but today: 14! The conversations were also off the charts. Many, many students overjoyed to get the info; high fives, and a bunch even thanking me for being there speaking out for animals. Also great too was a pair of teachers coming back to talk to me…one of them taking booklets to use for his class to focus on for a class discussion! A-mazing! A really incredible and inspiring day of outreach today. Feeling so blessed right now to be a part of this important work!
—Yuri Mitzkewich, 10/16/12

Kassy and I hit pay dirt at MiraCosta College and San Diego Miramar. Amazing interactions! Kassy got a fist bump and thank you from an older woman who needed this push-by-booklet for her veg transition. Got the motivation (and Guide) she needed! Then we met Krista [left], who’d strayed from her former veg life but – because of finding a Compassionate Choices in the library – is back on track!
—Nikki Benoit, 10/15/12

A new record at Coastal Carolina University, and good conversations. One woman really wants to get involved with an animal group after her experience working for the Stouffer’s division of Nestlé in Gaffney, SC. Her job required that she go to the slaughterhouse and although she purposely avoided the killing floor, the horrible smell and knowing what went on there was enough to make her do research on her own and move toward a cruelty-free lifestyle. Met so many other interested people I ran out of Guides.
—Dawn Ratcliffe, 10/11/12

Vegan at FCC

Diane and I were able to really saturate Skyline College – set a new record, too. I met three separate students who said they would be changing their diet after reading the booklet. So awesome. Also gave my card to a young lady interested in volunteering, and she has already emailed me!
     So grateful to have Diane, Mike and Jessica with me at De Anza College – we set another new record – over 3,000 students reached! Met tons of compassionate people – so many great stories. When I was taking a quick break to eat a sandwich, a gal stopped dead in her tracks (had just received a booklet from Jessica) and I was watching her thinking, “Go back and talk to her!” and she totally turned around and went and chatted with Jessica! Jessica also reported that a police officer stopped and chatted with her about how horrible animal abuse is.
     Crushed the record at Bakersfield College! Jose from Colombia stopped to help out, and he’ll be getting more booklets to hand out in the future. After reading the booklet, a woman [below] said, “You just changed me” and committed to go veg. Another woman told me her sister had gone veg a year ago after getting a leaflet from me on campus. At least 10 students said they would try and go veg one or two days a week. I met more vegetarians and vegans than I ever have at this school, and overheard many discussions being sparked by the booklets, including a few closet vegetarians coming out to their friends: I’d give some booklets to a group and one would say to the friends, “I’m a vegetarian” and they’d be like, “What?! Really?”

New veggie at Bakersfield College  

     Today, after starting in the dark and getting a nearly 100% take rate at Fresno High, Jon and I absolutely dominated Fresno City College – new record by 300 booklets (reached 2,531 students for the day). I saw sooooo many people reading the booklets and tons of people stopped to talk. We met a woman [above] who had gone vegan from one of our booklets after Jonathan leafleted her in August, awesome! Also got a number of people’s emails who are interested in being a part of Jon’s meetup group.
—Brian Grupe, 10/16/12

Great day at Lehman College – two more volunteers from this adventure and a professor would like me to speak to his philosophy class!
—Katie Pryor, 10/11/12

Great day at SUNY Cortland and Tompkins Cortland Community College. Two women said they were gonna go veg; a guy told me he was gonna go full vegan. Saw one woman reading cover-to-cover with mouth agape; gave her a Guide.
—Vic Sjodin, 10/11/12

I could get away with a later start at work today, so I stopped at Oak Park High School. Can’t wait to do this again soon – it feels so rewarding afterwards!
—Darina Smith, 10/12/12

Tina, Sandi, Tyler, Mary, John, Jamie, and I all had positive interactions at Northern Illinois University, where we reached over 3,000 students! Heard from a lot of vegans, way more than past experiences, which gives me hope that we’re making a difference out here.
—Jon Bockman, 10/10/12

James DeAlto at NCSU   Brandon Becker at NCSU
Above: James DeAlto (left) makes his leafleting debut, working alongside veteran AACer Brandon Becker (right) at NCSU.

 

North Carolina State was James’ first day of leafleting, and he did great! We reached 2,481 students. One student said she saw the movie Food, Inc. and was looking for “humane” animal products but, after some research, found out that Perdue and other large corporations were tricking people with these labels. She gladly took a Guide. I made sure to get Guides into the hands of nearly everyone who said they were vegetarian or vegan or got a booklet earlier and were affected by what they saw. I heard a student tell her friend, “This [booklet] is what made [another friend] go vegan.” Another student told his friend, “If you look at that, you will not want to eat meat again.”
—Brandon Becker, 10/16/12

Kwantlen student
Kwantlen student
Students are riveted to Even If You Like Meat at Kwantlen (above) and Trinity Western (below).
TWU student

The veg-curious people were out in droves at the SLO farmers’ market! One college student gave me every excuse in the book, ending with, “But I like eating meat!” Much to my surprise, he came back a couple hours later and said, “I’m a changed person!” He went on to tell about how his grandfather forced him and his brother to hunt birds when they were young, and he suddenly remembered how it affected him to pluck the feathers from the warm body of a quail whom his brother had shot. Then he enthusiastically said, “I want to be your apprentice, I want you to teach me how to do this!”
—Barbara Bear, 10/11/12

I was at Whatcom Community College for only 90 minutes, but of the ∼275 people I met, 15–20 were vegetarian / vegan! In fact, these kids were so thirsty for this stuff that I got into conversation after conversation – this led to slightly smaller numbers, but great interactions. Met people who wanted to get involved, students who were happy I was there, and plenty of folks that were all-around supportive.
     Amazing interactions across the border in Canada! Just a few examples from the University of Fraser Valley and Trinity Western University: Met a previous 2-year veggie who gave up because of her nonsupportive mother, but was really excited about getting a Guide. Another said the Even If You Like Meat is pushing her over the edge; she got Guided. Met a former vegan who had gone back because it’s “too hard around here.” He seemed to really want to try again, so I Guided him. Lastly, and highlight of the day, I handed an Even If to a woman [bottom right] who sat down on a park bench near me while I leafleted. Early on, she asked, “This is real?” After about 15 minutes of reading it, she told me, “This is great.” She was very happy to get a Guide.
     Good outreach today at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, University of British Columbia, and Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Although the day started out gloomy, had a big free-speech win, and I reached my 200,000th person with a Vegan Outreach booklet.
     I have to give a sincere thank you to all of the activists that are a continuing inspiration, and to the donors that make this grassroots, straight-to-the-people form of activism possible. It is so rewarding to be able to witness firsthand not just the sadness that runs over people when they read about the treatment of today’s farmed animals, but their consideration that this is cruelty they don’t need to be supporting. Thank you for making this kind of outreach a reality.
—John Oberg, 10/12/12

 

VVC student Taft College student
Above: Compassionate Choices is studied at Victor Valley and Taft.

Kassy and I set new records at Victor Valley and Barstow Community College! An ag student asked for extra booklets so he could show his class. Boy oh boy, is he in for a surprise!
     Two more records today! And on the way from Cal State Bakersfield to Taft College, we were at a dead stop because of construction traffic, and Kassy [below] leapt from the car to leaflet the stopped cars! When we got to Taft, one of the first people said, “Oh, you just gave me one on the highway! Great idea!!”
—Nikki Benoit, 10/11/12

Kassy Ortega takes advantage of a traffic holdup

 

Still can’t believe how many vegans / vegetarians I met at College of the Redwoods. So awesome. Chatted at length with a new mother who had gone back to eating meat when she got pregnant but was now thinking of going veg again. Very productive chat. There are at least two classes on campus that are requiring students to do projects on this; many students commented that the booklet would be a good resource. An ag professor told me how important it is that I am getting this information out to students.
—Brian Grupe, 10/3/12

Charlotte Naufahu at Chico State
Charlotte Naufahu (above), Kathy McCrary, Jeannie Trizzino, Karri Sorrenti, Brian Grupe, and Roxana of CFAR handed out 2,450 VO booklets at Chico State on 9/26/12 – a new one-day record for Chico!

Four never-before-leafleted schools today: SUNY Canton, SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson University, and St. Lawrence University. Good interactions, including one woman at Potsdam who said, “I have to go veg now,” and her friend encouraged her, “Yes, I’ll help you!”
—Vic Sjodin, 10/9/12

I love Winston-Salem State. Too many great conversations to share but highlights include a conversation with a woman who is legally blind (can read leaflet very close up) and was thrilled to get a Compassionate Choices and Guide, as she is interested in going vegetarian. I recommended that she try some of the frozen Gardein chicken and she happily told me that she had tried one of the Gardein meats from Whole Foods and really liked it.
     A student with the sustainability group talked to me about helping him come up with ways to promote vegetarian eating and we exchanged contact info. Complimented the recycling worker who was emptying the recycling bins with lightning speed like I did back in the day; after chatting for a minute, it turns out that he is moving toward a vegetarian diet and appreciated the booklets.
     Central Piedmont Community College is always a great place. Talked to a woman who read the booklet and said that it was pretty compelling; after a couple of minutes chatting, she said, “It looks like you have a new convert” – a bonus, since she has two kids. Had a conversation with a future vet student who feels hypocritical since she still eats animals. I told her to start by going vegan one or two days a week and then build on that. I’m pretty sure that she’ll be at least a vegetarian.
—Dawn Ratcliffe, 10/5/12

At the University of Tampa, one religious professor was covering the topic in class, so I gave her 30 to distribute. I also heard from three students who said they discussed it in class.
—Jeff Boghosian, 10/8/12

Patti and I reached 800+ students at Augustana College. After reading the booklet, one student came back and said, “It’s good literature. I feel like it’s very accessible, even for people who might not want to think about this sort of thing.”
—Sen Holiday, 10/9/12

Kayla at Marshall University  
On 9/24/12, Jon Camp reached 1,450 students at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. A highlight was meeting Kayla (above): “She had a vivid dream about animals last night, and it led her to thinking about the way we treat animals. Getting the booklet sealed the deal in terms of how she would resolve those thoughts; she was going veg as a result.”  

Met many vegetarians and vegans at the University of Cincinnati. One woman told Phil she had a booklet stuck on her refrigerator. One told me she hadn’t eaten meat since she had been handed a booklet previously.
—Kevin O’Connor, 10/9/12

In my short time at Governors State, three students stopped by to say they remember me from two years ago, and the booklet changed the way they eat. Wonderful!
—Jesse Trombley, 10/8/12

I always have a great time leafleting Appalachian State – just a ton of great feedback. For example, a student said, “I support you fully. What a very logical and constructive way to make change.”
—Rob Gilbride, 10/10/12

Chris, Mikael, and I got lots of feedback at Oakton Community College. Sometimes we think that people already know what happens, but these students were truly shocked by how animals are treated, and many were willing to make changes to stop it. We had many great conversations with students who were at various stages of change.
—Leslie Patterson, 10/10/12

Natasha Kotey at OU
Natasha Kotey (above), Logan Narcomey, and Jon Camp reached another 2,000 students at the University of Oklahoma on 10/11/12.
Ryan at EDCC

Reached 1,750 students at Oklahoma State, and I probably spoke with more ag students than during all the leafleting over the last year combined. Some of the main points I always hit are:

  • Nowhere in our booklets do we say that farmers are bad people, and we focus on the suffering caused by certain standard agricultural procedures rather than on random acts of malicious abuse.
  • I fully realize that what we do to farm animals is done for the sake of efficiency, not to purposefully cause pain to animals. But what we do for the sake of efficiency causes pain to animals.
  • By no means do we claim to be morally pure. By living, I contribute to suffering; I’m trying to make our very imperfect world a bit less imperfect.

     I was pretty amazed by some of the constructive discussions I had. Some of these ag students gave me more respect, courtesy, and open-mindedness than I sometimes get from those in the vegan and animal advocacy community who disagree over certain tactics.
—Jon Camp, 10/8/12

At Western Washington University, Andy and I heard lots of morale-boosting feedback, like “Keep up the great work, I appreciate what you’re doing.” Also heard from a professor who yelled to us, “Because of YOU I ate a vegetarian lunch!” Another non-veg student raved about how good soy chorizo is. One student said, “My friend got one and I read it all the way through. It was awesome.” Another said, “Read it. Liked it. Thanks.” Each got a Guide.
     At Edmonds Community College, met a kid named Ryan [right] who was so impacted by the booklet that he came back and we talked for about 15 minutes, after which he seemed convinced to give vegetarianism a try.
     At the University of Washington, I leafleted Angel early in the day, and he came back and helped leaflet for a couple of hours. One woman said she had been saddened by seeing a chicken truck driving by, so was happy to see us out there; and I made sure to Guide her. Another interaction: “Oh, thanks, I got one this morning.” “What’d you think?” She replied loudly, “I think I’m gonna stop eating meat!”
     South Seattle Community College was also great leafleting. After I handed one student a booklet, she said, “I stopped eating meat because I got one of these. No more meat for me!”
—John Oberg, 10/5/12

 

Accompanying a recent donation:

I don’t have the time to leaflet, but I know you do quality work and I feel comfortable giving you money with the knowledge that you would use it more effectively than I possibly could. Thanks.
—JB

There aren’t any words to describe how awesome you guys are. You are my inspiration. I love every living animal on this earth and haven’t eaten them ever since I was 6, I’m 13 now. I appreciate everything you do and all of your hard work, it takes really good people to do what you do. You will always have my support.
—PS, 11/27/12

Macie Rivera, Brian Grupe, and Jasmin Marie Valdez at Cabrillo College
Above are Macie Rivera, Brian Grupe, and Jasmin Marie Valdez at Cabrillo College, where they set a new one-day record for the campus this fall! Also this semester, Brian handed out his 400,000th VO booklet!!

 

I can’t believe how many vegetarians I met at Shasta College – so cool! I met a solidly built athlete who said he’s tired of explaining to everyone that he gets plenty of protein and can still be fit eating veg. I encouraged him to stay strong and remember that we gotta “kill ’em with kindness,” for lack of a better of expression. Encouraged / Guided a gal who wants to go from veg to vegan, as well as a number of other people who had either tried veg or wanted to do more veg. Also got amazing feedback at Shasta High School, including: “Wow dude, this is crazy.” “Yeah man, this is messed up, thanks.”
     Southern Oregon U is one of my fav schools of all time. Not only are there TONS of vegetarians / vegans, there are just so many open-minded people willing to rethink their current choices. I could write extensively on all the great talks I had with people but let’s just say that today was great.`` Many people let me know they had read the booklet and a record number of people (∼20) told me to keep up the good work / thanks for being out here / I’m glad you’re doing this, or some variation of a statement like that. A warm and fuzzy day.
—Brian Grupe, 10/1/12

SCC student  
One of the 1,000 students reached by John Oberg at Spokane Community College on 9/25/12.  

Solid day of outreach at Washington State – handed Even If You Like Meat to 2,534 students, and gave out 37 Guides and 4 AMLs. Met a ton of vegetarians and vegans; great feedback, and several students wanted to get involved, so I’ll be putting them in touch with each other. One guy said, “After reading that, I’m never eating chicken again. Maybe that’s just a gradual step, but I can’t eat chicken any longer.” Just knocked his suffering footprint down to about 1% of what it was, whoop whoop! Later, a woman told me, “Oh my god! I read that earlier and it’s like the saddest thing I’ve ever read!” At the end of the day, I got a text from my CouchSurfing host, also a student at WSU: “In class, we were writing about things we were passionate about. The girl I exchanged lists with had written down ‘animal rights’ because of the booklet you gave her.”
     Today, reached over 1,300 students at Columbia Basin College, Whitman College, and Walla Walla U. Great conversations and feedback, including:
     “I had no idea the meat I ate was like that.” (I Guided him, and as he walked away, he held it over his head as if in solidarity.)
     “Yes, I got one and it made my stomach turn.”
     “This is terrible. It ruined my day.”
     Also gave a Guide to a former vegetarian – hope she’ll come back!
—John Oberg, 9/27/12

Robb Curtis at USC

Receptivity was way up at USC, even though it was 100 degrees. Robb [Curtis, right] and Jessica joined me and Kassy, and we reached 2,000 students.
     Today, while Kassy held the fort at UC Riverside, I headed over to University of Redlands, perhaps the most ready campus I’ve ever been to: Daiya cheese and Tofutti sour cream – I am not kidding you! The third person I leafleted was the student AR group prez – he’s planning to host events and have me speak soon.
—Nikki Benoit, 10/3/12

While leafleting Washington Park, I ran into an acquaintance who works at the University of Cincinnati. She mentioned that UC’s “Free Speech Zone” has been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. And a recent campus poll found that 10% of the students considered themselves veg or veg-friendly, and 30% would like more veg options on campus. The student group is using this to improve the choices available.
—Kevin O’Connor, 9/29/12

Was joined by Angelica and Devon at the University of Florida, and we reached 700 students, despite the rain and much competition. Devon said that in her dorm, 6% are vegan and another 6% are vegetarian.
—Jeff Boghosian, 10/3/12

At Linn-Benton Community College, one student pointed to the booklet and said, “That’s why I went vegetarian.” Other people stopped who wanted to help animals. One guy yelled out that he was using the booklet for a report in class.
—Nettie Schwager, 10/1/12

At Chemeketa Community College, I met a young man who said his wife had gone vegetarian because of the booklet; a man who asked how one goes about eating properly as a vegan, after reading the booklet he had received today; two people who have tried vegetarianism in the past and wanted nutrition information to help them try again; and a young man who asked many good questions before saying he’s likely to change his eating habits.
—Cobie deLespinasse, 10/2/12

Pauline Lombardo at DePaul University Livia Moy at DePaul University
Above: Mikael Nielsen sends along these pics of Pauline Lombardo (left) and Livia Moy (right) providing a voice for the animals at DePaul University.

 

Pauline and I reached nearly 600 students at the University of Chicago. One girl said, “You got me already, I am a convert!” A man from China said he received the leaflet and was planning to reduce his meat consumption as a result and to share the information with others. Also, the construction workers were quite receptive – a couple of them told me they were interested in going veg!
—Leslie Patterson, 10/3/12

Shanti Aiyer at University Center

Livia, Pauline, Diana, Shanti [Aiyer, right], and I had a great day at University Center. One student stated, “No more chicken!” I told him he picked the best place to start and that cutting out eggs and chicken meat would have a huge impact on reducing the suffering of these animals. I also had a nice discussion with a woman and her boyfriend. Seems she had been a vegetarian and her boyfriend made her stop. Apparently, the boyfriend did not have a clue how badly the animals are treated. I think the woman is on her way to becoming a vegetarian again, and he is going to reduce his meat consumption.
—Mikael Nielsen, 10/3/12

At Austin Peay State, I chatted with an ag student who lives on a beef farm. We were very cordial with each other. She told me she has an uncle who’s vegan, and she’s had tofu in dishes (and likes it). Moreover, she agrees that today’s chickens don’t lead good lives, and that even on the small farms, there are things that go on that aren’t always ideal for the animals. This conversation was a sign to me that as more people (even ag students!) get to know likable vegans, and try good vegan food, they’ll be more open, and less hostile, to our ideas.
—Jon Camp, 10/4/12

Rebecca at Vanderbilt University  
Jon Camp met Rebecca (above) at Vanderbilt University: “She got a booklet from us when we were on campus two years ago, and has been veg since. It’s another reminder to those of you doing or financially supporting this work that your efforts are changing hearts and minds.”  

Anne and I had a very memorable day at Northern Arizona University, where we handed out all the booklets we had left in only about an hour. Lots of good feedback, plenty of “Awesomes” and “Right ons.” One woman skateboarded up and said, “Are you with Vegan Outreach?” Turns out she had wanted to get involved, so I gave her some booklets, and we had a great chat.
—Matt Ball, 10/3/12

One guy at SUNY Plattsburgh immediately asked, “Vegan Outreach, right?” I said yes. He shook my hand and said, “Good to see you! I’ve been vegan 4 years now!”
—Lana Smithson, 10/1/12

At Dowling College, the first person who I handed a Compassionate Choices to turned around and said, “This is from Vegan Outreach? Are you with Vegan Outreach?” When I said I was, she explained: “It is because of them that I turned vegetarian 15 years ago!” We talked, I gave her a Guide, and she signed up to be the advisor to any student AR / veg group on campus! Oh YEAH! Over the course of the day, six students exchanged emails to start a group.
     For World Farm Animals Day, Wendy, Eitan, members of the Yale Animal Welfare Alliance, and I reached over 1,200 students at Yale. Met more vegans than vegetarians. One woman was horrified by the booklet, and said she would stop eating animals and products 5–6 days a week as a start!
     Good day at Gateway Community College and Quinnipiac University. One guy said he just bought a deli! We talked, I gave him an Even If and a Guide. He read them, came back out, and said that he would like to try to have more veg options at his deli, and in the cafeteria at school! Two other students stopped to chat and vowed to reduce their consumption of animals.
     Today, Susan and I reached over 1,100 students at the University of Hartford. First guy we met said he went vegan 6 years ago, in 7th grade! We met dozens of vegetarians, and about a dozen vegans…one who said she went vegan after getting a Compassionate Choices from me last semester, and two who said they went vegan after we leafleted them at the Warped Tour in Hartford in July! One guy said he was vegan when he lived in Portland, but now he is not, because it is not so easy here. Gave him a Guide, and he said he was going to try again! We got 24 emails of students who want to start a campus group!
—Karen James, 10/3/12

 

Vietly Vu at UCLA

 

Kendra, Lacey, and I reached nearly 3,000 students at Cal Poly Pomona. One student took the booklet, smiled, and said, “What, you want me to leave the matrix?” Had professors stop to take extra booklets for their classes, including one who teaches nutrition. Said numerous students in her class are vegan – woohooo!! Heard from four vegans and lost count of the vegetarians. They were also serving veggie dogs at their “Hot Dog Caper.”

Alexandra Paul at UCLA

     Alexandra [right], Vietly [above], Jessica, and Kassy joined me for the first day of classes at UCLA. The 4th booklet I handed out was to a young woman who yelled, “Oh yay, I was in Ms. Quesada’s class at Santa Monica College, you gave a presentation there last semester!!! I quit eating meat and am so inspired. Thank you sooo much!!!” She hugged me and thanked me profusely!!
—Nikki Benoit, 9/27/12

Jennifer and I reached over 1,700 students at Long Island University and the New York Institute of Technology. One student was loudly moaning when she read the Even If You Like Meat: “Oh no, no, no. How can this be?”
     One student said his father is vegetarian, and he was curious about what it was all about. Our discussion and reading the Even If You Like Meat led him to commit to cutting back on half of his consumption of animal products, and signing up to help get better food options in the cafeteria.
     Another student said, “I got one. I like meat. Don’t make me look at any more of this.” I said that he must be a pretty compassionate guy, or it would not disturb him so much. I explained how I was there, and others around the country go to campuses around the country, to educate, and then reduce as much suffering as possible. I asked him if he thought he could cut back on his consumption of animal products one day a week, then 2, then maybe more. His eyes lit up, and he replied, “I can do that!”
—Karen James, 9/24/12

Luella Berg at SEMO
Rick Hershey snapped this pic of Luella Berg handing out Even If You Like Meat at Southeast Missouri State. Luella has reached more than 3,350 students this semester!

Tremendous interest from faculty and staff members at Flagler College, including one business ethics professor who is going to talk about the Compassionate Choices in his class, and an administrator who was very happy to hear that students were interested in the info. The bookstore manager even put a stack of CCs at the checkout counter. One student who sometimes falls off the veg wagon said the booklet will get her back on track. Two students said they got one last semester, with one of them pledging to delve into this issue and the other having already made changes. Another student said he read the booklet and wanted to know what he could do. I said he could start by cutting his meat consumption in half and then go from there, and he said that was something he could do.
—Dawn Ratcliffe, 9/24/12

UVM vegetarian  

At Champlain College, a student who had given up eating pork needed help giving up the rest; he got encouragement and a Guide. During the first 10 minutes of leafleting at St. Michael’s College, I overheard two different students telling their friends, “This is why I don’t eat meat!”
     Today at the University of Vermont, a guy let me know that he went vegetarian after receiving a leaflet from me two years ago! He’s not quite vegan yet but working on it. He got a Guide and I got a photo of him [left]. He said he wanted to let me know that the outreach really does work!
     The day was good with several good conversations. Unfortunately, there were some students who set up a table to promote the dairy industry. (Vermont loves its dairy industry.) They even brought a little calf with them on a leash. Students flocked around the cute calf, took photos, etc. I’m glad I was there to offer a deeper glimpse into animal ag. I looked at the calf and silently said, “I’m doing this for you, little one.”
—Lana Smithson, 9/28/12

At the University of Kentucky, I reached over 3,000 students and had several conversations with ag students. As I combated one student’s claims, I felt bad, as her bottom lip started to quiver – and quivered more intensively as the conversation went on. She said that in her ag classes, they’re accepting that practices such as battery cages and gestation crates are going to eventually be of the past, and current ag students are preparing for different practices than go on now. We parted on very friendly terms, shaking hands, and genuinely wishing each other well.
     Not all my conversations were with ag students. I had a number of people mention how sad the booklet was. And towards the end, a young woman came up to let me know that she was planning on going veg as a result of the booklet. This is the third out of four days where someone came up to me towards the end of the day to let me know they were going veg as a result of getting leafleted that day. It’s been the nice cool drink at the end of a hot day of toil.
—Jon Camp, 9/27/12

New vegetarian and interested friend at PCC Cascade Campus
After getting an Even If You Like Meat, the PCC student on the left is going veg – and her friend seemed interested, too!

Started slow at Hostos Community College, but in the end, Nathan and I reached over 1,000 students. Amazing conversations, too! For example, two women decided right then they were going to go veg and get veggie burgers for lunch.
—Katie Pryor, 9/29/12

Paulette made the long drive to meet me, and we had a great day of outreach at the University of South Carolina, Benedict College, and Allen University! Many productive conversations. Paulette talked with James who was very interested and had lots of questions. Vaughn pledged to go vegetarian and eventually vegan. Another student said he used the booklet to write a research paper last semester.
—Jeff Boghosian, 9/27/12

Thanks to Javier and Lauren for leafleting with me early on my trip. In three days, I was at Portland Community College, Mt. Hood CC, Clackamas CC, Chemeketa CC, and Lane CC. Too many good conversations to relate them all. For example, a former vegan whose doctor told him to eat meat was happy to get a Guide with Jack’s nutrition information. One woman said she had tried to be an advocate but had burned out. I gave her an A Meaningful Life and said I hoped she’d stay involved. A young woman said she’s wanted to go vegetarian, but her parents who she’s living with are against it because they’re afraid it will be bad for her health. I suggested she show Jack’s nutrition information to her parents.
     Talked with a young man who used to live in a region with a lot of chicken factory farms. He’s known people who worked in the factory farms, and they tell him about workers kicking the chickens and being mean to them. Talked with a woman who works as an inspector for large animals. I said I’d like to know what she’s observed. She said, “No, you wouldn’t.” She said the videos are not like real life.

Vegetarian at Chemeketa CC  

     A young woman [left] told me getting the booklet in the past caused her to go vegetarian! And after getting a booklet, another woman [above] said, “That’s it. I’m going vegetarian!” And at Lane, there were so many vegetarians and interested people, I gave out 98 Guides!
—Cobie deLespinasse, 9/27/12

Epic day with Italia at Oakland University. Lots of interest. Four separate students came back to talk after class; all said they wanted to go veg. Another who used to be veg pledged to go back and got a Guide. Another woman mentioned she had thought about going veg sometime this year; we briefly chatted and she got a Guide.
     Awesome day at St. Clair College and the University of Windsor, with much interest and interesting conversations. An administrator gently pulled me by the shoulder. To my surprise, he asked for a booklet and then, with a smile on his face, directed me to the free vegetarian barbecue!
—Vic Sjodin, 9/20/12

Justin at MSUB

The Montana State, Billings students were more receptive, polite, and interested than I ever could have imagined. I met a ton of vegetarians and several vegans. Favorite quotes of the day:
     “Yes, gotta help the animals!”
     “It made me cry for, like, five minutes.”
     “I don’t want one, people were reading it in class and it made me want to cry.” (Guided her and told her if it made her want to cry, then to check out some of the veg recipes and meal ideas in there.)
     I had a string of four interactions in a quarter of an hour that made my day: I had a convo with a student into death metal who was saddened by the booklet, so I told her about Cattle Decapitation (an all-vegan death metal band) and gave her a Guide. Next, a guy, about 30, was walking my way with hunting gear on and a baseball cap that stated, “PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals.” He actually commended me for being out there and it was slow enough for me to start a short dialogue with him – I made a joke about his hat and stressed that we’re only out there to raise awareness about how animals are treated and to try and lessen animal suffering. We had a friendly back-and-forth and he actually referred to himself as an “animal rights guy” and said that he respects all animals – “even gophers.” This was all stated in a very genuine tone – not the typical BS you might hear from the other side. Shortly after that, a dude named Brian asked what it was about, to which I said, “It’s about helping animals.” He asked, “How?” which led to a discussion about factory farming and vegetarian eating; he seemed to really like the meat reduction approach and our lack of spin. Finally, in this whirlwind of great conversations, I met Justin, who walked up to me and stated, “I got the result I think you wanted me to get. I think I’m gonna give the vegetarian thing a try.” He told me how sad it was to read about how animals are treated, so I gave him a Guide and snapped a pic of him with it [above, right]. The most productive 15 minutes I’ve had in a while.

Student and dog at MSU Bozeman Kat Campbell at MSU Bozeman Students at Montana Tech
Above (from left): A Montana State student reads Even If You Like Meat; Kat Campbell makes her leafleting debut at MSU; and two Montana Tech students read their booklets cover-to-cover.

 

Chelsea at UM
 
UM student

     It was great to have Kat [above] and Jennifer with me at Montana State; it was Kat’s first time leafleting, and she drove four hours to be there! We met one former vegetarian who now will be going back. Best part of the day was a guy named Danny who asked, “Hey, are you the Vegan Outreach people? The work you’re doing is really important.” He went on to say he is going vegan after receiving the booklet, so I snapped a pic of him [top of page] and will be putting him in touch with others on campus that want to get involved.
     At Montana Tech, I watched a couple sit down and read the booklet cover-to-cover [above]. Also had a productive conversation with someone who was opposed to fur; I commended him for speaking out for animals, and gave him a Guide.
     In my 3-year history of doing college outreach at about 75 different schools across 11 states, I would say that the University of Montana had one of the absolute highest, if not the highest, number of vegetarians and vegans I’ve come across. I even ran out of Guides at one point; to give you an example of how great the outreach was here, a student named Trinity White Feathers, a wildlife biology major, walked about a half mile with me to my car just to get a Guide. I had many, many students come up to me and tell me how saddened and shocked they were by what they read. Another student, Chelsea [right, top photo], walked up to me, leaflet in hand, and stated, “This is the saddest thing I have ever read. I was tearing up in class.” We had an excellent discussion and she seemed empowered by the idea that she could make a difference.
     Too many other amazing discussions to fit here. For example, I had a discussion with a woman [right] which ended by her saying, “If people knew how animals were raised, they wouldn’t be eating meat.” I replied, “That’s why I’m out here.”
—John Oberg, 9/19/12

 

USD student
A University of South Dakota student stops in her tracks to read Even If You Like Meat.

Black Hills State was my last school in the Dakotas. Favorite quotes:
     “Hell yeah, I hate animal cruelty!” on the first booklet (pretty energetic guy for 7:30 am).
     “Yes, I got one. It’s terrible and sad.”
     “Ooh, piggies!” (admiring the Compassionate Choices cover).
     “This brings back awful memories of an animal cruelty video I saw.”
     “Aww, aren’t they so cute?!” (again, referring to CC).
     “I got one of those and it made me feel sad and depressed,” (from a big, athletic-looking dude... he got Guided).
     A guy and his friend took one and as they were walking away I heard him say, “What? Do you see how they’re treated?!” to his buddy.
     Yesterday, I woke up at 5:30 in Sioux City, Iowa and headed to the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. Had another good conversation with a hog farmer. At the very least I hope this will remain in his head as he makes his rounds in his dad’s factory farm: “If you got on your knees, looked that sow in her eyes, and asked her if she wanted to be there, do you think she’d say ‘Yes’?”
—John Oberg, 9/14/12

Ron, Jessica, and I popped over to Portland State, where I noticed a large group of what appeared to be middle school kids chaperoned by a couple of adults. I decided not to approach them (because of the adults), but when one of them came near me, I automatically gave her a booklet. She accepted it and took it back to the group. Soon several more kids came to me and asked for leaflets to read, and returned again for more to share with their friends. I watched them reading and discussing the leaflets with each other and was reminded of how aware and sensitive kids are to the vegan message. When the adults rounded them up to leave, a couple of them smiled and nodded and one gave me a thumbs up as they walked past. It made me feel good!
—Stephanie Lucas, 9/14/12

Joe Espinosa and new friend at Indy WT  
Hardworking Joe Espinosa gets a free hug while leafleting the Indianapolis Warped Tour stop.  

A week ago, Kate and I took a quick trip to Santa Fe Community College. Kate had a student come up to her while she was leafleting and say: “I got one of these booklets last semester and it just changed my life.”
     Today, we distributed another 325, and got feedback from our previous trip. Several students said they were cutting back, and one said she was now vegan!
—JC Corcoran, 9/18/12

It was awesome to have Joe at Michigan State, where we reached nearly 2,400 students. Joe is truly inspiring, a workhorse. With the drive, this was a 15-hour “day off” from his full-time job. It can never be overstated what a dedicated ally and educator the animals have in Joe.
—Vic Sjodin, 9/18/12

At the University of Maine, an older man (perhaps a staff member?) said he got a booklet from me last year; he called it a “good publication.” He claimed he doesn’t care about animals, because he’s a “hunter and all that,” but didn’t realize how disgusting conditions are on factory farms. He repeated “disgusting” a couple times and said the booklet moved him, and he and his wife have been eating less meat since then. After he started talking to someone else, he came back to me to get a booklet to give to that person. He told me, “He needs to read this,” as he put the booklet in that person’s hand. It’s interesting that even though he said he doesn’t care about animals, he and his wife were moved to change their diet because of the booklet.
—Lana Smithson, 9/13/12

Cal Poly student
Elaine Vigneault sends this pic of a Cal Poly student reading Compassionate Choices.

Ed and Elaine and Johanna joined me at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo – we reached over 1,800 students! We met so many vegetarians and vegans – we must be doing something right!
—Barbara Bear, 9/20/12

Darina and I reached over 2,000 Hawkeyes at the University of Iowa – a great school to leaflet! Met tons of vegetarians, and the campus seems pretty progressive, especially considering that it’s located in Iowa. Had lots of great conversations, and very few negative exchanges. It was a great way to start the semester!
—Jon Bockman, 9/24/12

At the Heart Walk, I met one woman who had gotten a booklet from us at Valencia College last week and is now interested in moving toward vegetarianism. In general, offering “information on vegetarianism” sparked quite a bit of interest; many people turn around to get one when they realized what it was. Another woman commented that she needs to go back to being a vegetarian.
—Dawn Ratcliffe, 9/14/12

The students were very receptive at Valdosta State University! I met two students who had changed their diets since getting a booklet from Lana last semester. Several other people were asking questions about what they could do. They’ll surely be looking more into it. One was interested in donating online too!
     Today, Sally and I reached 2,000 students at Georgia Southern University! The students were extremely receptive, and we had many great conversations. For example, we talked to a former vegetarian who now wants to get back on track. Another person was a part-time vegetarian now interested in going further. A good day!
—Jeff Boghosian, 9/25/12

Kassy and I had a marathon 13-hour day at Santiago Canyon College, Golden West College, and Saddleback College! It was my first time back at Golden West since being arrested there; I was surprised that one of the officers involved recognized me immediately. He excitedly told me that he quit eating meat since arresting me! He was ecstatic to get a Guide and thanked me PROFUSELY for doing outreach! WHAAAA??!?!? We also chatted with NUMEROUS enthusiastic students eager to help!
—Nikki Benoit, 9/19/12

Below: Kassy and Nikki’s marathon day included a lunch break at a strip mall, where they reached 26 more new people!
Readers at Irvine mall

Went back to Malcolm X College exactly two weeks after being taken off campus in the back seat of a police car. Happily, the First Amendment is back in effect now!
     Ran into a librarian I had spoken with last time – he’s now displaying Compassionate Choices in the library, and was planning on attending Chicago VeganMania. Met many other interested folks, including a woman whose friend had gotten a booklet previously – she was very interested in making changes.
—Mikael Nielsen, 9/20/12

Katie Pryor at NCC
Jennifer Greene sends this pic of Katie Pryor leafleting Nassau Community College, where they reached 1,350 students in September!

Beautiful and amazing day – Nathan and I reached 1,300 students at Bronx Community College. Nathan was also able to set up a humane education class!
—Katie Pryor, 9/24/12

Met so many interesting people at Butte College – a very fun day! I spoke with one woman who had slipped from being veg after 5 years because her partner and their family have been giving her a hard time. She is going to bring home the pamphlets and tell them how important it is to her with new resolve. I talked with another student who has been thinking about trying veg but didn’t know where to start. Now she does! Met quite a few veg / vegan people and LOTS of people thanked me for passing out the info and helping to raise awareness about the issue. Very nice to feel appreciated.
—Brian Grupe, 9/27/12

Reached over 2,000 students at East Carolina University. Met many vegetarians and vegans. One student said she went vegetarian after finding a VO booklet on a cafeteria table nearly a year ago: “This is the exact booklet that did it.” She gladly took a Guide. Another student said he was vegetarian and said the Guide was “exactly what [he] needed.” A faculty member said her daughter is trying to be vegetarian and took a Why Vegan? and Guide for her. I talked with one student who was moved by the pictures into wanting to go vegetarian; he got a Guide, and I also told him about the ECU student group SOAR – he’s interested in getting involved.
—Brandon Becker, 9/25/12

I met more vegans than vegetarians at Oregon State today, which is not uncommon for me. Many people responded to my “Help animals” with “Sure!” or “I love animals.” I had supportive comments such as, “Keep fighting the good fight” and “I support you.”
—Nettie Schwager, 9/25/12

Honoze at Boston Vegetarian Food Festival
David Coman-Hidy reports: “Honoze, got a Compassionate Choices from us in downtown Boston a few weeks ago and that’s why he came to the veg fest and is now vegetarian! Booyah!”  

High acceptance rate at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and some enthusiastic responses. Then, at Salisbury University, I had a productive chat with Tim, a Christian. We discussed everything from matters of faith; why I didn’t think it was feasible to have a painless system of raising and killing animals; my belief that animals aren’t our slaves and that while their needs are simpler than ours, they basically desire what we desire – the ability to pursue the things that make them happy and freedom from unnecessary suffering. He seemed to get a lot out of the conversation, and left with a Guide.
     At Morehead State, a number of ag students stopped. One was was interested in a civil and engaging dialogue. We talked for a good 10 minutes. I stressed some key points with him, namely that I know that what we do to farmed animals isn’t done to be cruel (and thus, we don’t show pictures of blatant cruelty, such as an animal getting beaten), but because it is efficient. And the practices, again, done solely for efficiency (and I understand the merits of efficiency), cause animals a lot of suffering. He heard me out, thought I raised some good points, I said the same of him, and we exchanged contact info.
     And as I was really giving my physical and psychological all to today’s leafleting, I was very heartened when a young woman walked by at the end of the day, pointed to the booklet, and said, “This changed my life! I wanna be a vegetarian now.” She got a Guide.
—Jon Camp, 9/26/12

At the College of the Holy Cross, one student looked at the booklet I handed her and shouted, “Oh god…this is ruining my morning!” I replied, “Just try to imagine how eating them ruins their lives!” Amazing conversations with a string of students at Quinsigamond Community College. Jenny, the program assistant in the student center told me that the booklet influenced her to go back to being a vegetarian. A student informed me that everyone was arriving at class with the pamphlets, so they had a whole class discussion about it! Another student stopped to tell me the booklet was the best that he has seen on the subject!
     Ben and I had a huge day at Holyoke Community College and Westfield State. As seems to be happening more and more, I gathered names and emails of students who wanted to start a group. It is great to put people together who might never have met each other. One woman said she received a booklet from me already. When I asked her what she thought, she said it was heartbreaking. She then saw a guy she knew with one in his hand, and she told him sternly, “You better read it, you will never eat chicken and feel the same way again!” He sat down right away and read it!
—Karen James, 9/19/12

 

Luke McCullough at SDSU

South Dakota State was ag school #3 this week, and it went as expected: amazingly!
     Favorite quotes of the day:
     “What is it? Church?” Me: “It’s info to help animals.” Him: “Help animals? You bet!”
     “I got one and I’m proud to say I haven’t eaten meat today.” Me: “Here’s a Guide with vegetarian recipes, meal ideas, and health tips if you want to continue with it.” Him: “Thanks, I might take you up on that!”
     “Stuff like that will put me out of business.”
     One of those ag students, Spencer, was actually great to speak with – he knew his stuff so it made for good conversation. After walking in circles around him (literally, leafleting every student who walked by), while having a 15-minute conversation about factory farming, he shook my hand and thanked me for “having a calm, educated discussion about this.”
     I actually met several vegetarians at this ag school in the middle of nowhere, including Luke [McCullough, above], who has actually been vegan for a week and helped me leaflet two class changes. He was a natural and is interested in keeping this up at this school, as well as possibly joining up for some Warped Tour-ing! I met two other people who are interested in getting active, and I’ll be putting them in contact with each other.
     At Augustana College, two women [below] were sitting behind a fenced-off area outside an academic building and called over to a guy I had just leafleted, asking, “Hey, what’s that guy handing out?!” He replied, “It’s about stopping animal cruelty.” One yelled back, “Oh, that’s awesome!” On my way out, I asked if she and her friend would like booklets. They gobbled them up, and Kadyn [on the right] told me she’s actually vegetarian on her way to becoming vegan. She THEN informed me that she’s a senior, and she was originally thinking about going to grad school, but now she’s considering doing non-profit work and is really interested in the work that Vegan Outreach does. I gave her (and her friend, Mariya) a copy of A Meaningful Life, got her contact info, and parted ways with the school. This was a result of chance on a leafleting outing that I thought was nearly a waste.
     Important lesson learned: No matter if we hand out or donate for 2,500, 250, or 25 booklets, the impact each of us can have is astronomical.
—John Oberg, 9/12/12

Mariya Pabst and Kadyn Wittman at Augustana College

Yesterday morning at my alma mater, Case Western Reserve University, I leafleted my undergraduate advisor, and he seemed interested in the issue, though he did not recognize me. A staff person walked by with a high school group following her. She told me not to give them leaflets, but I did offer them and most of the students wanted them. She was mad, but I just told her they had the right to the information if they wanted it. A couple ladies also pulled their cars over to see what I was handing out and took leaflets. I love curious people!
     Today was my last day of vacation leafleting, so I got up at 4:30 am to get to Bowling Green State by 8:50. Lots of students stopped with questions. I spoke with three Obama campaigners, and they were all veg. One student came up and said, “Oh yes, you guys are the only people that hand out things that are right.” Two girls took the leaflets and asked about it. After I explained how the animals are treated they were upset and were happy to take Guides. I heard other students saying the leaflets made them sad, so I knew my goal was accomplished for the day.
—Leslie Patterson, 9/13/12

Stacy at Morgan State
Stacy (above) received a VO booklet when Aaron Ross and Kate St. John leafleted Morgan State two years ago, and has been vegan ever since!

Susan and I had many good conversations at Western Connecticut State. We met a student who received a booklet from me last year and cut his consumption of animal products in half. Another said he received one last semester and cut out all meat. A third also said he received one from me and is working toward vegan! A woman from administration stopped to talk – she is marrying a vegan in the spring. I gave her a Guide to get her started, and she was very grateful. Gathered 13 names and emails of students who want better veg options in the cafeteria and want to start a group on campus.
—Karen James, 9/12/12

I’m still in shock from all the great conversations I had at Southeastern University, and how excited several people were to accept a booklet when they heard what it was about. In fact, the words “factory farming” didn’t really get students as excited as “vegetarian” or “vegan” did, as the “v” words caused several students to stop in their tracks to get a booklet. Talked to a nice woman who was tabling on behalf of her church, and while not vegan, she eats a lot of veg foods since her son got a Compassionate Choices at Polk State two years ago and was really affected by it. Also, talked to an English professor who is supportive and has been integrating animal issues into his assignments. After our conversation, he is now thinking about showing some animal films and may invite us to talk to his classes.
     Early on, a handful of students told me that dining services just expanded their vegetarian and vegan options in what they classify as an herbivore station. And best of all, they said the food is tasty and actually includes seitan. Knowing this early on helped when students expressed an interest in eating more veg*n options or wanting to go veg, because I reminded them that they can easily eat vegan on their meal plan. Not surprisingly, this seemed to further solidify their commitment to making dietary changes. For example, one woman came back to tell me that she read the booklet and is going vegetarian; her friend seemed to be on board as well!
—Dawn Ratcliffe, 9/13/12

 

Our experience at the University of Maryland today was extremely encouraging. One student who got a booklet last year came up to us, gave us a hug, and told us it changed her whole life, that she is now vegan and her entire family went vegetarian, all because of one booklet! We even got an ex-vegan to give it another go. A lot of vegetarians and vegans were excited to meet activists on their campus. The best part is, we were able to reach nearly 2,500 students within just a few hours.
—Aaron Ross and Kate St. John, 9/11/12

Seth Keene at MSUM

Kathleen, my wonderful host, and her son, Seth [Keene, above], joined me at Minnesota State, Moorhead. Great conversations. For example, I heard from several students that they were saddened by what they read; I made sure to let them know that there was something they could do about it (and then Guided them). I handed two leaflets to two students and one said she got one from Warped Tour and thought it was great. The other said, “This is awesome that you’re out here, thanks for doing this.” I Guided both of them.

UND student
A UND student contemplates her Even If You Like Meat in solitude.

     Good day of outreach at the University of North Dakota, Northland Community & Technical College, and the University of Minnesota, Crookston – reached over 2,100 students! I love handing booklets about farm animal cruelty to this kind of crowd because they’re likely never exposed to the issue in this way. It’s great that the booklets contain cited information from sources that these folks trust. I had an excellent conversation with a pig farmer about the legitimacy of our claims in the booklet. I explained to him the cited sources and why we feel that the standard practices he takes part in may not be cruel just for the sake of being cruel, but simply because they’re done for a practical reason doesn’t mean they hurt the animal any less. Comparing these standard practices that are thrust upon pigs with the horrors of seeing that happen to his dog really had him shaking his head in agreement. By the end of the conversation, it was clear we weren’t on opposite spectrums. We shook hands and I got his email and will be following up.

Garrett Gjelsness at UND  

     I had a woman explain that she received the booklet years ago and loved the meat-reduction approach. She took a Guide and was excited about it. Odds are she wouldn’t be eating vegan if Sen or Fred hadn’t handed her a leaflet a few semesters ago. Highlight of the day was handing a pamphlet to a punked-out dude with gauges, saying: “Nice gauges, dude,” then having him come back about an hour later, offering to help. His name’s Garrett [Gjelsness, left] and he stood out there for two class changes with me and handed out well over 100 booklets!
—John Oberg, 9/10/12

Today at the University of Akron, one student told me, “You could not have handed this to a more perfect person,” as she recently stopped eating meat. She was very happy to get a Guide, as she said she is not sure how to get her nutrition. Another student happily told me that he just went vegetarian. A few students asked about getting involved. And a professor thanked me for the work and told me he is veg but still trying to convince his wife.
—Leslie Patterson, 9/11/12

Minnesota State Fair activists
Above (clockwise from upper left): Unny Nambudiripad, Garrett, John Oberg, Jeff Johnson, Jake Nath, Fred Tyler, Amber Bee, Grace, and Liz Sias got VO booklets into the hands of 1,700 people at this fall’s Minnesota State Fair!

I think today at Naugatuck Valley Community College was my best day yet! Someone gave me an application to start a student group, saying I needed 10 signatures – I got 15! Got emails, too, and will put them in touch with each other. Two guys stopped to help, each taking 50 booklets to hand out. Met a student who got a copy of Even If You Like Meat two years ago when I was there. He researched the info, wrote a paper for class on factory farming, and went vegetarian. Later, a student came over and hugged me after I gave her a Compassionate Choices, and said, “We need you!” She, too, signed the group application and gave me her email.
—Karen James, 9/11/12

Exciting things are happening at Armstrong Atlantic State University. I met an English professor who is showing Food, Inc. to two classes; he was excited to see me out there. I also heard about a professor teaching “Ethics in Food,” so I tracked him down during some downtime. Turned out to be the Dean of Liberal Arts; I gave him booklets. I met many interested students, and talked with a number I’m sure will be making changes.
—Jeff Boghosian, 9/12/12

Matthew Glover at WPU  
Last week at William Paterson University, Matthew Glover (above), Daniela Artiga, and Vic Sjodin provided 1,075 students with Compassionate Choices!  

Even 108 degrees won’t stop us! A quick 150 reached at Fallbrook High School. When the rush died down, I had a great conversation with a junior who has chickens at her house…as pets! And she loves them! She has been thinking of going veg for a while and is now definitely on board with the idea, but doesn’t feel that she could be veg since her un-veg parents do all of the cooking. But as soon as she leaves for college, she is going to kick those animals off her plate!
—Kassy Ortega, 9/18/12

At San Jose City College today, I think Diane, Kitty, Paris, and I offered a booklet to every single student – and 1,643 accepted – what a team! Highlight of the day for me was a young lady who told me that she didn’t pay attention in class at all, but instead read the whole booklet very carefully and is now going veg! “You guys changed me!” Her words. Awesome.
—Brian Grupe, 9/14/12

Bear at SLO farmers’ market
Another bear at the farmers’ market! This one’s reading a booklet from Elaine Vigneault.

My favorite interaction at the farmers’ market was with a young woman who didn’t want a Compassionate Choices, because she didn’t want to see any sad pictures. I offered her a Guide as I typically do for those who can’t bear to look at a CC. I also said w/o really thinking about it, “So, are you already vegetarian?” This prompted her to take a CC off the top of my stack, as if to say, “OK, I do need to see this.” Made my day.
—Barbara Bear, 9/12/12

I was thrilled beyond belief at how successful today was at the College of Staten Island. Donna joined me and was awesome. I got interested students to start up my AR club again, and five other people interested in further events on the island.
—Katie Pryor, 9/14/12

Holly at Atlanta Veg Fest  
At the Atlanta Veg Fest, Jon Camp learned that Holly (above) went vegan after receiving one of the VO booklets handed out by Eric Griffith, Wendy Moore, and JC Corcoran at the 2008 Atlanta Warped Tour!  

At the University of North Florida and Florida State College, Julie, Jeff, and I reached nearly 1,900 students. Very moving conversations. For example, a self-identified Middle Eastern undergraduate student told me she had two pet lambs when she was a kid. One day, the lambs disappeared and her parents served her lamb for dinner. She got upset and her voice quivered on multiple occasions as we talked; I started crying, too. She didn’t eat meat after that, and to this day, her parents say that her vegetarianism is wrong. She now wants to go completely vegan – I have no doubt that she will. Another student told me that he ordered breakfast differently because of what he had just read in the Compassionate Choices. A health sciences student talked to me about getting involved in animal issues in Jacksonville; we have already corresponded over email. Finally, an administrator thanked me for the info as she’s transitioning to veganism.
—Dawn Ratcliffe, 9/11/12

 

Beautiful weather & receptive students at Kent State made it a personal record for me on the first day of my Ohio vacation – over 2,000 students reached! One student stopped to say, “I just want to tell you that pamphlet changed my life! I have been vegetarian for a year now.” Another student said she had gone vegetarian from receiving the booklet before. Both were happy to take Guides. A few students told me they read it and it was interesting or upsetting. One said, “OK, I read it. Now what can I do about it?” so we talked about choosing meat-free meals. One guy who took a booklet tried to give it to another guy who said, “No way, I don’t want that, it’s nasty. I can’t eat chicken anymore!”
—Leslie Patterson, 9/10/12

Kyle  

Saleana joined me at Central Connecticut State, where she plans to start an AR group! She’s a great leafleter. We had 15 students share their emails and sign up to join the campus group! I also got a faculty member, who is vegetarian and teaches about factory farming and reducing meat consumption in his bio class, to give me his email; he will support / advise the group so it can get started.
     We met dozens of vegetarians and vegans. One guy stopped, signed up for the group, and said he received a Compassionate Choices from me last semester and went vegetarian. He also handed out his copy of the CC to his roommates and friends, some of whom vowed to reduce their animal product consumption.
     Another student, Kyle [left], went vegetarian on the spot after reading the CC I handed him! Gave him a Guide, too.
—Karen James, 9/10/12

Jasmine

Great day with Fred! We reached over 3,000 students at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and the University of St. Thomas. I met one student who said she had a booklet on her wall, and another woman who said that she still has one from years ago; she was happy to get a Guide. I had a very productive conversation with one guy and heard from another that he really appreciates the work we’re doing out here: “it’s not right what we do to animals.”
     Very receptive students today at St. Cloud State. My morning started out great when, at about 7:45 am, I met Jasmine [right], who was leafleted last semester by Michael and went vegetarian (on her way to vegan) as a result of the booklet! She was really happy to see us out there again. Mike joined me and set a personal record – 710; Michael reached over 400, and Autumn joined us as well. All told, we reached over 3,200 students. Almost entirely positive feedback; heard from at least 20 vegetarians or vegans, and a student group grilling nearby to raise money for their club actually had veggie burgers on tap.
—John Oberg, 9/6/12

Below: John Oberg, Mike Chutich, Michael Willemsen, and Autumn Hamberg provide a voice for the animals at St. Cloud State.
John Oberg, Mike Chutich, and Michael Willemsen   Autumn Hamberg

Brian, Mike, and I had a productive day at West Valley College. The take rate was high, and the students were polite. I noticed many of them looking through the leaflet as they were walking away, and one woman reading it all the way through while she was relaxing on the grass [below]. I met a vegetarian who happily accepted a recipe guide because she is trying to go vegan. She admitted her challenge was mainly going out with friends to eat, and how she often gives in to things like cheese pizza. She said she knows about the issues and wants to be vegan because it’s the right thing to do. I thanked her for caring and told her I knew she would get here soon.
—Diane Gandee Sorbi, 9/5/12

WVC student

A new all-day record for me – I handed an Even If You Like Meat to 3,360 students at Virginia Commonwealth University, and also gave out 20 Guides! VCU is absolutely the most ideal demographic! I got contact info from a number of students who want to get active; I’ll be putting them in touch with each other. And I had a number of great conversations, discussing everything from free-range issues to MMA fighters being vegan.
—Jon Camp, 9/11/12

We had a good day at the Lakeland and Winter Haven campuses of Polk State. Met many vegetarians. One woman who initially said she couldn’t live without beef ended up leaving with a Guide after I told her I grew up in the Carolinas and have been vegan since 1995, and thus it was doable. One African-American student stopped to ask me about my motivation. He had some really good questions, and is extremely interested in exploring vegetarianism. He thought it was cool that I had been vegan for so long. After we talked for about five minutes, he said that he’s going to try to get all of his family members to join him in making dietary changes.
—Dawn Ratcliffe, 9/10/12

Alondra Naves  

Solid outreach with Kyunghee at Ferris State. One woman said she was now going to go back to being veg; another said, “Can I have one of those things everyone’s reading in class?”
—Vic Sjodin, 9/11/12

Kassy and I reached 2,450 more students at Riverside Community College, and heard from tons of sympathetic peeps, including a girl on the verge of tears. Her dad’s always been an ethical veg but she never looked into why. She’s diving into vegan – no stops. Kassy rocked the free speech area like a champ, even when In-N-Out Burger parked next to her to give away free food (do we detect some desperation amongst the fast foodies? Apparently :)). She found they made leafleting easier cuz they slowed foot traffic – and she met an amazing new veggie [Alondra Naves, left] from a previous semester’s booklet. Wooohooo!
—Nikki Benoit, 9/11/12

Kitty Jones
Kitty Jones spreads compassion at Santa Rosa Junior College (above), while an SRJC student is engrossed in learning the truth (below).
SRJC student

Kitty and I rocked Santa Rosa Junior College hard today, reaching nearly 1,800 students! I gave two presentations in English classes that went really well. We watched Farm to Fridge and talked about it as a group. The students had such excellent questions and everyone was engaged in the discussion. I’m sure a lot of people will be making changes in their diets. Also, the professor (now a friend of mine since I’ve been presenting in her classes for two years now) offers her students extra credit for eating a vegan sandwich at Ike’s Place across the street and bringing in the receipt. She said some students have already done it and taken pictures and posted to their Facebook community! Awesome!
—Brian Grupe, 9/11/12

Almost 100% acceptance rate and great feedback at the University of Maine. One young man said, “Keep up the good work. You are doing something noble.”
—Lana Smithson, 9/10/12

From a recent batch of Guide requests:

A student handed me a booklet today, and after looking at it, I couldn’t ignore how I felt about the cruelty animals suffer in order for humans to “enjoy” meat. I sat down at my computer and followed the link on the back of the booklet, and ended up here.
—JR in BC, 10/18/12

I was given a booklet by a kind gentleman on my way to class at the college – I almost cried.
—YB in FL, 10/16/12

I received a packet from my boyfriend. He knows I am very passionate about animals and he showed me the brochure. I have now decided to go vegetarian. Thank you so much!
—KL in MN, 10/24/12

I just received a booklet while walking out of my college’s cafeteria and I’ve been interested in becoming a vegetarian for a while now. :-)
—JK in NY, 10/17/12

Came across your info in the Compassionate Choices booklet. I’m already a vegetarian, but after reading through the Guide I wonder if I should give up milk and eggs as well.
—SN in TX, 10/21/12

I brought home a couple Vegan Outreach booklets and shared them with my family. We have gone vegan since and feel so much better.
—AL in NY, 10/18/12

 

Abdul

Today was one of my absolute favorite days of outreach on my tour this semester. I literally met over 60 different people at Portland State who told me they were vegetarian / vegan. Over 1,600 minds that are likely already progressive were given the opportunity to open up their hearts to the suffering of farmed animals.
     A few interactions stand out: One student told me, “It freaked me out. Really woke me up.” I had a nice, quick convo with him, encouraging him that he can make a difference. Another told me, “Those are some scary pictures, man. That’s really messed up.” One more told me, “I fully endorse your efforts,” and many said things like, “That stuff’s terrible,” or “Thank you for being out here.”
     I handed Abdul a booklet, then continued leafleting. About 30 minutes later, he started walking towards me, fairly slowly, and uttered the words, “I cannot believe this is happening,” in a serious tone, almost as if he were in shock. He said how it’s so unfair how we treat these animals and seemed so sincere that I thought he might be teary-eyed. I had run out of Guides so was bummed I couldn’t give him one. Fortunately I had to run back to my car, so I grabbed some more, hoping to see him again. Almost at the moment I was wrapping up, I saw Abdul walk out of the building and start walking the other direction. I got his attention and handed him a Guide. I snapped a pic of him with it [above] and he told me that the Guide will be “very useful” and was so thankful to get it. Glad to have been able to make this impact!
—John Oberg, 10/25/12

Susan, John, and I had an amazing, record-breaking day at Camosun College and the University of Victoria, where we reached nearly 3,000 new people! Typical feedback: “This is so awesome that you’re doing this. This is the way the future needs to go!”

Susan Collart at UVic
Susan Collart spreads compassion at the University of Victoria.

     Speaking on behalf of all 30 million or so of us Canadians, we’re so lucky to have the dedication of those who enable and conduct the work of Vegan Outreach.
—John Bowers, 10/23/12

Best day I’ve ever had at Baruch College! A bunch of vegetarians and vegans, and a guy stopped to help leaflet for an hour and a half!
—Katie Pryor, 10/18/12

People were very open to the information at Tunxis Community College. Over the course of the day, a dozen people came back to talk with me, and I made clear all the different ways they can help reduce suffering.
—Aleta Markham, 10/17/12

I found a local high school I could hit quickly on my break – at one point, the kids lined up to get a booklet! I probably could have handed out almost twice as many had I not run out! Even handing out 100 booklets – which can be done in 15 minutes – feels like a million dollars and makes a difference.
—Darina Smith, 10/18/12

New vegetarian at CSUSB
Nikki Benoit sends this pic of a man who went veg on the spot after receiving a Compassionate Choices at Cal State San Bernardino!

Diana, Jovan, and I found very receptive students at Harold Washington College. One student took a booklet from us and said she does not eat animals because we don’t need to take a life. She got a Guide. Another lady looked at the cover of the booklet and said, “What, they are still doing that to animals?!” I said, “Yeah, big time.” She said, “Oh forget this, I am not doing it anymore!” She took a Guide then gave me a high five.
—Leslie Patterson, 10/15/12

New record at Sierra College, where I reached over 1,100 students. Great feedback and conversations, and was thanked numerous times for being out there fighting the good fight and spreading the word.
     This school has come a LONG way since my first trip here in 2007. So many more vegetarians / vegans and open-minded people.
—Brian Grupe, 10/24/12

 

  Stephanie Johnson, Sarah Hope, and Jenna Lange at Canada College
  Stephanie Johnson, Sarah Hope, and Jenna Lange provide a voice for the animals at Canada College.
 

Such an excellent day of leafleting at Canada College and College of San Mateo. I was joined by four new volunteers! Jessica, who now goes to school at Canada, brought along her daughter Sarah and Sarah’s best friend Jenna, both 11 and both vegetarian. They felt a little shy at first but took right to it after that and had a great time! They thought people were friendly; when I told them how many they had each handed out, they were surprised they had done so many! Very cool.
     Stephanie was with me at both schools; I met her at Farm Sanctuary where she was interning, and I found out that it was getting a leaflet from me at Fresno State that planted the seed for her to switch from vegetarian to vegan activist. She said after I gave her the Compassionate Choices and Guide, she looked up a lot of information online, and the rest is history. She did an awesome job and I was glad to have her help. She plans on helping out more before starting grad school.
     Sydney stopped by and joined us in leafleting! Too many other cool encounters to relate, including one woman who said she’s now going to try veg, and a guy who used to be vegan feels that he now needs to try and get back on track.
     Today, it was great to have Kitty and Leslie with me at College of Alameda and Laney College. Laney was particularly eventful. For example, I talked at length with a guy who could not believe I had not eaten in meat in nearly 6 years. To paraphrase Erik Marcus, “He was looking at me like I had been holding my breath the whole time.” But he was really really curious and had tons of questions to which I felt I had good answers. After our talk he took both an Even If You Like Meat and a Guide and said he was going to go sit down with them right then. He also said he would be trying out some new foods for sure.
—Brian Grupe, 8/30/12

  UAV student
 

Reached over 1,400 students at the University of Antelope Valley and College of the Canyons. Even the brawny athletic guys were going out of their way to snag a booklet. Snapped a photo [right] of a woman engrossed in her booklet, clearly in shock of what she was reading. At the end of the day, as I was walking back to my car, had a great conversation with a security guard, who was happy to get a Guide before she shimmied on.
—Nikki Benoit, 9/10/12

Great conversations and a new record at Anne Arundel Community College – 850+ students reached. Two athletic dudes in a row came up to talk about running / working out – two conversations in a row where my love of physical fitness paid off! One young woman who wanted to go veg was happy to get a Guide, and told me that I radiated good vibes, a compliment I was happy to hear.
—Jon Camp, 9/10/12

Caitlin and I reached over 1,350 students at Middlesex Community College and Wesleyan University. Lots of vegetarians and vegans – got contact emails and invitations to speak! Some students asked for extra booklets to give to friends!
—Karen James, 9/4/12

  Malcolm X College student
  Mikael Nielsen snapped this pic of a student engrossed in Compassionate Choices at Chicago’s Malcolm X College.
 

Pauline and I had a lot of great interactions at Malcolm X College, despite some issues. I had several great conversations with people who were looking to make changes. I recommended that the first thing to give up was eggs and then eating chickens. One guy worked at the library there and asked for a stack to put out for students. Pauline spoke to one woman who said that they were talking about this very issue in one of her classes, and said the way we treat farmed animals, when compared to other animals, is the same as racism.
—Mikael Nielsen, 9/6/12

John and I reached over 800 students at Ryerson University. Talked with and Guided three people looking to get started – had the “eating chickens causes 200 times more suffering” talk with each of them.
—Alex Greenwood, 9/10/12

Karley joined me at Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College; Lizzie also stopped by to help at EMU. Many great interactions and people expressing interest. Several mentioned wanting to go veg; also gave three Guides to brand-new, week-old vegans! This place is WAY more veg friendly than it was in 2008.
—Vic Sjodin, 9/6/12

We set new records at Valencia College West and East, reaching nearly 1,500 students! Lots of great, constructive conversations, too. For example, one guy who went vegetarian for 4 1⁄2 years for ethical reasons lamented about not being vegetarian anymore. He said he went back to eating animals for selfish reasons but now is going to give it another try. Suggested that he start with a few days a week and increase it from there. Also met a former vegan who is coming back. Met another student who said the main reason that kept him from giving vegetarianism a try was his love of bacon; told him to start eating vegetarian a couple of days a week and go from there.
—Dawn Ratcliffe & Jeff Boghosian, 9/6/12

MNSU student  
An MNSU skateboarder reads Even If You Like Meat.  
 

I leafleted the University of Georgia’s Activities Fair while our advocacy group tabled. One former vegetarian said the booklet could inspire her to come back. Several other students expressed interest in cutting back on meat, and I directed a number of interested vegetarians and vegans over to our table to get involved with our campus group.
—Eric Griffith, 9/5/12

Lynn, Kellie, Monica, Dale and I had a great time tabling at the Boulder Humane Society’s fundraising event! Every single person we spoke with was totally receptive and open to the vegan message. Every single person!!
     I salute you all that do this work day in and day out. Actually, I salute anyone that does this any amount of time.
—Lisa Shapiro, 9/9/12

It was a good day at Minnesota State – Mankato. Set a personal record, and heard a lot of positive feedback. I handed one woman a booklet, she walked a few steps, then said, “Wow, that’s effective!” Another woman said her husband owned a hog farm. She seemed pleasant enough, however, and I suggested, “You should ask him about gestation crates,” as she walked away. She turned her head, smiled, and said, “I know what you mean,” in a way that seemed like she agreed it was cruel. It’s also nice when students and faculty recognize this issue is important enough that we are willing to stand out there hour after hour handing out these booklets. One professor who received a booklet at 7:30 am and then was offered one again by me at 2:30 remarked, “I appreciate your diligence!” A student said, “Wow, you’ve been out here all day, please take this.” Free water – score!

 
  Stephanie
  At Hennepin Technical College, John met Stephanie, a vegetarian of three weeks: “I asked her why she went veg and she said because animals have parents and feelings and that they didn’t deserve to be treated badly. I gave her a Guide, which she seemed very excited about, and wished her luck on her meatless transition.”
 

     Today, with help from Mike, reached over 900 students at six schools – Century College, University of St. Thomas, Hennepin Technical College, North Hennepin Community College, Bethel University, and Northwestern College. A number of highlights, including meeting a brand-new vegetarian who was excited to get a Guide. I was also escorted off campus by the nicest security guard ever. He told me he had watched Earthlings and was shocked by what he saw, so I gave him a Guide. Even though it was late in the day at Northwestern, the first 125 people in a row said yes, and only 6 people out of 297 declined!
     Cheers to all my homies out there doing this important work! I know we’re all in different parts of the country, but it’s nice reading everyone’s posts, seeing what they’re up to on Facebook, and exchanging messages. Even though I’ll often be hundreds of miles away from another Vegan Outreach leafleter, I always feel so close to everyone in my heart.
—John Oberg, 8/31/12

 

  John Oberg
 

After a little under three years of volunteering, today at Winona State is Day #1 being officially employed by Vegan Outreach. It’s safe to say that there is absolutely nothing I’d rather be doing in this world than engaging in some of the most effective outreach I possibly can, while getting the opportunity to explore the continent, interact with the public, and meet / hang out with some of the coolest people in the entire world. I love VO and the whole family of leafleters, volunteers, hosts, and donors.
     As for today, I set a new personal record, reaching 2,761 students with Even If You Like Meat, and handed out 20 Guides and an AML. I got in early and stayed until the 3:00 class change. The Winona students were very receptive and I was thanked numerous times for being out there in the sun (which unfortunately led to me having one of the worst farmer’s tans in my life). Heard lines such as “Keep up the good work!” and “It’s a good handout, I didn’t know most of the stuff in there.”
—John Oberg (above, leafleting St. Cloud State University), 8/28/12

Jennifer Greene  
 

Jayme and some friends joined me and Jennifer [Greene, left] at Stony Brook U – we reached an incredible 3,930 students! Several students stopped back to say they want to change over to veg; they each got a Guide. We gathered the names of 17 students who are interested in either starting an AR group on campus, getting veg options into the cafeteria, and/or leafleting! We’ve already heard back from one student who is going to take the lead in forming a group; Jennifer and I will back with support!
     Ann joined me at SUNY, Old Westbury – she took to leafleting really well! Met two students interested in leafleting; gave them each a Guide and AML. Also met a teacher who teaches about animal welfare / factory farming in her psych class. She asked me for a dozen Even If You Like Meat to hand out in class; I gave her six Guides to hand out as well. Two students came back to say they were disgusted by what they saw in the Compassionate Choices booklet, and said that they would cut back on their consumption of meat immediately. A man stopped to chat, and said that he does not eat red meat. We discussed the horrors that other animals experience in the food industry, and he said that he would read the Even If I gave him, and the Guide, and try to start cutting out pork and chicken!
—Karen James, 8/30/12

It was awesome of Angelo to join me for a whole day of leafleting at Millersville University!
Some highlights:

  • A young woman said, “You converted my friend last year. She’s still vegetarian.”
  • Another young woman said, “I already got that. And I already cried over it.”
  • And yet another young woman said that she recently turned vegan and was interested in getting involved. I gave her my contact info (was too rushed to get her info) and gave her a Guide.
  • A dude told me that he was in the process of opening a vegan bakery nearby.

—Jon Camp, 8/30/12

  Rashmi Abeysekera
  Rashmi Abeysekera spreads the message of compassion at the City College of San Francisco.
 

Leafleting the Red Line station was somewhat hit-or-miss, but one guy came back after reading the booklet and said he was going to make a change right then and there. He seemed very honest and shocked by what he had read. Just that one person made the entire time worth it!
     Jenna and I had a good day at the College of DuPage. A lot of students were really shocked to learn the truth. Several great conversations with groups, and a number were ready to make a change.
—Pam Stelmasek, 8/30/12

Reached 195 students at Fresno High in only 18 minutes! At Fresno City College, I met a woman who said she was already thinking about going vegan and was really excited to get some help. Met a couple others who used to be vegetarian and were interested in getting back to it. A beautiful day and a few hours well spent.
—Jonathan Hussain, 8/30/12

  Lillia Silva
 

Lois and I had an interesting time at the farmers’ market, with loads of interactions. A woman took a booklet, then laughingly handed it back to me saying, “My husband’s a pig farmer.” I said they could still read the booklet. The husband grabbed the booklet and started looking at it while his wife said, “Hey, honey, maybe you can travel like you’ve always wanted to.” One young woman said she was more concerned with humans, but after talking with me a bit, happily accepted a booklet. Two different people came back and asked for a second booklet for a friend. One newish vegan was happy to get a Guide, an invite to our video showing, and a vegan button which he immediately pinned to his shirt. Met a whole family of vegetarians who were happy to get a Guide and video invite. Lillia [right] approached me to say that she’d gotten a Compassionate Choices from me at the farmers’ market a couple of weeks ago and has been “pretty much vegan” since. And her husband, who had eaten a lot of animal products, is following her down the vegan path. Yippee!
—Barbara Bear, 9/1/12

Clayton Carr  
 

My mini-leafleting marathon included the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where almost exactly 20 years ago, Matt Ball and Anne Green helped me become vegan and an activist. Clayton [Carr, left] joined me for a few hours and did strong work on his half of the quad. I met him this past summer at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and found out that he became vegan after getting a booklet from me a few years ago. He offered to help leaflet, and the rest is UIUC history!
—Joe Espinosa, 8/29/12

Awesome day at the University of Maine, Farmington! Super-friendly students. An older staff member said she was very happy to see me handing out the info. A student thanked me profusely and wished me luck with the outreach. Very sweet! A different student waved the leaflet in the air and exclaimed, “Yay vegans! Whoooo!” She proceeded to tell the person next to her that she is vegan.
—Lana Smithson, 9/6/12

  Citrus College students
  Three of the 2,200 Citrus students reached by Nikki and Kassy.
 

At Maui Community College, I chatted with a woman who told me she used to be vegan but switched when she got married. She felt like receiving a booklet put her in the mind to go back to becoming vegan. I also had a nursing student come up to me and ask for five booklets to share with her classmates. And, as always, countless recipients started reading the booklets moments after they were received.
—Erik Marcus, 9/5/12

The awakening is WAY underway at Citrus College, where Kassy and I reached 2,200! Students are always eager to learn more, they’re droppin’ meat / dairy / eggs like third-period French. It’s the stuff stories are made of.
—Nikki Benoit, 9/6/12

LPC veggie  
 

Great day at Chabot College with Leslie! Interesting chats with students; met loads of vegans, vegetarians, and people who agree this is an important issue. For example, I met a big, strong guy who has been vegan for six months now and says it’s working out good and he likes it. Nice! Also chatted with three really tall guys (rockin’ lots of sports gear and gold teeth) who were really curious about factory farming. Felt like I was able to give them some good answers and pointed out specific pictures and what was going on in the brochure. They wanted to check out some videos, and one of the guys wanted a Guide.

 
  SFSU student
  An SFSU student stops in her tracks to read Even If You Like Meat.
 

     Monday, I was joined once again by the new superstar activist Rashmi, who soon starts her senior year at Berkeley High. This day’s leafleting pushes her to 1,600 for the month of August! Eleanor, my leafleting pal from Sacramento, is now in the Bay Area, and joined us at Las Positas College. We met a number of people who are on their way to veg or who have been thinking about it. I snapped a pic [above] of a gal who has been veg a year because of getting a booklet from us last fall at Las Positas, woo! I also had a really nice chat with a fella who was shocked by the booklet, specifically the picture of the baby male chicks left in a hatchery dumpster because they are not valuable to the egg industry. He got a Guide; I’m positive he’ll be thinking about his food choices differently. Rashmi and I then stopped at Merritt College. Even though it’s a small school, the reception is fantastic and the students are always so interested. When I went inside to grab a drink, I overheard a guy order a salad because of the booklet. Also talked with a woman who wants to start getting off meat.
     Today was a huge day at San Francisco State, where Kitty, Diane, Brian, Abel, activists from the local group SAVVE, and I reached 3,616 students! Lots stopped to chat, and quite a few thanked us for spreading the word. Diane ran into a guy who got an Even If a few years back and went veg as a result. He went vegan two months ago and thanked Diane for doing the good work that changed his life. So cool! I was really happy to be there for quite a few people who were in the midst of transitioning to veg / vegan or who had been seriously thinking about the issue.
—Brian Grupe, 8/28/12

 

  Crystal Love at Irvine Valley College
 

At Cal State Los Angeles, Chuck and I heard from numerous veggies, and watched the blinders get blown off numerous others. It’s crazy to think folks are still in the dark on this issue, but inspiring to see that all it takes is one flip of the switch. Shazam.
     At UC Riverside, I hooked up with Kassy – friend of The Oberg himself – she’s a superstar advocate, we’ll see lots of sparks outta her efforts. Steve, Lacey, Taylor, and Charlie joined us. Melissa and Martin also joined me at CSU San Bernardino – all told, we reached over 2,600 students!

 
Amir Mirzaei at Irvine Valley College  
 

     Over 1,550 students today at Irvine Valley College. Today’s encounters were so rad, I was looking for the camera crew all day. For example, Crystal [above] got a booklet, asked for a few extras for her sustainability club. Comes back ten minutes later, puts her stuff down and starts leafleting with me. Later, Sonja stopped and asked for ways to get involved; we exchanged info. Amir [left]…this cat comes back to me with the booklet saying, “What do I do to help?” I say, “Help me leaflet.” He says, “Ok. What else?” I say, “Stop eating the animals and their parts.” “Of course, that’s done as of the second I glanced through that booklet. This is disgusting. And horrible.” And he’s a natural leafleter! He’ll be joining me at many more colleges going forward.
—Nikki Benoit, 8/20/12

  Robyn Gillette at Contra Costa College
 

Diane, the leafleting rock star, was back in action on her two-year veganversary – congrats Diane! We reached 898 students at De Anza College – amazing for summer session!
     Diane joined me again at City College of San Francisco, along with Ashley, Rashmi, Danielle, and Kitty. We more than doubled the previous record, reaching 4,652 students! Take rate was really good, and we met plenty of interested students.
     Kitty, Jonathan, and Robyn joined me to set another record at Contra Costa College. It was Robyn’s first time – she was nervous, but a total natural [right]. We met several people who said they’re going to try veg now, and another who is now going to try vegan for two weeks.
     Todd and Darren [below] joined me for a very eventful day at Solano Community College and Napa Valley College, where we chatted with lots of interested students. Was thanked a number of times for spreading the word. Talked at length with a guy who had no idea factory farming even existed. He left with a Guide and some movie recommendations – I know he’ll be eating differently. Gave a booklet and a Guide to a nutrition professor who said he would definitely read them. I then met a guy who said that after reading the booklet, he is determined to go veg.
—Brian Grupe, 8/22/12

Todd Smith and Darren Roth at Solano Community College
 

Pam and I reached 300 people at Navy Pier. We both had great conversations. One person took booklets for friends; another gave Pam a big hug, and one woman yelled out of her car how much her son loved the magazine we had given him. Another lady said that she had gotten a booklet the week before and that she was making changes to reduce farmed animal suffering. Her boyfriend remarked about how extreme the cruelty is that we subject them to and then said, “And we call them animals.”
—Mikael Nielsen, 8/15/12

  Karen James at Farmingdale State
 

Receptive crowd at the farmers’ market. I was pleasantly surprised by the heartfelt reactions I got! Watched many people reading the booklet. One person came back to tell me they plan to go vegan over the next few months.
—Barbara Bear, 8/18/12

Good to be back! Great conversations at Suffolk County Community College, where I reached over 1,000 students. Conversations about starting a group on campus, and met 11 vegetarians, 4 vegans. Also received the emails of a few people who want more info, and one who wants to get involved in leafleting.
     Jennifer and I blew the socks off Farmingdale State, reaching nearly 1,600 students! We met 5 vegans and 9 vegetarians. We also got the emails of 2 vegans we met, to keep in touch and get them in contact with each other. I met a student who said he had been vegan for two years, but had returned to eating meat. We discussed his reasons for the change; I gave him a Guide; he said he was very glad we were there, and was going to try going vegan again. Yippee!!!
—Karen James (above, leafleting Farmingdale State), 8/28/12

  Cynthia at Irvine Valley College
  Another one of Nikki’s rad encounters at IVC: “Cynthia got a booklet 2 years ago at OCC – vegan on the spot. She veganized her boyfriend AND his parental units.”
 

Good conversations at Willamette University and Linfield College. Some students said they still had their booklets from last year. A young woman who has been vegan two months wondered whether she was getting good nutrition, and was very happy to get a Guide with nutrition information. A young man who had taken a booklet before approached me and said, “I just want to say, thank you for doing this.” Another young man pointed to the booklet he had taken, saying, “They feed me this stuff in the cafeteria.” I asked, “Do they serve vegetarian?” He said, “They probably do. I should probably try it.”
—Cobie deLespinasse, 8/28/12

It was great to return to college leafleting and set a new one-day record for students reached at a Virginia community college – 1,325, and six others given a Guide. Several people commented that I was a “warrior” and such for leafleting many hours in the hot sun. I had good conversations with a guy who had just celebrated his three-year anniversary as a vegan, a young woman who wants to get involved with local outreach, and a guy who told me that he’s vegan until 6pm every day.
—Jon Camp, 8/27/12

Jovan joined me to hit the All Stars Tour at the Congress Theater, where we had a very receptive audience. The doorman asked me about what we were doing and said he agreed that meat causes unnecessary suffering; then as kids were leaving, he told them, “Take a flier!” They also let us stand by the door though they shooed everyone else away. We heard from many vegetarians and vegans.
—Leslie Patterson, 8/13/12

 

  Nathan Shin
  Nathan Shin makes the animals’ case in NYC.
 

Take rate of 80–90% at Western New England University! I was amazed at how nice the students were. Students came over to get a booklet saying, “I love animals” and “I want to help animals.” One girl said, “This is going to make me cry,” but took the Even If You Like Meat anyway! Met a student at the end who chatted a bit about factory farming and the horrible cruelty forced upon the animals. He wanted to change his eating habits, so he got a Guide. He gave me his email because he also wants guidance on how to help get better food choices in his cafeteria, and get a group going on campus.
     A farmers’ market had been set up by some of the food staff, so I gave them booklets. When I was leaving, the chief of campus police approached me. He had gotten booklets from the farmers’ market, looked them over, and wanted a set of each for himself and his wife!
     At Springfield College, I got seven people’s info who wanted to start a veg group on campus. I also met a student who had been thinking of going vegan, but felt “stuck.” I went through a Guide with her. She was very happy to see all the information, and said she would start right away!
—Karen James, 9/20/12

  Peter
 

Reached over 1,250 students at the University of Idaho. A girl told me she received a booklet in the past and didn’t eat meat for a long time but has since gone back. I gave her a Guide and she seemed willing to give it another go. Another older professor-looking woman was so thankful that I was out there and said she was so glad that “you young people are taking charge,” to which I said, “Thanks for paving the way!” I also had my first ever unicycle handoff. Finally, Peter asked for a booklet and stood next to a tree near me reading it cover-to-cover for nearly 20 minutes [right]. He walked back over to me and we discussed the issue for a while. He explained that he now wants to stop supporting factory farms because the way that animals are treated is sickening.
—John Oberg, 9/21/12

  Lee Aiken
 

Today was my leafleting debut, at Hamilton’s Open Streets festival. I was surprised how many people stopped to talk – approximately 20–25, ranging from 2 minutes to 10 minutes in length. In addition to a group of four students, I also talked with two former dairy farmers! I was a little nervous during that conversation but managed to maintain a friendly and open dialogue with them about how the industry has changed. And finally, I had a great conversation with a (not yet veg) sixth-grade teacher who told me several students in her class had become vegetarians after doing a project on factory farming. I thanked her for being open and supporting her students in this way; she took a booklet.
—Lee Aiken (above), 9/23/12

I did a half-hour presentation of my art work and animal rights at my class (at Laney College). Handed out 15 VO booklets. The students were quite receptive and at least half said they rarely ate meat. The teachers said they wanted to help me get the message out to other community college classes and that I could present it to the Sustainability Committee – which is a group of teachers concerned about environmental and social issues. I will do that soon.
—Leslie Goldberg, 9/19/12

Lots of vegetarians at LaGuardia Community College, and good conversations. Spoke with a former vegetarian who is now coming back. After a while, he took booklets and started handing them out!
—Casey, 9/20/12

  SMCC vegetarian
 

At Southern Maine Community College, a young man [right] walked by and said, “You changed my life.” He stopped to explain that he got a booklet from me two years ago and has been vegan ever since! His girlfriend went vegan as well!
     I had a good conversation with a man in a suit who was carrying a Bible. He said he goes to campuses to preach to students. His brother is a vegetarian. He asked some thoughtful questions and seemed to like my answers. He accepted a Would Jesus Eat Meat Today?
     A different young man said, “I hate you.” I said, “Excuse me?” He said, “I hate you. I won’t want to eat meat after reading this.” He sighed, smiled, and thanked me for the info.
—Lana Smithson, 9/20/12

It was great to have Kat and Andrew helping out at the University of Mary Washington. Kat had interned for MFA this summer, so was already an experienced leafleter. Andrew, who made his leafleting debut, said about Kat, “I can see why she’s so into this!” We smashed the school record – reaching over 1,100 students.
—Jon Camp, 9/21/12

  Brian Grupe & Jack Norris
 

Macie, Jasmine, and I set a new record at Cabrillo College, reaching nearly 1,000 new students! Lots of conversations. I talked to at least four people who will probably move towards veg / vegan now.
     Kitty did a great job today at Los Medanos College, where we reached 881 students. I remember doing this school in 2009 and meeting no vegetarians or vegans. We met about 10 today, and many students mentioned Food, Inc., learning about it in a class, being aware already, etc. Love to see measurable progress like this.
     Today, Jack and I [right] busted the old record at Cosumnes River College, reaching over 1,500 new students! Met a good number of veg and veg-curious folk. One woman told me she read the booklet and is giving up meat!
—Brian Grupe, 9/24/12

  HCC students
  At Hostos Community College, Katie Pryor watched these students read their booklets from cover to cover.
 

From a recent batch of Guide requests:

A girl at the farmers’ market makes these fabulous vegan cookies, and had rows of Vegan Outreach booklets lined up next to her cookies. I had noticed I was subconsciously eating less meat than usual when I came across these booklets, and knew it was a good choice for me. Being a foodie already familiar with the pleasures of fruits and veggies, I am excited by the challenge of excluding animal products from my diet. Thank you for making the beautifully designed message that changed my life. It feels good knowing I am a part of a movement bigger than just considering where our food comes from.
—KG, 9/6/12

A girl was passing out booklets at the Made in America Jay Z festival in Philly two weeks ago. I appreciated her efforts to spread awareness. I’ve been a vegetarian for 6 months, and it’s a struggle sometimes, so I found your booklet motivating.
—JJ, 9/11/12

A young man outside North Dakota State was handing out booklets, so I had to check it out and immediately supported what I read.
—BH, 9/11/12

At Black Hills State, there was a guy handing out booklets; I took one and read it. It broke my heart and was the final straw – I’ve always questioned the ways we gather our food and I just can’t ignore it any more! Sooo THANK YOU!!!!
—NS, 9/14/12

  MIT vegetarian
  Rachel Atcheson sends this pic of a “guy who went vegetarian after reading the leaflet the last time we handed him one on MIT’s campus!”
 

 

My best friend from high school just started at MIT, and just messaged me: “So, there’s this one spot at MIT that basically every undergraduate crosses multiple times a day to get from dorm to class and there are almost always people handing out things. I took one yesterday, and it was a Vegan Outreach booklet!”
—Ellen Green, 9/17/12

Today at Mt. San Antonio College was one of those days. Everything Kassy touched turned into tofu. Morale booster is an understatement. After handing a booklet to a guy at the University of La Verne, a guy behind me called out: “Hey what about me? I wanna help animals.” HA! LOVE THE LOVE TODAY!
     We were in place by 7:30 and the Earth shifted – not by her plates – by the consciousness of her most virulent species. Almost immediately a woman stopped to chat when I offered her a booklet. She was asking me what to do to help w/o going veg. While discussing the issue with her, THREE other people came up to listen / discuss this issue too. Kassy held the fort while I took on these eager young folks. In the end, all except one requested a Guide, and one is returning to veg. Hip hip!
     Katherine [below] stopped after Kassy handed her a booklet, chatting about how much she loves animals and was excited to hear the veg options and advice from K. Long story short she dropped her bag and grabbed booklets to help for 30 minutes before her next class. IS A NATURAL TOO!!
     Amazing day!
—Nikki Benoit, 9/12/12

Katherine Chavez at Mt SAC

 

  Cesar Sanchez at Mt SAC
 

Here is a picture of Cesar Sanchez [right] leafleting like a champ!! He started leafleting with me after he got a booklet. We then were approached by 3 freshman girls asking if there was an animal welfare club on campus – the 3rd time today we were asked that! Cesar told the girls he would help them start one!!
—Kassy Ortega, 9/12/12

Matt and I reached over 300 people outside Chicago’s only Chick-fil-A (at Loyola’s Water Tower Campus), and everyone was nice and positive. I did have one guy who made a silly comment going into the restaurant, but then apologized for it when he was leaving: “Sorry bro, I didn’t mean to be an asshole, but I was just super hungry after work.” I told him that it was no problem and that perhaps tomorrow would be his meat-free day. He smiled and said that perhaps it would. Another lady stopped to chat for a bit about how she used to be vegetarian, but then went back to eating meat, but was trying to get back to being vegetarian again. She said that she had cut out beef and pork, but after telling her that the best thing to cut out would be chicken, she said that she would try to focus on that. Matt had a conversation with a lady that had gotten a booklet about a month ago and hadn’t been able to eat meat since. After they got a booklet, several people actually decided to not go inside for dinner, which was great to see. A very positive night of outreach and this location should be continued to be hit. I know Mr. Espinosa is already doing this, so kudos to him.
—Mikael Nielsen, 8/6/12

Nancy joined me at Chick-fil-A, and we reached 500 more people. One woman, after getting a booklet, came back and declared, “This is it, I can’t eat meat any longer.” I gave her a Guide and encouragement.
—Joe Espinosa, 8/7/12

Alex Bury in Oakland  
 

Took only 45 minutes for Kristie, Milena, and me to reach 300 people in downtown Oakland. One woman came back 10 minutes later to say that she was “seriously considering going vegan because of this booklet, it was eye-opening!”
—Alex Bury (left), 8/10/12

Jon B and I reached 679 new people with Would Jesus Eat Meat Today? in our fourth year at the Ignite Chicago Christian Rock Fest. The crowd can be tough and react angrily to the message. But both days, we encountered a few people who said they were veg or gave us a thumbs-up. Overall, great outreach!
—Darina Smith, 7/22/12

Solid night of leafleting at Fountain Square. Met lots of vegetarians, some of whom took a booklet to share with friends. The highlight of the evening was a man who told me his daughters received booklets earlier in the evening and now they don’t want to eat the steak he planned on cooking tomorrow. We actually spoke for about five minutes about meat alternatives, health benefits and such, and it sounds like the family wants to start moving toward a meat-free lifestyle!
—Rich Sheer, 8/11/12

The best reception I ever had at Oregon State. Met loads of vegetarians, and almost everyone took a booklet, often with an enthusiastic “awesome” or “oh yeah” when I offered info to help animals. It was such a good day I think I should go buy a lottery ticket.
—Nettie Schwager, 8/9/12

  Cleveland concertgoer
  Never mind the strobes, this Cleveland concertgoer is entranced by our Warped Tour Why Vegan?
 

Strangely pleasant day of leafleting at Union Square – many people were coming up to me asking questions and thanking me for what I do, very cool. Met two women who said they are starting their vegan journey this week and that seeing the booklet helps.
—Nathan Shin, 8/9/12

The Bud Billiken Parade is the largest African-American parade in the country. Leafleting was pretty fun! People were friendly and receptive, and a number stopped to ask questions.
—Leslie Patterson, 8/11/12

Jo Jo at Scranton Warped stop  
John sends this pic from the Scranton show: “Jo Jo, a girl who expressed thanks to me for being out there and was very impacted by the booklet.” And shown below are Victor Sjodin, Pauline Lombardo, Lesley Parker-Rollins, Jon Camp, and Jay Kristensen leafleting the Warped Tour’s stop outside Baltimore.  
 

Another 8,550 rockers reached at Cleveland’s Warped Tour stop – Nathan, Jennifer, Vic, Dan, Mandy, Lisa, and I formed a wall of leafleting prowess. We heard many positive comments, including “This made me go vegetarian!” and “This is nasty as hell, it makes me not want to eat meat.”
     The Scranton Warped leafleting was the quintessential day of efficiency – 8,100 more young people had their eyes opened. Ben, Kathy, Will, Ali, Vic, and I had an extremely high take rate. One girl was about to throw the leaflet away, saying, “This makes me so sad.” I replied, “Yes, it’s sad, but you directly impact the lives of dozens of animals every year and you owe it to yourself and those animals to be aware of what’s going on behind closed doors.” It was a mouthful, but she seemed to really take it to heart and vowed to read the leaflet. Her friends also seemed much more inclined to read up on how their dietary preferences impact the lives of hundreds of animals.
     On my last day of the 2012 Warped Tour (Columbia, MD), I was fortunate enough to have some of the biggest players and pioneers in the movement to leaflet alongside – Nick, Kate, Aaron, Sally, Nathan, Pauline, Josh, Jay, Jon, Lesley, and Vic. We reached 11,725 more people, with a very high take rate. Damn it feels good to be a leafleter!
—John Oberg, 7/24/12

Wall at Baltimore Warped stop

 

  Myriam at UCSD
 

Numerous enthusiastic recipients at Pasadena Community College – animals are popular! Heard from a record number of vegans on this campus, and they’re only at 1⁄4 capacity during summer session! Chatted with Dallas, a former slaughterhouse worker, who – because of what he learned – has been vegan for two years. Abhors how these animals are treated. Is happily on board with his compassionate alternative lifestyle now. Yay!
     Near the end of my time at Palomar College, a health professor came running out of her classroom to get booklets for her students. This awesome-sauce human is arming her pupils with news they can use!
     At UC San Diego, I reached over 700 students in only 3.5 hours. Numerous head-spinning, 90 mph skateboard handoffs. And met Myriam [above], a veg since November 2011 cuz of a booklet we gave her – BOOYAH!
     One of the summer’s highlights has to be the talk I gave to the workshop for AP Environmental Science teachers, thanks to superstar high school science teacher Stewart! The presentation ROCKED! The fact that compassion can NOT be partitioned to just humans and select animal friends was made loud and clear, and THEY GET IT! These teachers are from all over Cali, and were nodding in agreement, tossing in their own comments of endorsement. They asked for my contact info for fall :) Stewart texted after I left saying they were all buried in the booklets I gave them. YAYAYAYAY!!!
—Nikki Benoit, 7/26/12

Emma, Gabby, and Shelby at the St. Louis Warped Tour stop
 

Despite a temperature of 104 and no shade, Ben, Jen, David, and I reached over 4,000 people at the St. Louis Warped Tour stop. I also had one of the most meaningful moments of the tour today. A group of three girls [above] were walking by and I overheard [Gabby, center] say, “I got this before and went vegetarian right after!” I stopped them and asked her if she was still vegetarian. She said no, so I asked why, to which she replied that she accidentally ate chicken once and felt like she was no longer a vegetarian. I explained how vegetarianism wasn’t about purity, I’ve accidentally eaten non-vegan in the past and didn't let it stop me from continuing on with my ethical commitment. She instantly said she would go vegetarian from this point on; she concluded by saying, “Thank you for changing my life!”

 
Maria at Kansas City Warped stop  
 

     Better night at the Detroit stop, where Nathan, Ben, Jennifer, David, Italia, Don, Vic, Matt, Karly, Rachael, Kelly, and I reached over 13,000 rockers! In Chicago, we also reached over 13,000 new people! Amazing crew – Mikael, Riley, Elizabeth, Kevin, Pamela, Jennifer, Nathan, Jennifer, Vic, Kenny, Joe, Leslie, Sacha, and I were joined by Tyler, a security guard!
     Over 10,000 again at Warped Minneapolis – Nathan, Jennifer, Vic, Sen, Dani, Jeff, Jake, Jeni, and I formed a wall at the one exit, so just about everyone was offered a booklet! At Kansas City, Nathan, Jennifer, Vic, Kelsey, Joseph, Sacha, and I had just enough booklets for the crowd – 7,000 more young people reached. Met Maria [left], who had received a leaflet two years ago at Warped Tour and has been vegetarian since. Also talked with Madison [below], proudly wearing a “vegetarian” T-shirt, who went veg a year ago as a result of getting a booklet from us last year. So great to see results coming from our hard work!
—John Oberg, 7/9/12

  Madison at Kansas City Warped stop
 

I leafleted Oregon State on July 5, and Cobie joined me today. We had good conversations, with people interested in going veg, going back to being veg, taking more booklets for friends, etc. While talking with two middle-aged men, one of the big things I made them realize is that 90% of meat comes from confined operations. They were under the impression that about 70% of the animals are raised free-range and happy.
—Amanda Rhodes, 7/13/12

Leafleting da Vinci Days got better as the weekend went on, with better acceptance and good conversations. A woman who teaches at the University of Oregon mentioned showing her students a documentary about a tribe, with a scene where a pig is killed to be eaten. The students were so upset and thought it was so bad that they killed the pig. It’s really revealing as to the nature of our disconnection. What do they think happens to the animals eaten here? Do they think they die in their sleep?
—Nettie Schwager, 7/21/12

Amanda, Jade, and friends in Times Square  
 

At Union Square, I met many who were interested and lots of vegans; I swapped info with those who wanted to get involved. Saturday at Times Square was even better, with two helpers! A number of people took a booklet on their second time passing by; others mentioned having seen me and my sign elsewhere and decided to take a booklet now. A group of four young ladies [left] remembered getting a booklet from me at the Gay Pride Parade and are definitely working towards veg. They were very thankful.
—Casey, 7/14/12

After work last week, I took up my favorite location at Chicago and Wabash, where the Chick-fil-A cow was dancing and high-fiving passersby and wearing a pink (breast cancer awareness?) vest that said, “Kool Kidz Eat Chikin.” I squelched the festive mood, and worked the curious crowd, hearing from a number of vegetarians. Today, I was able to reach another 111, along with an interesting conversation about abortion, suffering, and numbers.
—Joe Espinosa, 7/25/12

  Kimito Sakata at Denver Warped stop
  Kimito Sakata reaches out to Warped Tour fans in Denver.
 

Jovan and I had amazing leafleting at State and Madison – distributed all 300 booklets we had brought in less than an hour! Good conversations, too.
—Leslie Patterson, 7/25/12

Outreach was great on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall, with Kristy, Danny, Kimito, Hulya, Lynn, and I talking with many people. Almost every single person that stopped not only accepted literature, but took multiple copies, asked for recipes, and were genuinely interested in going vegan. It was remarkable.
—Lisa Shapiro, 7/27/12

Liz Tampe at Chicago’s Fullerton Station  
 

It was a good evening of outreach for Liz [Tampe, left] and me. One girl told us that she was not going to buy the hamburger she had been planning on when she passed us. Another told us that this was “Sick!” and that he had no idea that this was how farmed animals were treated. A lovely lady, who said she didn’t eat pork or much beef, told me that she would work on cutting out chicken after I explained that it takes about 200 chickens to equal the meat gotten from one cow.
—Mikael Nielsen, 7/19/12

Leafleting the Pismo farmers’ market was beautiful, with most people accepting a booklet, and others approaching to ask for copies! My most interesting conversation was with a guy who said he could never be vegan, that he knows about the ag industry and that going vegan is the right thing to do, but he just knows he could never do it. I said I used to think the same thing 20 years ago before I went vegan, but I mostly emphasized that it isn’t all or nothing – even cutting back results in less suffering. He smiled and gave me a high five before he left with a Compassionate Choices in hand. I think he’s going to surprise himself and go vegan.
—Barbara Bear, 7/25/12

 

Wall of leafleters at Ventura Warped Tour stop
Part of the awesome crew that worked the Ventura Warped Tour stop (left to right): Dave Coman-Hidy, Norma Sanchez, Estela Sanchez, Josh Gutier, Nikki Benoit, T, John Oberg, and Phil Letten.
 

T, Carrie, Norma, Estela, Stewart, Josh, John, Phil, Sacha, The Humane League, and I reached 13,000 rockers at the Ventura Warped Tour stop! Tooooo much fun! These events get better every year. Attendees at these shows are SO RIPE for this information. One person went vegan on the spot, and numerous others said they were headed in that direction. Can’t say enough great things about this crew!
—Nikki Benoit, 6/25/12

  Vegetarian at Houston Warped Tour
 

Texas Warped Tour stops were amazing!
     At San Antonio, Cynthia, Sacha, Ben, Jen, David, Alan, Amy, Kat, and I reached 12,625 people. Huuuge thanks to Alan (MFA Dallas’ campaign coordinator for the summer) for bringing his two star interns. Without the MFA crew there, we would’ve reached thousands fewer people. The teamwork between people from different organizations throughout Warped Tour has been incredible.
     Shockingly, Dallas had the highest take-rate and lowest throw-down rate of any show yet. Alicia, Sylvia, Sacha, Ben, Jen, David, and I reached an even 10,000 there despite the heat.
     Great saturation at the Houston stop – almost 90% of the crowd had a seed of compassion planted in their hands. Eugene, Lisa, Sacha, Ben, Jen, David, and I reached over 13,000 more young people. Such an amazing night of outreach – including getting a hug from a girl [above] who said, “Thank you so much for this. I received one last year at Warped Tour and have been vegetarian ever since!”
—John Oberg, 7/3/12

  Alicia Townsend at Dallas Warped stop
  Alicia Townsend provides a voice for the animals at the Dallas Warped Tour stop.
 

Leslie and I encountered an amazing crowd at the Stern Grove Festival! The majority of people reacted favorably. A few people stopped to tell us they were working on going veg, and we met some veg / vegans who thanked us for spreading the word. The crowd was incredibly smiley and friendly; very, very few booklets ended up in the nearby recycling bin. Such an excellent use of time.
—Brian Grupe, 7/1/12

So many positive encounters at the San Luis Obispo Pride Fest! A few examples:
     A woman came bounding out of the dancing crowd to ask for a booklet. She said her daughter is a vegan and is getting the rest of the family on board. She is very excited about veganism and wants to get together to get active for animals. We had a great conversation and exchanged info so we can be in touch about animal advocacy, etc.
     As I was talking to the above woman, a teenage girl passed by and made a point of saying, “I like your (Vegan Outreach) shirt!” The woman I was talking to said, “Here, take a brochure!” and grabbed one off the stack to give to her. The teenager was happy to get a Guide as well.
     A guy yelled out “Vegan!” from the sidelines. I assumed he was one, but it turns out he isn’t veg, just felt the need to shout “vegan.” Regardless, it made me turn around and offer copies of Compassionate Choices to him and his friends.
     A security guard came over to ask me about the definition of veganism. We had a lengthy conversation during which I praised him for thinking about the animals’ plight. He said he normally wouldn’t have, but just moved to the area and the people he rents from had five female chickens and a rooster. He started feeding them and “bonded” with them. He’s upset because there’s now only one hen and one rooster left. He said the rooster is upset each time one of the chickens is taken to slaughter. I think he’ll continue to consider this issue.
     After, I decided to get a treat in a coffee shop that purportedly has good vegan sweets. The young woman who waited on me asked if I was vegan (again, the shirt!). She said she’d been veg for about a week and a half and was having trouble with it. I congratulated her, told her to cut herself a break and give it some time, just keep walking past the “open casket” section when she goes grocery shopping, etc. She laughed and it sounded like she was going to stick with it. I told her what I was doing in SLO and offered her a leftover Guide, which she gladly accepted.
—Barbara Bear, 7/8/12

 

  Max at San Francisco Warped Tour
  Above: John Oberg met Max at the San Francisco Warped Tour stop – “he was mostly vegan and excited we were out there.” Below are some of the amazing activists who worked the Phoenix stop (left to right): Ben Sylvester, David Coman-Hidy (front), Joseph Junker, Rachael Plotts, John Oberg, Bryce Goodson, Danny Dominguez, and Jen Ammerman.
 

Holy summer session, Batman! Acceptance rate was great at UC Berkeley; Leslie, Grace, Katie, and I reached over 1,500 students! No booklets ended up on the ground. It was awesome outreach – we were a great team!
     Gunita helped me leaflet the Maine at The Fillmore; she gave a brochure to one of the guys in the band and he took it on the bus with him, sweet! What an ideal audience! I met a mom whose daughter has been veg for a year since getting a Compassionate Choices brochure. Woo! I also met QUITE a few people who had received brochures in the past from either school or concerts. We are gettin’ it done here in the bay, yo.
—Brian Grupe, 6/27/12

Norma and I had such a fun day at the LA Pride Fest! OMG amazing take rate! WOW. Spectators couldn’t get enough! Epic…spectacular…unreal. Win!
     Leafleted during my birthday trip to Catalina Island. Chatted with a jeep tour driver who lives on the island, gave him a booklet to read and to share with his tour guests…his heart’s broken over animal treatment, too. The lady taking tickets at the Botanical Gardens eagerly read the booklet I gave her on my way through, and as I passed by again, she yelled to me, “I love this booklet, thank you!” So I shimmied over and Guided her. Equally ecstatic for that, she was. Yay animal champs!
—Nikki Benoit, 6/14/12

Ben Sylvester, David Coman-Hidy, Joseph Junker, Rachael Plotts, John Oberg, Bryce Goodson, Danny Dominguez, and Jen Ammerman at Phoenix Warped Tour
 

San Francisco was one of the craziest Warped dates I can remember. Security issues ran amok, as well as confusion about the exits from every security guard we spoke with. When the flood finally came, our amazing crew* dealt with adversity and we were able to knock out a record number of booklets – 12,900!
*Taylor, David, Jeni, Lisa, Beau, Brian, Jack, Diane, Gunita, Brian, Joel, Eve, Sacha, and me.
     It was brutally hot at the Phoenix stop of Warped – 111 degrees! But we* were able to offer virtually every single attendee if they’d like a booklet, and reached about 85% of the crowd!
*Ben, Jennifer, David, Rachael, Joseph, Beau, Zubair, Danny, Bryce, and me.
     Slow but steady day at the Las Cruces Warped stop – we* reached nearly 75% of the kids. We heard from one girl, Emily, who received a leaflet from us last year and has been vegetarian ever since! Her friend’s ears perked up and she promised she would read the booklet, too. Great to hear that our past efforts created some real change!
*Jennifer, Ben, David, Sacha, and me.
—John Oberg, 6/29/12

  Vegan HS teacher
 

Great time and high reception rate at Oregon State! I sound like a broken record, but every time I leaflet at OSU, I feel the interest, awareness, and sympathy for this issue growing.
—Nettie Schwager, 5/30/12

While leafleting on Thursday, I met a young woman [right] who got a booklet at Brooklyn College about five years ago. She is now vegan and a high school science teacher.
     On Saturday, Ruton from Bangladesh stopped to help, which was great. Three new people said they are going veg now, and at least half a dozen others mentioned planning on cutting back on animal products and wanting to learn more. Met more veg people from all over the world, too – Europe (Spain, Italy, Norway), Brazil, Cali and other parts of the States. I got them a Guide, let them know of the many veg places in the area (VegGuide.org) and probably near them.
—Casey, 7/1/12

Man reading booklet on train  
Pulin Modi snapped this pic of a Why Vegan? reader on the metro in Washington, DC.  
 

Victoria and I leafleted a lot of young people at Chicago’s Millennium Station. One woman told us she has received the leaflet before and is moving towards giving up meat. A man thanked us for the work. A young woman who has been vegetarian for a year stopped to chat and accepted a Guide. She has been working on converting all of her friends. When I went down into the station to catch my train home, I saw people on the train reading the booklet.
—Leslie Patterson, 6/27/12

Liz and I had a good hour of outreach despite the heat. Many people exclaimed they were either vegetarian or vegan. One woman said it was our work that had helped her reduce her meat consumption big time. She said she was going to keep making improvements and that she encouraged her friends to do the same.
—Mikael Nielsen, 7/4/12

The Coldplay concert here in Dallas was really great outreach. Brittany, Mieke, Anou, Allison, and I spoke to many vegetarians and most people were enthusiastic about the leaflets. The crowd was mostly teenagers. A young girl (probably about 7 years old) asked me if she could help me hand out leaflets! It was awesome!
—Kat O’Dea, 6/22/12

  Victor and Bianca at FIU
 

Only took a short time to reach 200 students at Florida International U. Robert was really happy to get the literature. He took my contact info and we talked about him getting involved. Also spoke to Bianca and Victor [right] and they said that they love animals. They also took my contact because we spoke about the possibility of them starting a club – maybe with Robert!
—Linda Bower, 7/5/12

At the San Luis Obispo farmers’ market, Erika and I had so many great interactions with people who were seriously considering veg*ism that it gave me renewed hope for spreading veganism in this area. After talking to me, one mother said to her kids, “I think we should go vegetarian.” One guy came back to our table and said that he thinks we pushed him over the edge to try being vegan. And a sweet young woman [below] told us she’s been veg for 1 and 1⁄2 years after getting a Compassionate Choices at her high school in Castro Valley, CA.
—Barbara Bear, 6/28/12

  Vegetarian at SLO farmers’ market
 

It was a perfect day to offer booklets; I ran out of them pretty soon, as everyone was receptive. Had a positive response from all of them except one. This was my first time; next time I will carry with me more. It feels so rewarding to be able to make a difference and be a part of Vegan Outreach’s valuable cause.
—Renuka Lakhani, 7/1/12

From a recent batch of Guide requests:

I was given your Compassionate Choices booklet on my campus at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis. It broke my heart!
—DZ

They were handing out booklets at Warped Tour. I read the handout and it made me feel differently about eating meat.
—AH

It was my first day at Suffolk Community College, and someone handed it out to me. I read the booklet and it really got to me. I want to try to at least become a vegetarian, maybe vegan.
—JR

 

Roberto Sanchez and Gary Gonzalez
Nikki: “Roberto Sanchez (left) and Gary Gonzalez (right), both goin’ veg! CoC FTW!”

Every time I visit the College of the Canyons, the students and staff blow the roof off m’hat rack. THEY’RE BOOMIN’! The readiness is here!
     Rabbit’s a 3-year vegan who’s alllll up in the know about the big picture, so she hopped in to help. Collected her contact info as well as 8 other rabidly interested students. While chatting with Roberto, I kept leafleting and met Gary [right]! He’s now on the path, and stopped to thank us for getting the word out. Many changes are coming out of this young man! And no, I wasn’t shocked when Erika walked up to me crying, saying the booklet drove her to tears such that she had to leave class. We chatted about milk and eggs, and she’s gearing up for the vegan swing!
     Today at Riverside Community College, I met someone who initially refused a booklet, saying God gave us animals to eat. I said, “God didn’t give males testicles so we could chop them off without painkillers.” He agreed how the animals are treated is not cool. I said, “Well it’s happening on our watch, we’re supporting it or we’re not. Which would God expect from his people?” He then took a booklet.
—Nikki Benoit, 5/16/12

I reached 300 people at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Had a TON of great conversations with people, including a group of about 5 kids (who looked to be about 13). They took the booklets, started reading, and then came back multiple times that evening to point out things in the booklet and ask me questions (e.g., “What are they doing here?!” – pointing to the pic of a baby chick having her beak cut off). They all vowed to stop eating chicken and eggs and said they want to try to be vegetarians. Yay!
—Kim Dreher, 6/9/12

Debra
After receiving booklets from Casey in Times Square, Debra (above) is “sooo going veg now!” and Cliff (below) is also working toward veg!
Cliff

Reached over 1,000 more students at Diablo Valley College on this exhausting but awesome day. A number of people thanked me and many commented that they had read the booklet and it was very interesting / disturbing / informative. I ran into a student who was on his way to give his presentation about the inhumane treatment of farm animals. He asked for 20 Compassionate Choices to give to his class. He was really excited that we had our chance encounter since he now had great info to pass to each student to go along with his presentation. Met a few vegans and vegetarians which is always nice, considering I used to meet NO veggies on this campus a few years ago.
     The students at Hartnell and Gavilan Colleges were incredibly receptive; I feel like just about everyone who takes a booklet genuinely wants it. Towards the end of my time at Hartnell I had two separate instances of students saying, “Oh sweet, I was hoping I’d get one of these, everyone has one!” That’s the buzz effect baby, woo! Met a few vegetarians. I heard more about class papers and presentations once again. This seems to be happening almost every time I leaflet lately.
     Fantastic day at De Anza College today, where I was joined by Diane, Jessica, and Gunita! Jessica reported: “A professor returned and requested more copies to give to her students. Later, a man expressed interest in volunteering for Vegan Outreach.” Heard from quite a few vegetarians and lots of people mentioning they had received one in the past. We engaged them as much as possible with the old Casey line, “So what did you think of it?” and everyone said it was bad and nearly all said they were planning to change their diet in some way or had already done so. Woo!
—Brian Grupe, 5/23/12

High take rate at Chemeketa Community College, and I can’t recall any snide comments at all. One guy refused at first, saying he likes meat. Pointing to the title (Even If You Like Meat), I explained that the booklet is written for people like him, not vegans. The whole group smiled and he took the booklet.
     Another guy said he used to work for a chicken place and he doesn’t eat chicken anymore. He got a Guide. Yet another guy said he worked at a pig place and a chicken place and he is practically vegetarian after that. He also got a Guide. He told me that when he worked at the pig facility, he had to pick up giant barrels of dead chickens from a chicken farm. The dead chickens were fed to the pigs that then end up being eaten.
—Nettie Schwager, 5/9/12

Cornell ag students

A huge new record – Jon, the Cornell Vegan Society, and I reached 2,547 students at Cornell University! I met more veg students than ever before – dozens of them! Jon had a really constructive discussion with a group of ag students [right], and we got loads of good feedback. For example, one guy took a booklet, walked a bit, then turned around and ran to Jon exclaiming, “I’ve been waiting for vegetarians to put out a message like this for years!” (the meat-reduction approach versus all-or-nothing). And I met Leah, a girl who received a booklet earlier in the day; she said she read through it and now wants to become a vegetarian. She happily took a Guide.
—John Oberg, 5/2/12

Rob Gilbride and Syba Eleni Vlachos

Rob and I decided to put our newly matching Team Vegan shirts to use and leaflet the local dog walk fundraiser [right, with Syba]. Very warm receptions with quite a few high school / college-aged walkers. Awesome use of only 25 minutes. Got lots of comments on the shirts about town after leafleting as well!
—Eleni Vlachos, 6/2/12

Pam and Jovan joined me to leaflet a concert in Millennium Park – great demographic. We heard from a plethora of vegans and vegetarians, as well as a few people who want to get involved with activism. A cop even rolled over on his Segway to get a booklet, telling me he was vegan.
—Leslie Patterson, 6/18/12

Joe Espinosa at Printers Row Lit Fest
Above: Joe Espinosa brings VO’s lit to the Printers Row Lit Fest. Below: Leslie Patterson leaflets the Chicago Warped Tour stop.
Leslie Patterson at Chicago Warped Tour

Leslie informed me about a festival which advertised with the tag line, “Get Lit!” Assuming it was an event that would have an endless supply of beer, I was thrilled to have a chance to attend this event [right]. Arriving at the location, I saw row upon row of books and, realizing my foolish misunderstanding, began to leaflet – everyone there could read and certainly eats, so each person was an opportunity for a major victory for animals. I am confident that our booklet was the most viewed title at the event. Heard from 5 vegans and 30 vegetarians. Also spoke with a 71-year-old man who, despite having a background in animal agriculture (like me), went vegetarian after getting one of our booklets in the past.
—Joe Espinosa, 6/10/12

I broke my record at Livingstone College, a private, religious, historically black college. A huge increase in interest this time around! The admin and faculty members were very happy that I was there (and one remembered the lit from five years ago). One administrator explained they’ve changed food service providers because of student demand; they now have a vegetarian line every day, although some students told me they wanted some of the vegan meats listed in the Guide. A super experience!
     At Johnson C. Smith University, I talked to lots of admin and faculty members who gladly took information on this private, historically black college campus, including two of the track and field coaches who valued what I was doing. Two security guards and two police officers happily took information. A great use of time.
     Handed out the most Guides I ever have before at Central Piedmont Community College, on my way to setting a huge new record for the school. Many people approached me for more information after having gotten a Compassionate Choices earlier, with African-American male students being the number-one segment pledging to work towards a vegetarian or vegan diet. One gentleman is going to go vegetarian within a matter of months, and then work on going vegan; another student is going to start by going vegan on Thursdays. Two Jehovah’s Witnesses were so excited to receive literature and start making dietary changes. They said that I looked very healthy and young for my age which brightened my day. I even had an administrator come over to apologize for his somewhat cold attitude earlier and happily accept all three pieces of lit, promising to read them from cover to cover. I could go on and on…it was that good of a day!
—Anon, 5/3/12

 

SMC student reading booklet
Above: A Santa Monica College student is engrossed in reading Compassionate Choices. Below: A Syracuse University student has stopped dead in her tracks to read Even If You Like Meat.

Today at Santa Monica College, 65 Eastern philosophy students sat intently listening to my spiel and watched Farm to Fridge. WOW! Every conceivable sound of sadness / disgust was heard during the video, an abundance of thoughtful questions afterwards, ALL 50 Guides were requested. Love love love the questions they asked. Afterwards five young people came up saying, “This is it, I’m making the leap!” Absolutely amazing reception.
     For the day, Steve, Chad, and I reached over 2,100 students. This topic is hot, people are waking up…it’s sexy to be compassionate…they know it and are gonna rock it!
—Nikki Benoit, 5/3/12

Outstanding day! Woke up at 5:30 am (Jon from a couch, me from an armchair), worked out, showered up, grabbed some bagels, then leafleted from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm. Earlier in the trip, we set a new record for any school in the state of New York. Today at Syracuse University, we topped it by reaching 3,621 students with Even If You Like Meat, and also giving out 69 Guides. Despite being so busy, we each had a number of meaningful conversations with interested students.
—John Oberg, 5/1/12

SU student reading booklet

Phenomenal day of outreach at Santa Rosa Junior College. I was out the door before 6:00 am to drive to Santa Rosa and give my first of two presentations. Everyone got a Guide, I showed Farm to Fridge, and then we all talked together as a class with me answering questions. My audience was super receptive and I already got this note from the professor:
     “Thanks so much for another fantastic presentation / discussion. The information you present always generates such interest.… I’ve already heard from 10 students that the information they received today is changing the way they think.”
     After leaving each presentation, I was pretty amped up, and thus my leafleting was even more on point. A number of students I leafleted mentioned projects / reports / speeches, which always makes me happy. One young lady told me that she has the Even If posted on her fridge at home!
—Brian Grupe, 5/1/12

Gave well-received presentations to a total of 550 students at Eastern Regional High School (handed out 400 booklets). Many said they are going veg or changing their diet in a positive way. Awesome day of outreach.
—Aaron Ross, 5/14/12

At Corvallis High School, I continue to notice how the interest in this issue is growing. There wasn’t a single booklet tossed on the ground. It was great to watch kids reading the booklets as they waited for the bus. A number wanted Guides, and others came over and asked me for booklets.
—Nettie Schwager, 5/8/12

My first two vacation days in Ohio found me at Wright State University and Ohio University; reached nearly 1,000 students at each school. Good reception, especially at WSU, where I met over 20 vegetarians / vegans.
—Joe Espinosa, 5/16/12

Very high acceptance rate, very low throw-down rate at Northwood High School. It felt great to be leafleting, even if just for a little bit each day. We always learn a lot and display the urgency of this work by getting out and interacting with real flesh and blood humans.
—Jon Camp, 5/25/12

Gill Gillono leafleting U of Chicago
Leslie snapped this pic of Gill Gillono handing out Compassionate Choices at the University of Chicago.

I was thrilled to work with Tina and Gill [right] for the first time to leaflet the University of Chicago. Some students said they were discussing the treatment of animals vs. humans in their ethics class. A pre-med student said he is going vegan. We also heard from many vegans and vegetarians.
—Leslie Patterson, 5/23/12

Tons of great exchanges at my alma mater, the University of North Carolina, Charlotte! Ran into a couple of former professors who gladly took literature. Talked to another five professors who were thrilled to get info on vegetarianism, as well as a former coworker of mine from my days with the recycling dept. who wanted one of everything I had. A vegetarian business professor thought it was so cool that I was vegan and thanked me for making a difference. Several other students stopped to talk about changing their diets and found it inspiring that I went vegan my senior year at this very university.
—Anon, 4/27/12

Despite the heavy rain, Lisa and I had an amazing experience with the students of Sheepshead Bay High School. I also talked with one teacher until she was convinced and asked for another leaflet to put in her office. The principal of the school came up to Lisa and said, “Now that’s determination. May I have one?” Whoooo! Awesome morning – and then we went on to reach almost 1,500 students at Kingsborough Community College!
—Katie Pryor, 5/9/12

From our online Guide request form:

We picked up your booklet in a restaurant. We have been on a plant-based diet for 3 years but recently we’ve been slipping back. I read this pamphlet and sat down and sobbed. This has restored my conviction to go back to our 100% vegan diet. My heart is breaking over how cruel we humans can be.
—ST

Emily and Melissa at Las Cruces Warped Tour stop
John Oberg reports from the Warped Tour’s stop in Las Cruces, NM: “Emily (left) went vegetarian a year ago to the day as a result of getting a leaflet from us last year at Warped! Her friend Melissa was really interested after Emily talked about it, and said she would read it.”

I visited Warped Tour for the first time and I was walking around to different venues and saw your booklet to stop animal cruelty, and I wanted to be a part of it.
—AB

I went to Warped Tour 2012 this weekend, and I’ve decided to become a full vegan! I think your Guide will help me out as a beginner, and show my family why I’m doing this.
—RD

I was at Warped Tour and someone handed me one [of your booklets] and I read about it and now I’m working on being a vegan!
—MH

Warped Tour 2011 handed out your booklets and it really moved me, so I thought about it for a bit and I’m finally choosing a vegan diet.
—ST

Because of your booklet, my family and I will not eat meat. Would like to know how to go about getting booklets to hand out.
—MM

At the Warped Tour, I realized how bad the animals are treated. I didn’t want to be a part of it because it’s wrong, because animals suffer so much every day.
—RT

 

Salt Lake City crew
Here are the amazing activists who kicked off this summer’s Warped Tour outreach in Salt Lake City!
From left to right: Dave Coman-Hidy, Stewart Thorpe, Autumn Wagner, Ashley Rackl, Jake Evans, John Oberg, Beau Broughton, Jeni Haines, Lisa Hines, Eva Kalea, T, and (seated in center) Miguel Marron.
Pomona concertgoers reading
Above: Concertgoers are engrossed in our booklets at the Pomona Warped Tour stop. Below: Lorena Mucke sends this pic of her son Christopher leafleting the Atlanta stop.
Christopher Mucke leafleting Atlanta stop

The first date of this year’s Warped Tour was an absolute success. We not only crushed the previous record by reaching 9,000, we did it with some of the best teamwork ever. Dave, T, and I were pleased to have four volunteers – Stewart, Jake, Autumn, and Ashley. The highlight was being joined by Jeni and the FARM team – Lisa, Eva, Beau, and Miguel. So happy with how the day turned out!
—John Oberg, 6/16/12

Oh my! EXCELLENT well-solar-powered machine we were tonight at the Pomona Warped stop. WHOA! Yvonne & Stewart: two of the world’s greatest cogs in the wheel of success. Recon and restock have met their masters. Poetic…we wanted for nothing. What a crew! We RAN OUT of booklets – reached a huge record of 13,275!
—Nikki Benoit, 6/22/12

Incredible day of outreach at the Virginia Beach Warped stop! Vic, Jeni, The Humane League (Sally, Nathan, Lesley) and I reached 7,500 of the most ideal demographic imaginable.
—Jon Camp, 7/25/12

Anu and I reached a steady stream of kids leaving the Auburn, WA Warped stop. Receptive and friendly crowd, and high acceptance / low discard rate.
—Kevin Gallagher, 8/4/12

Fantastic at the Atlanta and Orlando Warped stops! 7,000 and 7,700 reached, respectively. We were fortunate to have the lovely Lorena, humane educator extraordinaire, with us and she brought her too-awesome-to-handle son Chris [right], ten years old, who stole the hearts of all the ladies and didn’t leave anything for the rest of us. Also, having the FARM crew help us at so many stops has been such a blessing.
—Nathan Shin, 7/28/12

New veggie at Portland Warped stop

Jessica, Chelsea, Brandon, Bill, and I had a great time at the Portland Warped stop, reaching thousands of young people. A woman [right] told me she and her teenage daughter had been handed a booklet at the Orlando Warped stop, and neither she nor her daughter has eaten meat since.
—Cobie deLespinasse, 8/5/12

Jill, Peggy, and I reached over 850 people at the Strawberry Festival. It was Jill’s first time leafleting, and she says she’ll do it again. It was great to see people huddled together reading the booklet [below, left]. I also met Lexi [below, right], who has been veg since getting a VO booklet at Warped Tour last year.
—Barbara Bear, 5/26/12

High school students reading booklet Lexi, veg since Warped Tour 2011

Not only was the Black Keys concert prime leafleting to an ideal audience, this was also the first leafleting experience for two new leafleters. They were both natural born leafleters, and reached 1,000 more people!
—Aaron Ross, 5/18/12

Ottawa Animal Defense League leafleting Canada Day

Today some of us here in Ottawa celebrated the birth of our country with some outreach. There was an afternoon concert at Parliament Hill, and we reached over 1,400 people with Compassionate Choices!
—Ali Pester (right, center), 7/2/12

Gunita, Vicente, and I didn’t find the most receptive crowd at the local Mayhem Tour stop, but we reached many people, and got a lot of positive feedback. A number of people said they had been thinking about going veg, and over a dozen took the time to tell us they’re already veg.
—Brian Grupe, 7/1/12

SLC concertgoer, veg since Warped Tour 2011
While leafleting the Warped Tour’s Salt Lake City stop, Jeni Haines met this concertgoer – a vegetarian since receiving a Vegan Outreach booklet at last year’s Warped show!

Very hot, but it was wonderful working with the crew last night! Diana, Jovan, Sydney, William, and I reached over 500 at the free concert at Millennium Park. Several different folk said they got the booklet at the Pitchfork Festival. One exchange: Young guy: “Well, at this point ecological collapse is inevitable so what does it matter, we are all going to die.” Me: “That may be, but in the meantime we can prevent a lot of suffering.” Guy: “That is absolutely true, I can’t refute that!”
—Leslie Patterson, 7/17/12

Lisa and I had a great time leafleting the Bamboozle Music Fest with the Warped Tour booklets. (Thank you, Vegan Outreach, for making such cool leaflets to hand out at concerts! They are amazingly effective and really cool.) Fairly high take rate and really good interactions. It was an amazing adventure.
—Katie Pryor, 5/19/12

 

SUNY Cortland student
John snapped this pic of a SUNY Cortland student reading the Even If You Like Meat that Jon handed her.

Sen and I reached nearly 800 students yesterday at Creighton University, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and Omaha Central High. Met a number of vegetarians and vegans. One guy came back after getting a booklet, held up his lunch container, and said, “I got pasta!”
     Today at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we reached over 1,100 students, and a professor stopped by to give us vegan cupcakes she had made for the last day of her class!
—Fred Tyler, 4/23/12

Grossmont College was awesome: soooo many sparks flew with soooo many people who stopped to chat – an environmental engineer major, a to-be law student, etc. Another student is doing a presentation on this topic, so I gave him a Guide and Christian Vegetarian Association booklet as additional resources. Bumped into a most dreamy being who, obviously, is a life coach, beaming with positive juju and wisdom. Stopped short with his booklet asking for recipes cuz he’s veg. Moments later, numerous students came up to say hi to him, inquire about training, etc. He advised everyone to read the booklet and know what’s going on, think about how toxic it is to consume this violence.
—Nikki Benoit, 4/26/12

Jon and I reached over 1,600 students at SUNY Cortland. One girl was really inspired and wants to get active back in her native France. I asked three girls in a group if they were offered a booklet yet. They all said they had been and that they had all just had salads for lunch. Two young men ran away from me screaming, “I don’t wanna eat meat no more!” I replied, “Here, take this (Guide) then! It has vegetarian recipes and stuff.” They each took one. I asked if they are no longer eating meat because of the booklet, and I got a resounding “YES!”
—John Oberg, 4/30/12

John and I set a new record at SUNY Binghamton – over 3,100 students. A number of comments showing support: “I read this and it made me really upset.” “I appreciate the work you’re doing” (heard that several times). “It’s f’ed up, man.” “That makes me want to be a vegetarian.” “This booklet just changed my life!”
     A vegetarian stopped by to tell me how much she liked the approach in the Even If You Like Meat booklet. She said it was “looking for solutions” rather than just telling people what we believe. I’ve always liked that about VO’s approach – it’s solution-minded.
—Jon Camp, 5/3/12

Will Peji and Karen James
Will Peji and Karen James get Warped Tour Why Vegan? booklets into the hands of NYC concertgoers.

While leafleting the University of Montana Techical College, I leafleted a couple of kids at the high school next door. One of them was veg and very excited to meet another veggie. I love that.
     Two days at the University of Montana-Missoula were great. I met more vegans and vegetarians than I have in the least few weeks combined, and many of them remembered me from my last visit. One of them credited me with her move to vegan, which was awesome. One guy promised he would cut his meat intake in half and I have hopes that he will take the plunge into veg shortly thereafter.
     I opted to try the veggie burger at the food truck on campus and asked how many veggie burgers they sell. They said way more than they ever thought. One of them told me about working a gun show in southern Montana and almost not bringing any, only to have it be about 10% of their sales that day. That made me smile for an hour straight.
—Caleb Wheeldon, 4/26/12

Excellent acceptance rate at Plymouth State, where I reached 754 students. I met a student who said she went veg because of a booklet. She mentioned that she had ordered a Guide at the time, and the information was all helpful.
     At the University of New Hampshire, I gave an AML to a veg student who is passionate about the issues but admitted having a hard time talking to people about them.
—Lana Smithson, 4/27/12

Hulya Johnson and David Coman-Hidy
Hulya Johnson and David Coman-Hidy provide a voice for the animals at the Warped Tour’s Denver stop.

While leafleting Manhattan Center for Science and Math, met a young Hispanic mother who said she and her daughter were vegetarian – they got a Guide for Jack’s health info. Met an African American teacher from another smaller school who asked for multiple copies for her students.
—Casey, 4/30/12

Pretty good reception at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. One student said there was a campus group but they did not do much and said she would like to get involved; I gave her more info on VO. One student told me proudly he had been veg for a year and a half. Overheard another student tell her friend after he took a leaflet, “See? You should be vegetarian like me!” Another came back to ask for a couple more leaflets since they were discussing it in their class.
—Leslie Patterson, 5/1/12

Big day of outreach at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State. Sue, Rich, Kevin, Helen, Greg, and I reached over 3,100 students. One girl was deeply affected by these issues and not only is going veg but will also volunteer – she was really into it. Another woman had been veg and said she wanted to go back. Several others mentioned being affected by the booklet.
—Vic Sjodin, 4/30/12

Ventura concertgoers
Taylor sends along this pic of concertgoers reading our Warped Tour booklets in Ventura, CA.

At Hofstra University, one guy stopped to talk and told me he was starting a vegetarian group on campus. He is interested in leafleting, so I directed him to VO. He said he was from Brazil, and went veg after receiving a Compassionate Choices there! Took his email. Good thing I did, because I got the emails of three additional students interested in getting active!
—Karen James, 5/2/12

Too many good conversations to relate from Georgia Southern University! One woman said she’s definitely going to go veg after a short conversation; two women said they couldn’t eat meat anymore after reading the Compassionate Choices. Four more people on different occasions told me that they read the entire booklet and wanted more info.
—Jeff Boghosian, 4/23/12

At Lane Community College, a young woman said she has not eaten meat in three months because of a booklet. Nettie spoke with a rabbi who invited us to speak at his synagogue. Several people today refused booklets saying they liked meat. I used Brian’s line: “Do you think one night a week you could eat a vegetarian dinner?” With one person it worked, and he left with a Guide.
—Cobie deLespinasse, 4/30/12

Chicago concertgoer
Mikael Nielsen caught this Chicago Warped fan riveted to his booklet.

Leslie, Brian, and I met tons of vegans and vegetarians at Mills College. I ran into two people who told me they had significantly changed their diet since my visit last semester; always encouraging to hear that. Quite a few people commented about receiving the literature in the past and how powerful the information is.
     On a side note, I got an awesome message from a friend of mine. I met him and his 12-year-old vegetarian son at a veg meetup event that was set up while I was visiting Chico, CA a few weeks ago. Here it is:
     “Hey Brian, it was good to see you at Berkeley Vegan Earth Day. Thanks for being a positive influence on Ben. Meeting you at dinner in Chico was a turning point for him. I think you were the first cool young vegan GUY to acknowledge his journey. He thought it was cool to see you at BVED too and as we left he announced to me he was transitioning to full vegan and he wants to go to more vegan events.”
—Brian Grupe, 4/26/12

 

Robert Kenner Audience member
Robert Kenner, producer/director of Food, Inc., and one of his audience members with their copies of Even If You Like Meat.

Robert Kenner was lecturing at the University of Maine last week, and I leafleted the huge incoming crowd so people had something to read while waiting and something to take away. After the lecture, I spoke to him briefly and gave him a leaflet. He thanked me for my work and wished me luck on raising awareness of the issues.
     Leafleting earlier in the day also went well. A member of the school’s animal rights group joined me; it was her first time leafleting and she said it was a positive experience. One student told me that her friend got a leaflet here a couple years ago and it “changed her life” – she has been veg ever since.
     Reached another 600 people today at Keene State. One young man said, “I’ve been slowly stopping my addiction to meat. I appreciate this info.” A vegan professor invited me to speak to her two classes. I did, and almost all of the students accepted leaflets. That was really great!
—Lana Smithson, 4/24/12

Sarah De Munck
Sarah De Munck (above) and Danielle Legg (below) provide a voice for the animals at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Danielle Legg

John took SUNY Brockport with Tara today; Sarah, Rosemary, and Danielle joined me at Rochester Institute of Technology – new records at both schools!
     After reading the booklet, one guy told John, “I feel horrible.” John replied, “The good thing about feeling horrible is that you can do something about it,” while giving him a Guide. The guy thanked him.
     Sarah reported, “Shortly before I left, I handed a guy a leaflet and he stopped to talk to me. He said that he went vegetarian after receiving a leaflet last year! He wants to go vegan.”
—Jon Camp, 4/20/12

Perfect weather and receptive crowd at Santa Barbara’s Earth Day, where Peggy and I were joined by Robert, and we reached over 1,200 people. I gave a leaflet to Das Williams, a California State Assembly member, who told me he will be going veg next week for COK’s veg week. Woo-hoo! I told him a senator on the East Coast took the veg pledge for a week and ended up staying veg. Offered him a Guide, which he happily accepted to help him get started on this veg thing. I watched as a mom, dad and young son (10ish) got a leaflet and the dad proceeded to the nearest recycling bin to toss it in. The son was trying to grab it from him and the mother said, “If he wants to look at it, let him.” So the dad gave in, the son perused the first few pages, then walked up and placed the leaflet in his dad’s bag, presumably to look into it further later. Yay, mom! And yay kid for caring!
—Barbara Bear, 4/21/12

Sen and I reached over 1,200 students at Iowa State University. Many people thanked us for being there. One guy said, “I’ve been to one of those Iowa Select pig farms. They’re gross. They’re no good.”
—Fred Tyler, 4/19/12

XU students
Jane Smiley sends this photo of Xavier University students reading Compassionate Choices.

Another good day at Xavier University – students very receptive. For example, two women enthusiastically accepted the Compassionate Choices, and one asked, “Does this have recipes?” “Well, if you’d like recipes, I’ll give you these,” and I handed them Guides. The other woman: “Vegan recipes! Great!”
—Jane Smiley, 4/20/12

Ben and I reached over 10,000 students on our tour from Boston to Michigan. In Detroit, Ben was harassed by a student whose father owns a huge egg farm where the hens are kept in battery cages. He then found me for the same tongue-lashing. After going through the booklet with him, showing him the sources, and appealing to his reason, this guy shook my hand, apologized, and said, “Wow, I guess I have some research to do.” He then went to find Ben, shake his hand, and apologize!
     At Wayne State, a forty-something dude told me the last time VO leafleted, he gathered up booklets and mailed them to family members!
—David Coman-Hidy, 4/21/12

Reached 1,400 at UC San Diego. Bumped into a veg convert from a couple years ago, she’s doin’ great still, and her ’rents have cut back their meat intake, too! Ahhh the power of one!
—Nikki Benoit, 4/25/12

Matt Findlay
Matt Findlay reaches out to concertgoers at the Buffalo Warped Tour stop.

We reached over 1,000 people at the Central Florida Earth Day festival. Four different groups of folks told us they were thrilled to have gotten the booklet previously at the Jane Goodall event and wanted more information, so we gave them Guides. Several good conversations that no doubt have spawned a lot of new vegetarians.
—Jeff Boghosian, 4/21/12

Today, Victoria and I reached 2,700 students at the University of Kentucky, 166 at Bluegrass Community College, and 280 at Transylvania U. Nice to see people reading the booklet; many great interactions. One girl got a booklet at UK, read for several minutes. Then we spoke: Boom! New vegan!
—Vic Sjodin, 4/25/12

Star leafleter Brittany joined me at the University of Miami’s main campus. A number of interesting conversations. For example, a faculty member who had gotten a leaflet earlier in the morning returned telling me how she and her husband had tried becoming vegetarian, but stopped because of the difficulty in finding satisfying and interesting food choices. After talking her through my own vegan meal discoveries and giving her a Guide plus an HSUS Meat-Free Meals, she said she was going to give it another try.
—Yuri Mitzkewich, 4/20/12

Good leafleting at Oregon State, where I quickly reached nearly 200 students. It was great to see people sitting around reading the booklets. Several lengthy conversations, too. I notice that more and more people are interested in this issue. It is really getting on the radar.
—Nettie Schwager, 4/24/12

 

JHS vegetarian
Casey reports that this Jamaica High School student went veg on the spot after getting a Compassionate Choices from Lisa Hines and Katie Pryor in April!

We almost doubled the old record at Miami-Dade College, Kendall – over 1,750 students reached! A number of them will definitely be pursuing a vegetarian diet or cutting their animal product consumption. For example, after she vowed to go veg, I spoke with one student about simple ways to veganize her Cuban-based diet. An administrator came out and said they’ve seen these all over campus and requested one of each brochure for herself and a coworker. Yuri met two separate people who said they are going veg.
     Despite the rain, we reached nearly 10% of the population of Edward Waters College, a historically black school. Great conversations; also had a professor enthusiastically take additional Compassionate Choices and Guides for other faculty members.
     The Jane Goodall speech and book signing at Rollins College was some of the best leafleting we’ve done! Because Jane had stressed taking action a bazillion times and talked about how we must change our attitude toward animals, folks loved the booklets!
—Jeff Boghosian, 4/19/12

Fabulous day at Eastern Connecticut State! First student I met was wearing a Stop Factory Farming T-shirt, and I knew my day would be great! One student returned to tell me that she turned vegetarian after receiving a Compassionate Choices from me last semester! She wanted to now go vegan, after getting an Even If You Like Meat from me today, which she will give to a friend. Gave her a Guide. Another student came back to me after reading Even If, and said she has wanted to try vegan eating, but did not know where to begin. We exchanged emails and I will support her with her transition! SCORE! Another student who was already vegan took a Guide for herself, and an Even If, which she said she was going to post to her boyfriend’s refrigerator!
—Karen James, 4/18/12

Sen Holiday
John Oberg sends this photo of Sen Holiday leafleting the Minneapolis Warped Tour stop.

Great reception at Lake Superior College and the University of Wisconsin, Superior. One woman said, “I just wanted to let you know. I got one of those booklets last year. I’ve been vegetarian ever since.” She hadn’t ordered a Guide so was happy to get one. The exact same thing then happened at the University of Minnesota, Duluth!
     At the University of Northern Iowa, I ran into a past couchsurfing host. He said, “I’m hardly eating meat anymore and I’ve got a few other friends on that kick as well.” I hadn’t given him a Guide yet and he was happy to get one.
     Today at the University of Iowa, Sen overheard a student telling their friend, “This is why I’m vegetarian” as they held up the leaflet. A woman told me, “Last time I got this I went vegetarian for a while. I remember I got that and the next day I stopped eating meat.” Maybe this time it will stick.
—Fred Tyler, 4/18/12

Was able to reach 175 students in just 35 minutes at Agnes Scott College. A number stopped to wait for me to hand them a booklet! The most eye-opening comment came from one girl who looked at the cover with the chickens and said, “Oh, I heard that this is where our chicken nuggets come from!” One security officer was at first abrasive toward me, but by the end, he said he’d keep the booklet, that his “wife is interested in this stuff and would like to read it.”
—Laura Adkins, 4/19/12

Unny Nambudiripad
Michelle Rosas snapped this pic of Unny handing out Compassionate Choices at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

CAA’s leafleting week continues! Mary and Natasha, both first-time leafleters, were a bit nervous going to Anoka Ramsey Community College, but reported they’re “sooooo excited because we were surprised at the responses.” And: “One guy ran up to me begging for info re: the Veg Fest in July. Another kid came up to me and asked me if he could have a couple for his class project.”
—Unny Nambudiripad, 4/18/12

Lisa and I reached nearly 900 students at Hudson Community College. It was an amazing experience. Lisa spoke with three different people who were interested in going veg. In fact, one person said that they had been thinking about it for a while now and just her being there seemed to be “fate” to go vegan. Simply amazing stuff! I spoke with a couple of individuals who were curious about what I ate, etc. We equipped the curious with Guides and had a lot of fun with it.
—Katie Pryor, 4/18/12

John and I reached over 1,700 students at SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Oneonta (where we set a huge new record), and Hartwick College. I ran into a young woman who got a booklet when Vic was last in town and has been almost exclusively vegetarian since. John ran into Curran [below], who said getting the booklet today turned her into a vegetarian.
—Jon Camp, 4/18/12

Curran

Malcolm X is always super receptive. Danyelle talked with one woman who spoke about the secrecy behind our food industry and the problems that evolve from this. I had a student who, after looking over the booklet, came back and asked how she could get involved with volunteering. A teacher approached me after receiving a booklet, asking for several for her office to distribute. Another student told me he knew a friend who worked on a factory farm and would explain how devastating the industry is, reinforcing what a harmful environment it is for everyone involved.
—Krystina Tucci, 4/18/12

So many interesting things always happen at Humboldt State, and today was the same. A guy came back to tell me he was positive he had received the brochure in Barcelona, Spain (in Spanish, of course). A young lady came back and said, “I checked this out, it’s really going to help with a speech I’m giving.” Then, I met Lauren, who went veg after getting an Even If from me at Canada College, over 300 miles south. We were both overjoyed to meet each other; it was a great moment. She says she tells everyone about the booklet.
—Brian Grupe, 4/17/12

 

Mikael Nielsen

What an absolutely stunning day of outreach – 14,000 individuals were reached in Chicago. With a team of some of the most talented individuals around – Mikael [right], Elizabeth, Riley, Kevin, Pamela, Jennifer, Nathan, Jennifer, Vic, Kenny, Joe, Leslie, Sacha, and Tyler the security guard! – we were able to set an all-time record! ’Twas no easy task – with five different exits and an attendance of at least 20,000, we had to be on our A game for many hours. Now on to Minneapolis!
—John Oberg, 7/7/12

Wow! What a day at Manchester Community College. I met many vegetarians and vegans. After reading the Compassionate Choices, one student turned vegetarian on the spot. Another student wants help going vegan, but lives at home and has run-ins with her parents; we exchanged emails. Another guy said he would work on going vegan with his mom! Met several others who had been vegetarian or vegan, but went back to eating meat; they will work again on going veg after our discussions. The vice president of student government wants to have me come back next semester to speak. Met another student who wants to go vegan and wants to leaflet next time I come back. I gave her a stack of Even If You Like Meat booklets to give out to her friends and on campus. She will contact VO, too! The leafleting gods were with me today! I am psyched!
—Karen James, 4/16/12

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students
John Oberg snapped this photo of members of the sustainability club at RPI.

Anon and I had a fabulous day of outreach at Santa Fe College, where we reached over 1,100 polite students (a record) who gave us tons of thank yous. Heard from two students who are going to eliminate consumption of land animals and another three who are now on their way to going vegetarian. They loved the Guide. One student said she found a brochure on a desk and read it through. She couldn’t eat the ham sandwich she brought for lunch, and said she was likely going vegetarian. I encouraged her and gave her a Guide. Another guy came over asking if that happens to all of the chickens we eat; we had a nice conversation. Afterward, we dined on a scrumptious $4 lunch (they actually have a deal where your first time is free), compliments of Hare Krishnas at Santa Fe College. (They are also on the University of Florida and Florida State University campuses every day, and most of the food is vegan.)
—Jeff Boghosian, 4/9/12

Victoria, Mara, and I reached over 1,100 students at Austin Peay University and Tennessee State, although the outreach transcends just numbers. Gave a talk at Austin Peay – very powerful, eyes glued, many questions. One woman stated she wanted to go vegan afterwards; I feel a few more will come into their own as awesome people. Met one dude at Austin Peay who went vegan as a result of a leaflet last semester. At State, Mara spoke to a group of four students for a very long time; they said they wanted to go veg. Victoria met two tall athletes who went veg recently. I offered leaflets to a group of four students who initially said no; we had a long bro down and then one stated he wanted to go veg and two others that they would eat less meat, kind of amazed me. Very awesome interaction.
—Vic Sjodin, 4/12/12

JB and I visited Raleigh for a long weekend, kicking it off with leafleting NC State. The reception was outstanding! We reached 1,000 students, giving the vegetarians and vegans we met Guides.
—Darina Smith, 4/12/12

Neil Benoit

I finally got to meet the legendary Nikki on this great day of leafleting North Shore Community College. Nikki’s dad [right] was kind enough to join us, too! I handed a leaflet to a 75+ aged woman. She turned around 20 feet away, walked back to me, and went on to explain that she has a large family who are all going vegetarian because they recently learned about factory farming. She thanked me many times and took a dozen leaflets to give to her family members. She came back later in the afternoon with a friend to make sure that she got a leaflet, too! Later, an environmental science teacher took a leaflet and gave me his card so that I can speak to all of his classes next semester!
—David Coman-Hidy, 4/13/12

Jeanie’s first time leafleting today. As I was reaching down to pull out my bundles from my tote, Jeanie was already handing out leaflets. She was lively and did really great off on her own. At one point, she was talking with a Christian, and whipped out the Christian Vegetarian Association booklets. The woman got very excited; Jeanie asked her if she would want to do outreach. She was willing. So looks like that encounter will yield good things.
—Nettie Schwager, 4/17/12

Laura, who has been housing and feeding us, joined John and me at SUNY Albany, and her cooking gave us the energy to reach over 3,200 students – the biggest day of college outreach ever in New York!
     One young woman told Laura that she got a VO booklet on campus three years ago and has been veg since. A number of people told us they were “with us.” A guy told me he had just scheduled a meeting with dining services to get more veg options on campus, while another woman asked me how she could help get more veg options on campus (fortunately, I got email addresses for both and will put them in touch). A professor let John know that her students are reading Eating Animals (which explained why I saw someone with a copy of that book in her hand) and asked us to come speak to her class sometime.
—Jon Camp, 4/17/12

Raquelle
Nikki met Raquelle at Cal State Northridge – she’s been veg since receiving a VO booklet at LA’s Artwalk a year ago!

I spoke at the Boulder (and Beyond) vegan meetup. The talk went over well, and the organizer (the amazing Lisa Shapiro) told me that two people will be starting Meatless Mondays as a result.
     I focussed my talk on why it is so important for people to have patience with one another, especially people who are looking into eliminating meat from their diets, and to celebrate people for making better choices every step of the way. I also encouraged people to look at Facebook and other online advocacy as exactly the same as doing it in person, and to never write anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
     My experience has been that some “activists” seem to take pleasure in being horrible to others, activists and the public alike (even to people they could be winning over for the animals). Because it saddens me to see activists bickering about who is the most abolitionist (or whatever the right terms are these days), or who has the best tactics, or anything at all, I have resigned myself to positively encouraging anyone who is trying to help animals, or keeping my mouth (and typing fingers) shut, and I joyfully invite others to do the same if they feel like me. (Everyone else can attack me on FB :-)
     As I have said many times, if animal people are attacking each other, they are doing the meat industry’s job for them, and the animals are the big losers.
—Caleb Wheeldon, 4/14/12

 

Rutgers student
John Oberg snapped this pic of a Rutgers student engrossed in Even If You Like Meat.

John and I obliterated every previous Rutgers record – 3,376 students reached with Even If You Like Meat or Compassionate Choices, and 43 Guides handed out! We had so many positive interactions and conversations!
     We’re just four days into the tour and have already given out just shy of 8,000 booklets. It’s nice to know that if there is a will to stand out for hours on end, there are donors out there who provide the funds to make sure we have the booklets to do so. We can’t thank you enough!
—Jon Camp, 4/12/12

Record day at Florida Gulf Coast University, where we reached almost 1,000 students! Great interactions with people wanting to make changes. Lots of folks will no doubt be going vegetarian after today, with an unbelievable number of administration and faculty showing interest in going veg or eating more vegetarian / vegan foods. Two administrators (on separate occasions) came out of the student services office and asked for Guides because their coworkers had received one. Met a professor who will be a terrific contact. Apparently every student is required to take a colloquium class where they discuss ways to improve the world, and factory farming is covered!
—Jeff Boghosian, 4/4/12

Reached over 1,000 students during our great outreach at Yale today. Two separate groups of friends pledged to support each other; gave them all a Guide. Two guys were so horrified by what they saw, they were almost going to get sick. One guy had to close his eyes and stay still for a few minutes. His mother is vegan for 30 years, and now he understands. He and his friend pledged to start by cutting animal products out of their meals asap!
—Karen James, 4/6/12

Victoria Randall
Vic sends this photo of Victoria Randall at Sam Houston State University, noting that the student in the background sat reading the booklet cover-to-cover.

Huge day at the University of Memphis. Mara joined me and Victoria, and Kevin stopped by briefly, and we set a new record: 1,750 students! Watched students read cover-to-cover and talked to others very interested in going veg.
     Previously, we stayed with two members of the all-vegan punk band Die Young. They have toured internationally all over Russia, Europe, South and Latin America and the US and always provide VO lit at the shows. It was really nice to connect with these awesome folks.
—Vic Sjodin, 4/9/12

Elizabeth and I found a good crowd at Bogart’s tonite. One woman took a leaflet from me, then handed it right back saying, “Don’t make me cry…I keep a lot of animals, I’m OK.” She came back a few minutes later and asked for one saying, “I need to read this.” Then, a young lady came back to us with a few questions. She was definitely ready to make the jump because of the animal cruelty issue but was worried about details. After talking a bit, she expressed interest in doing outreach!
—Kevin O’Connor, 4/13/12

The Yamhill Valley branch of Chemeketa Community College was much smaller than I thought, but things are changing: I went to a small school in a small town and still met a vegetarian who’s trying to go vegan, multiple vegetarians, multiple people who made supportive comments like referring to factory farming as “horrible,” and a guy who was totally engrossed in reading the booklet while he walked around. So I gave out only 28 Even If You Like Meat booklets, but 7 Guides.
—Cobie deLespinasse, 4/16/12

Shasta College student
Brian reports that this Shasta College student’s cut down on eating meat to once a week, if at all, since receiving a booklet from him at Shasta High School three years ago!

Jeannie and I had an epic day at Chico State. Talked to one woman who said she had been thinking about going veg all year and she thinks the booklet is just what she needs to push her over the edge. Also met another gal who thinks she wants to move to vegan.
     Very interesting day at Shasta College and Shasta High School. First, a woman told me I needed to re-think my strategy instead of attacking people who couldn’t afford food otherwise. It was more of a hit-and-run statement and I didn’t engage; but she approached me again later and we talked, and turns out she actually wants to move more towards veganism. I explained I didn’t want to “punish” lower-income people who were barely getting by as it is; that’s why I focused on college students who are generally in a position to feed themselves relatively decently. I also talked about how a mostly bulk-food vegan diet (dried beans, rice, lentils, soups) could provide adequate calories and nutrition on a tight budget, but we promote the faux meat and dairy alternatives because people like to imitate what they are used to. We talked about quite a bit more and she left with a smile on her face and a Guide. Problem solved!
—Brian Grupe, 4/13/12

 

Joe Espinosa
Joe Espinosa provides a voice for the animals at DePaul University.

At the University of Hartford, I met numerous vegetarians and a dozen vegans! Wonderful reception and conversations. Several teachers stopped to say that they were discussing CAFO’s in class, and were happy that I was there. A few adults said they were giving the information to their son or niece, or younger family member!
     Many students had not seen the booklet before, and were upset to see that this abuse happens…saying they would cut back on eating animals as a start toward ending the cruelty.
     For example, one student said she had been thinking about going vegetarian for a while. I told her that this was divine intervention, and gave her a Guide. She then said she would go vegetarian!
     My day was absolutely rewarded with a student who told me that he went vegan four years ago as a result of being handed an Even If You Like Meat on campus! He took more booklets for friends.
—Team Vegan member Karen James, 4/4/12

Lots of interested folks and high acceptance rate at Hillsborough Community College, with several people on their way to going veg! Security was super nice and one guard said that what I was doing was beautiful and wanted info on vegetarian eating, as did another guard! Too many other positive experiences to report, but I did leaflet and Guide a woman who had received a booklet at Scottsdale Community College this past fall. After a discussion, it turns out the booklet was from John Oberg – way to go, John!
—Team Vegan member Jeff Boghosian, 4/3/12

Absolutely freezing at Cleveland State, but I was rescued by Sarah, who was tabling! Leafleting at the table, I reached over 600 students. The table next to us was recruiting for the Marines, and the young Marine staffing the table is a vegan.
—Team Vegan member Leslie Patterson, 4/11/12

SUNY New Paltz student
John Oberg sends along this pic of a SUNY New Paltz student engrossed in Even If You Like Meat.

The first day of our tour took us to Richard Stockton College, where we had some very meaningful conversations, including with two young women who are now interested in going vegan. Also exchanged contact info with a young woman who is interested in getting active.
—Team Vegan members Jon Camp and
John Oberg, 4/9/12

Watched quite a few people reading through the booklets at Georgia State. One woman looked at me with a sad face like she was going to cry and scampered off before I could say anything. Another looked at the cover and exclaimed, “Oh yeah, I love animals. This is great!” A few more initially refused and then when they heard it was about helping animals, changed their mind and took one.
—Team Vegan member Laura Adkins, 4/10/12

Texas-sized week continued today at Texas State, where Victoria and I recruited Chad on the spot; together, we reached over 2,600 students! Met a lot of very intelligent, progressive and well-informed students who were concerned about animals. My favorite highlight was one girl who said she already got a booklet and asked why we were out here, to make people depressed? I walked back to her and said hello and we started talking; 15 minutes later, said she had been veg for 3 weeks but gave it up. Now, she’ll give it another go.
     Leaving campus, we took the garage elevator and I made small talk with a woman there; asked how her day was going. She ended up asking how our day was, and before you know it, “Oh, I was interested in veg for a while…” 10-minute pep talk and she said she wanted to go veg again; got a Guide. Never underestimate that parking-garage outreach.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 3/29/12

Fellow Team Vegan member Lisa and I had an overwhelmingly successful day at York College! Loads of vegetarians, to whom we gave Guides. Counting our high schools later in the day, we reached over 1,600 students!
—Team Vegan member Katie Pryor, 4/17/12

Many long conversations at Denver’s Auraria campus. Three people told me they plan to go vegan, and others told me they plan to go vegetarian. Given how many interested people stopped to talk (over 50), I am confident many others will be adjusting their diets as well.
—Team Vegan member Caleb Wheeldon, 4/5/12

TN veggie
Vic Sjodin reports from Murfreesboro, TN’s Tour de Fun: “Met an awesome girl who went veg after getting a leaflet at Belmont U a few years ago.”

Sen and I have met a lot of vegetarians and vegans on our tour, as well as having interesting conversations. For example, today at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, I talked to a dairy farmer who had a lot of thoughtful questions. She said she would probably never go vegan, but might cut back on her consumption of factory farmed products.
—Team Vegan member Fred Tyler, 4/9/12

After an amazing trip back East, UC Riverside raised the bar today for all the University of California campuses. Steve and I reached 2,287 students on this day of superb outreach. Met many vegetarians and people moved by the booklet, including Kayla who was blown away. She teared up and chin-quivered while referencing the baby piglet picture (gas bin). She’s done with meat.
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 4/17/12

Great start to the week at Cosumnes River College, where the students just seem to “get it” so much more than they did four years ago. I talked with no fewer than five people who had seriously been thinking about changing their diet. One woman commented it was absolutely perfect I happened to be there that day. I also met a nice vegetarian gal (working towards vegan) who said she has converted four of her friends so far. Impressive!
—Team Vegan member Brian Grupe, 4/9/12

Today, I gave a talk at Yes House, a residential treatment center for drug and alcohol addiction. The kids are between 14 and 18 years old. At the end of class I asked how many would eat fewer animals, and 8 of the 25 raised their hand.
     The best part is that Jeanie, the teacher, now wants to get active. She borrowed three DVDs and ordered The Animal Activist’s Handbook, and plans to leaflet. A great gift for me!
—Team Vegan member Nettie Schwager, 4/10/12

 

Josh
Team Vegan’s Caleb Wheeldon reports: “Josh (above) received VO’s Even If You Like Meat brochure 3 years ago, has been vegan since, and is excited to get active for animals. Nick Wallerstedt is my hero today. With his help, the Boise State campus was blanketed with more than 1,100 brochures, given out in just 5 hours!”

Victoria, Teresa, Travis, and I reached over 3,800 students at Pan American University. We saw a good example of VO’s ripple effect: One girl mentioned getting a leaflet last year from Jon and going vegan. She then got her friend to go vegan, and they continue to affect their family and others. From this one leaflet, many can go veg! Also met three different women who wanted to start a club; we were able to put them in contact.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 3/28/12

At Middlesex Community College, Kathryn and I set a new record (656), cheered on by many, “Yes, I want that!” and “I want to help animals.” Makes the day so great! Met an English teacher who stopped to say that she is showing Food, Inc. next week in class; gave her extra Even If You Like Meats and Guides for class. YES!
—Team Vegan member Karen James, 4/3/12

At Pikes Peak Community College, I had a nice chat with a group of three Hispanic guys who had seen VO’s booklets at Warped Tour. They knew all about the Warped Tour bands that are veg and vegan and were enthusiastic about our message. Hard to say if they will make any changes but I noticed that there were a few other students listening in to our conversation, and I love when that happens. One student seemed to be soaking it all in, so I made sure to give her a booklet before I moved on from that area. She was shy, but mentioned that she wants to go vegetarian full time. She made my day.
—Team Vegan member Caleb Wheeldon, 3/30/12

Reached nearly 600 students at the University of Akron until the icy rain got too heavy. And a sweet vegan girl was thrilled to find me there and thanked us for the work! A staff person told me that his daughter had received a booklet there previously and stopped eating meat as a result. He took a Guide. A few students stopped with questions so I practiced using the words “meat-free” instead of “vegetarian,” as recommended in a recent article.
—Team Vegan member Leslie Patterson, 4/10/12

Carolyn Mullin
Team Vegan’s Nikki Benoit sends along this photo of Carolyn Mullin providing a voice for the animals at UC Santa Barbara.

We reached over 2,100 Gators at the University of Florida. One woman said that receiving a booklet last year inspired her to go veg. Others pledged to go vegetarian today. A vegan stopped with an interest in getting involved. Several people refused our initial request only to turn around and take a brochure when they found out what it was for. Talked to an administrator who said she went vegetarian two years ago, and therefore loved the Guide. I asked what made her go veg and she said that so many people around her were either already veg or going veg; also, she worked in one of the animal ag departments at UF for eight years and was very bothered by what she saw.
—Team Vegan member Jeff Boghosian, 3/30/12

Sen and I found the students at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh quite enthusiastic today. One guy told Sen that they started doing Meatless Mondays because of the Even If You Like Meat. A different guy told me he’s been cutting out meat one day a week because of the booklet. He said, “What they do to these animals is horrible and we all can do something to help.” I offered him a Guide and he said he had been thinking about going veg two days a week. He said, “Why not? I can live off of vegetables.”
—Team Vegan member Fred Tyler, 3/29/12

Reached over 1,400 at USC, and again met tons of vegans! The cafeteria is upping their plant-based game; one of the chefs brought me a copy of today’s NY Times article about arsenic on chicken. A mom, here with her kid on a tour, walked back to me teary eyed after reading her booklet, telling me she’s happy to know “young people” are speaking out.
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 4/5/12

John Oberg

Biggest day of outreach in West Virginia ever, and the biggest day of college outreach we’ve yet been involved with. Nina, Joe, Tori, Whitney, Caty, and Brian joined us, and we reached over 4,800 students during this epic day at West Virginia U! Met tons of vegetarians and vegans, and heard from several people that they appreciated the “eat less meat” approach. Even came across a couple people who said the leaflet made them cry – definitely Guided them.
     Had a great conversation with one woman who was tabling for a Relay For Life event. She said her 14-year-old watched a video on farm animal cruelty and has toyed with veganism for the last year. After reading the VO booklet, she said she now knows why he wanted to go vegan and would encourage him. She even agreed to get her family to participate in Meatless Mondays, in exchange for John putting on bright red lipstick and kissing her poster board [above]. It was a good trade. Also, she was happy to hear about the eat-less-chicken approach as a means to reduce animal suffering, and was excited to receive a Guide.
—Team Vegan members John Oberg and Jon Camp, 4/3/12

 

Festivalgoers
Team Vegan member Linda Bower sends along this photo of two happy Why Vegan? recipients at a festival in Pinecrest, FL.

At the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Sen and I reached over 1,000 students. One girl said previously receiving the Even If You Like Meat booklet made her roommate go vegetarian. When I offered her a Guide, she said, “Wow! She’d love this!” A big guy on the wrestling team said, “I already got one. I found it very eye-opening.”
     One girl turned down a leaflet and said, “I got one of those last semester. It changed my life. I’m a vegetarian now.” She was excited to get a Guide.
—Team Vegan member Fred Tyler, 3/22/12

Rollins College is private and very wealthy. I met two people who recently turned vegan, one of them is bringing their family of four along too! And I met an ex-vegetarian who had problems with protein, so I gave her a Guide too. The faculty and staff were just as interested as the students.
     At Full Sail University, one student who received one said he has an assignment to do a documentary, so after getting the literature, he wants to do it on factory farming. We gave him our contact info.
—Team Vegan member Jeff Boghosian, 3/26/12

Took a vacation day to leaflet Kent State. One woman told me one of her friends went veg after getting a booklet in a previous semester. Also met a guy who said he just eats chicken and fish. We talked a bit about the treatment of chickens since he said he was concerned about suffering and karma.
—Team Vegan member Leslie Patterson, 4/9/12

Norwalk Community College was a good place for Susan to start! Nice conversations, and people interested in more information. At Housatonic Community College, one woman came back to say she is vegan and wanted more booklets to give to friends; she also got a Guide!
—Team Vegan member Karen James, 3/30/12

UAlbany student
Team Vegan’s John Oberg catches a UAlbany student engrossed in learning the truth.

Victoria and I had a monster day at South Texas College, where we reached over 2,000 students and ran out of Guides! One woman and two different men explicitly stated they wanted to go veg after reading the booklet; I’m sure many others made the same choice today. I felt sheer joy at the end of the day as the second to last woman we leafleted ended up having lots of questions and said she was going vegan. Just a fabulous day of outreach and I thank all the donors for making it possible.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 3/27/12

Lynn and I had loads of people line up for samples at Boulder’s arts and music show. We reached 250 people with booklets. Everyone we spoke to was very receptive to the vegan message – great outreach and seed-planting!
—Team Vegan member Lisa Shapiro, 4/8/12

Loads of highlights at Salt Lake City Community College, including a professor very moved by the booklet. The winner was easily Nicole, a student who went veg after getting a VO booklet last fall. She was super sweet and begged for some leaflets to hand out on her own. She plans to start leafleting with her friend on the campus, and I am so excited to work with her and intro her to some local veg awesomeness!
—Team Vegan member Caleb Wheeldon, 3/27/12

Gloria and I had a great day at Duke. One student said she was learning about this in class. Also spoke to a student who went vegan because of a leaflet he received last year!
—Team Vegan member Rob Gilbride, 4/4/12

Set a new record at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville – 1,965. One of the vegetarians I met said it was because of a booklet he received two years ago – congrats to Vic and Liev for handing out that booklet! At the University of Central Arkansas, one student returned after receiving the booklet to say that he read it and now could not eat meat anymore; I gave her a Guide too! At the University of Missouri, Columbia, another student said she went vegetarian after receiving a booklet six years ago.
—Team Vegan member Rick Hershey, 4/2/12

Katherine

So fortunate to have such great help from Emma and Casey today at UC Davis. So many people say, “Oh, I’m already vegan / vegetarian” at this school. Tons of ’em everywhere!!
—Team Vegan member Brian Grupe, 4/4/12

At UC Irvine, Suki, Trinity, and Malina stopped with their leaflets saying they can’t look at the pictures. Said they met a cute boy handing vegan booklets out at Diablo Valley College in northern California. I said, “Oh, it must’ve been Brian.” They squealed, “OMG, YOU KNOW HIM?” They were MORE than happy to split a stack and leaflet the campus with me!
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 4/4/12

Nina, Maria, Joe, John, and I reached over 3,000 students at the University of Pittsburgh! We had one young woman [right] say that the booklet broke her heart and that she is going veg. Another woman told us that she’s been veg since getting a booklet when Vic, Mara, and Nina visited her school in November. In addition to this, met lots of vegetarians, vegans, and people interested in the plight of farmed animals. A huge day. Vegan Outreach for the win!
—Team Vegan member Jon Camp, 4/2/12

 

Chuck Dishmon
Team Vegan’s Nikki Benoit sends these photos of Chuck Dishmon spreading compassion at CSULA (above) and Rabbit Heart providing a voice for the animals at the College of the Canyons (below).
Rabbit Heart

At Minnesota State University, Mankato, one guy turned down a leaflet saying, “That stuff is horrible, but I could never be a vegan.” When I told him that it was not all or nothing, he stopped in his tracks and said, “What do you mean? Tell me more.” After I explained, he said, “I can do that. I can eat less meat.” He said he was going to get the vegetarian burrito next time he went to Chipotle.
—Team Vegan member Fred Tyler, 3/21/12

After 14 years of leafleting, I set a new personal best today at Bowling Green State: over the course of 10.5 hours, I reached 1,800 students with Even If You Like Meat, and handed out 12 Guides as well.
     Had a nice chat with a hunter who stopped to get a booklet and express his genuine concern for the intense and prolonged suffering of animals used in modern farming. During a slow period, I had a discussion with someone who argued I should be working against abortion rather than for animals. I explained that I worked for animals due to the number who suffer, the degree of their suffering, and the rather whimsical reason they are made to suffer. Before I could point out that no one I knew had 35 abortions a year but many people I knew did sentence 35 chickens each year to brutal suffering and death for the pleasure of eating them, a professor walking past stopped to get a booklet and Guide, and exclaimed that going vegan had allowed him to lose 30 pounds and get off blood pressure and cholesterol medication, as well as being the morally decent thing to do. [Editor: see this also.]
—Team Vegan member Joe Espinosa, 3/22/12

Numerous appreciative and enthusiastic responses at Cal Poly Pomona, where I reached 1,750 new students. I love offering a booklet to a couple, having one say no, but the other takes it. Then all of a sudden, Mr. McNo is lookin’ at the booklet while Ms. McYes thumbs through it!
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 3/27/12

Sunsational day at the University of Southern Florida people were itching for our literature! Too many highlights to recount, but one that stood out was meeting a vegan who started taking college classes at 14, is graduating at 19, and going straight into a PhD program. She went vegetarian when she was 5 and vegan at 14 and is interested in a career in lab-grown meat. Another woman overheard our conversation and shared with us that she went vegetarian after watching a video on food that Whole Foods had employees watch so they are aware of where food comes from. She is now on the path to being vegan after talking with us. Several others committed to either going vegetarian or reducing their meat consumption, including a gentleman from Russia. Connected with the new president of the AR student group and received tons of thank yous and additional interest from high school parents who were touring the campus with their kids!
—Team Vegan member Jeff Boghosian, 3/23/12

Jovan Jimenez

Jovan [Jimenez] took an unpaid day to join me in leafleting Marquette University [right], where we reached over 1,100 students! Various people stopped with questions about what we were doing and what they could do about the horrors in the booklet, including one vegetarian who was interested in getting involved with activism (he got a Guide and an AML).
—Team Vegan member
Leslie Patterson, 3/23/12

Was surprised to reach so many people at Penn State Hazleton in a short amount of time. During both class changes, I had separate individuals come up to ask a bunch of good, sincere questions. I think I got through to one of these individuals. And I overheard a young woman say to one of her friends, not knowing I was around, “Did you get that brochure on animal cruelty? It’s so sad.” Her friend responded that it was sad.
—Team Vegan member Jon Camp, 3/23/12

Phenomenal interactions at Texas Southern University. I had a small audience interested in going veg and gave a quick speech and answered many questions; folks were really into it. One young black man was really into it and also very encouraging; he said he was gonna give being veg a try, and that his sister is vegan. A girl returned with a lot of questions, and was very open-minded. Another man mentioned getting an Even If You Like Meat from his Spanish professor in the past.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 3/22/12

Festgoers
Team Vegan member Elaine Vigneault snapped this picture of a couple reading Compassionate Choices at the annual Indie Music Fest in Las Vegas.

The local group had worked Weber State several times earlier this year, so I was able to ask some students what they thought about the booklet. Most people said things like, “It’s so sad” and “I wanted to stop eating meat!”
     Today was really fun at Utah Valley University! I had a really nice chat with a dudely dude named Steve who listened attentively and asked good questions about what I eat and told me how his family tries to eat free-range, etc. When I explained that free-range can be a scam, he said he always wondered just how much better it could be. Really nice guy, very genuine, and since it was early in the morning, it set a great tone for the day.
—Team Vegan member Caleb Wheeldon, 3/22/12

Fellow Team Vegan member Lisa and I got up early this morning to hit Bergen County Community College by 8:15am. It was a long commute for us both but arguably the most rewarding leafleting that we have had lately. We were able to reach over 1,600 students in just four hours! Very educational and amazing interactions. We had many people asking about how they could help. I met one woman who said, “Wow! I was just thinking of going vegan.” She, too, got a Guide. We met a girl who wanted to get involved more so I gave her a Guide and my info.
—Team Vegan member Katie Pryor, 3/22/12

Great day of leafleting at Appalachian State – I even got sunburned! Highlight was a group of students who now want to leaflet!
—Team Vegan member Rob Gilbride, 3/22/12

 

Lisa Hines
Team Vegan member Lisa Hines spreads sunshine!

What a day at Southern Maine Community College! A hunter came over to thank me for the information. He said he doesn’t buy any store-bought meat because he doesn’t agree with factory farming. He was very nice and wished me luck with my outreach. Later, another hunter (who called himself a “big-time” hunter) said that the information in the leaflet looked interesting. He politely asked for a 2nd leaflet to show to a friend. A man who looked like a faculty member walked by and said, “People ARE reading that!” A different man who also looked like a faculty member smiled and said, “Ah yes.” A girl said the leaflet was being discussed in her class. A different girl said, “This is great! I’m writing a paper about this topic.” Two people in cars stopped, rolled down their windows and asked for a leaflet. A cheerful vegan girl thanked me for being there and said, “Don’t ever get discouraged if people are mean. You’re doing a good thing. I know the cruelty information is difficult and can ‘smother the soul,’ but keep up the good work.” A man (who earlier stopped to talk about the discouraging disconnection people have from food production) gave thumbs up and said, “Persevere!”
—Team Vegan member Lana Smithson, 4/12/12

Sparks always fly at Citrus College. A new vegan was excited to get a Guide and get connected to the local vegan community. In the midst of other conversations, a young woman comes back with her booklet asking for four more for her coworkers. She works at [a fast-food restaurant], where she and her colleagues are getting sick. They’re realizing now why their own managers won’t eat that crap. So thank you, golden arches, for churning out future vegetarians.
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 3/22/12

Jon Camp
Team Vegan member Jon Camp makes the animals’ case at Syracuse University.

Long and productive day at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, where Victoria and I reached 2,478 students. At one point, I saw about three dozen waiting to cross a street, all reading their booklets.
     Victoria said today at Nicholls State was her favorite day of outreach so far; again, we had a lot of conversations. Some students hung out between class changes. Loads of positive comments; I’m sure many went veg today.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 3/16/12

Lisa and I reached over 950 students during this beautiful day at Rutgers! Many people reading and discussing the booklet, including two I watched read it cover to cover! Several good conversations, and students interested in helping out in the future.
—Team Vegan member Katie Pryor, 3/16/12

Great chats with students at Idaho State. For example, I spoke with a girl who lived at home and whose dad pulled the “for every animal you don’t eat, I’ll eat two” nonsense on her. She has been trying to be vegetarian for as long as she can remember, and gets so much criticism for it, but she told me she’s not giving up; and even though it’s taking her a while, she hopes to cut out all animal products from her diet in the next year. I told her how awesome she was, and that she is making a huge difference for animals, no matter what her dad says or does. We laughed, we cried, we shared my Clif Bar.
—Team Vegan member Caleb Wheeldon, 3/15/12

Switching to “Help end modern-day slavery” upped the take rate to about 60–70% today at the University of Connecticut. Good, wide-ranging conversations, and many students reading. One student came back after reading her Even If You Like Meat, and talked about wanting to be a vegetarian. I gave her a Guide; later, she came back again to get copies of Even If to distribute in her dorm!
—Team Vegan member Karen James, 3/20/12

Ricky
John Oberg sends this picture of Ricky at SUNY Brockport:
“I was reading it and was just like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe it.’”

Great day at Lock Haven University and Mansfield University – schools that have been hardly touched in the past. One young woman came up to say she’s been needing a push, and that she’s read the booklet and is now going to attempt to go veg. We have also received an email from a student who received a booklet and now wants to get involved in outreach.
—Team Vegan member Jon Camp, 3/21/12

Within an hour at Moraine Valley Community College, two separate people came up who were interested in going vegetarian. Another student asked about going veg and getting active for animals. Later on, a student told me she had seen the booklet in class and was considering making changes. Another instructor told me he was using the booklet as an example in his persuasive writing class. Then a very muscular student told me he was vegetarian.
—Team Vegan member Leslie Patterson, 3/21/12

Southern Polytechnic State was only my third time leafleting and my first solo venture. I must admit I was pretty nervous pulling into the parking lot. But one student, after looking over the booklet, sent me to a better leafleting spot, and I was quickly able to set a record for the school. The take rate was really high and students were pleasant; I only wish I had brought more! I can’t wait to get out there on my own again!
—Team Vegan member Laura Adkins, 3/21/12

 

SU student
John Oberg snapped this picture of a Syracuse University student engrossed in learning the truth.

Holly Grupe joined Julie, Steve, and me at Cal State Fullerton, and we reached 3,600 students. Great reception and many vegetarians and vegans.
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 3/12/12

Anita and Ray joined me for a great day at the University of Nevada, Reno. They did great, and we had good conversations. Within the first hour of leafleting we met a (very excited) woman who has been veg ever since getting the booklet in the fall. She said her boyfriend has decreased his meat consumption by 50% too. Awesome!
—Team Vegan member Brian Grupe, 3/12/12

A great day with really friendly students at the University of New Orleans. Two people said they were greatly affected by the brochure and had salads for lunch. Another student was really thankful to see me out there and he asked about veganism. Another student was head of the pre-vet club and took an extra 10 booklets to distribute to her group.
—Team Vegan member Jeff Boghosian, 3/13/12

I used my day off to hit Richard J. Daley College and the University of Chicago; reached over 1,000 students. One woman said, “Guess it’s a sign that I need to change some things.” She was interested in vegetarianism and was happy to receive a Guide and encouragement.
—Team Vegan member Leslie Patterson, 3/14/12

Brian Grupe
The man who stares at goats (well, sheep): Brian Grupe!

A nice day to leaflet UNC Charlotte, where I reached 1,000 students. One student thanked me for being on campus – told me he read the booklet last year and went vegan. Another student said, “Respect, dawg, this is the truth.”
—Rob, of Team Triangle, 3/12/12

Massive day of leafleting at the University of Maryland, where Parker, John, and I (joined briefly by a passing student) reached over 4,000 students. John nearly broke the all-time record for the school all by himself!
     We had so many people stopping by to say that they’re veg, vegan, or interested. One muscular dude said he’s been cutting back on meat. He specifically walked my way to thank me for doing this work. He (and over four dozen others) got a Guide. One woman said she’d be eating less meat because of the booklet. Another woman bought John a vegan cookie.
—Team Vegan member Jon Camp, 3/13/12

Shorna
At SUNY Cobleskill, Jon Camp met Shorna, who’s been almost completely vegetarian since Vic Sjodin handed her a booklet on campus last September.

Good leafleting at Oregon State – students were receptive and interested. I was thanked for being there, received supportive comments, and had productive conversations. Also gave a booklet to the daughter of a long-time friend – the family is deeply attached to eating animals, but the daughter might be open to the message.
—Team Vegan member Nettie Schwager, 3/8/12

Victoria and I nearly doubled the previous record for Louisiana Tech – 1,342 more students reached! Watched many students reading their booklets. Met six vegetarians in the first class change alone – a huge change here.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 3/13/12

I met many interested students at Essex County College, and I got in touch with the AR club because of our time there. Also met a guy from the newspaper who is going to feature us and has invited us for an event.
—Team Vegan member Katie Pryor, 3/14/12

Good day at the University of Connecticut, where Anouk, Stephanie, Kathryn and I reached 1,226 students. Many amazing conversations! A student stopped to tell me that she went vegan two years ago after I gave her an Even If You Like Meat.
—Team Vegan member Karen James, 3/19/12

 

Clifton Stone
Brian sends this picture of Clifton Stone
at the University of San Francisco.

Great day at Cal State Northridge, where Alexandra and I reached 2,100 students. Right away in the morning, I met a young woman who wanted to change her diet. During my final walking leafleting through campus, I see a guy zipping up his backpack, telling a girl “Ya know, I’m in a place in my life right now where I just want to learn…” So nosy Nikki walks over to hand him a booklet (cuz I was sent by the Learning Fairies) and the girl yells, “THAT’S WHAT I JUST GAVE HIM! Can I get another one now?” So I gave her another and a Guide. Crazy!
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 3/8/12

Clarion University (in a rural part of PA) was very positive. One young woman said to her friends, “I’m vegetarian. I love him!”
     A couple at California University of Pennsylvania were out giving free prayers, and asked if I’d like them to pray for anything. I said that since I was out working to help animals, I’d appreciate them praying for a decrease in animal suffering. They both made earnest prayers for God to grant me a good day of outreach, to keep me warm, and to look after the animals he created. I told them that I was heartened by their prayers and that I appreciated them taking the issue of animal suffering seriously.
     At Edinboro Unversity, one student told me farmers do what they do because it’s efficient. I mentioned that I knew farmers did what they did out of efficiency and not out of malice, but that the efficiency takes a toll on animals and the animals are my constituents, so I wanted others to know about their suffering. I also mentioned that I have family in Iowa involved in animal agriculture, that I wasn’t out to demonize anyone, and that compassion can be extended to both humans and animals. We left on good terms.
—Team Vegan member Jon Camp, 3/5/12

SUNY Binghamton students
John saw these SUNY Binghamton students engrossed in learning the truth after getting booklets from Jon.

One ag student at the University of Idaho had a talking point prepared, so I was glad to have read Jon’s post from Edinboro University. One guy reacted very rudely and loudly, but I got the last laugh: people noticed him acting this way and asked me for the information I had. H8ers make us famous!
—Team Vegan member Caleb Wheeldon, 3/7/12

Cold but amazing day with Lisa at CUNY Queens College. We met the Director of Student Life and he is vegan! We also met one girl who made a donation on the spot.
—Team Vegan member Katie Pryor, 3/7/12

Reached over 900 students at Sacramento State. I probably met three dozen vegetarians / vegans. This concludes a big week, where I reached 5,374 students, which might be one of the biggest weeks I’ve had since working for VO.
—Team Vegan member Brian Grupe, 3/9/12

Had 2 bicycle handoffs, 1 skateboard handoff, and 1 golf cart at Central Connecticut State, where I reached 852 more students. A student stopped to tell me that she did a report on factory farming, utilizing the VO literature I gave her last semester, and she got an A+! She thanked me for being there, and said she was glad that her class learned about it, too!
—Team Vegan member Karen James, 3/8/12

Nettie Schwager
Nettie hoops it up for the animals at
Chemeketa Community College.

Quick session at Harold Washington College, where one of the vegetarians I met let me know that it was getting a booklet from us 4 years ago that moved him to stop eating meat.
—Team Vegan member Joe Espinosa, 3/7/12

Good outreach at Richard J. Daley College and the University of Chicago. One woman took the booklet as a sign to change; she was happy to get a Guide.
—Team Vegan member Leslie Patterson, 3/14/12

Good day of outreach at Louisiana State University. I spoke with one student who used to be vegetarian for 4 years in high school but started eating meat because of weightlifting. I pointed him to the Robert Cheeke pic in the back of the brochure and Vegan Bodybuilding. Also met a couple of other vegetarians who were happy to see a like-minded soul. One of them was considering starting a group on campus.
—Team Vegan member Jeff Boghosian, 3/9/12

Amazing amount of interest at Kean University. A number of students were right at the tipping point and are now on their way to veg. Also met a freshman who was vegetarian for a couple of months but let her family scare her into thinking that she would lose weight and become unhealthy. I empowered her with enough information to be able to call them on their bullsh*t. Handed out a total of 22 Guides!
—Team Vegan member Lisa Hines, 3/14/12

From a recent batch of requests for the Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating:

I received a booklet at my community college on Tuesday, and I have decided that I want to help reduce animals’ suffering by going vegan.
—DJ

I just saw the booklet at my college, so I want to try vegan. I don’t like the abuse.
—LR

Matt Ball
After taking a few steps to register the question, “Help animals?” a University of Arizona student reaches back to take a booklet from one-third of Team Green-Ball.

I got the booklet at a bus stop. Life changing!
—IL

I received the Compassionate Choices booklet in 2009 at my college and became a vegetarian. Received another booklet this year and decided to research and pass the word around. Thank you!!
—CR

I was handed a booklet on campus, and I have now been a vegetarian for almost 3 months. I’m planning on making this a lifelong decision!
—CG

I walked into class (where I am actually writing a paper on the negative effects of slaughterhouses) and the booklet was on the table.
—SM

People were handing out informational booklets on campus. I read it and it really is so shocking!
—DN

I got a really helpful booklet at a local music festival about a year ago. Although I just recently went vegan, about 3 weeks ago, I had always saved the booklet. It was definitely persuasive, and was a definite contributing factor into my decision to go vegan.
—GG

 

SUNY Binghamton student
Immersed in learning what had been hidden at SUNY Binghamton; photo by Team Vegan member John Oberg.

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Today’s leafleting at SUNY New Paltz brings our four-week tour to its end. It was probably the biggest month of college outreach I’ve ever taken part in. Stats: 30 schools leafleted (at 18 of these we set a new all-day record), 41,718 students leafleted, and 3,210 miles driven.
     It was such a treat spending a month with [fellow Team Vegan member] John Oberg. He is the real deal. I think it’s fair to say that I have a pretty hard work ethic, but if anything, John encouraged me to step up my game and work harder and better.
     As always, none of the work we do would be possible without the support from you donors out there. I know I’ve said this before, but leafleting is not especially glamorous, but it really does get so many people to consider the plight of farmed animals and make changes (as evidenced by all the people who told us on this trip that they were deeply moved by the booklet). I’m continually so grateful that there are those of you out there who see the need for this work and walk the walk by making it happen through your generous contributions. This tour is dedicated to you.
—Team Vegan member Jon Camp, 5/4/12

2,600+ students at Cerritos College with Chad today. Quite a few meaningful handoffs, and probably reformed a few former vegetarians. One young man’s been battling these animal-abuse facts for a while but loves the taste of animal parts. We talked about many things, and I emphasized the fundamental disconnect between our wishes and reality. E.g., the only humans these animals interact with in their artificially fattened and shortened lives are plotting for and anticipating their death. He got it – his dinner’s gonna be different!
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 3/7/12

CT Veg Festgoer
Learning new things at the CT Veg Fest; photo by Team Vegan member Karen James.

Huge day at Washington State! My favorite time of the day was my short excursion to leaflet outside a talk on mindful eating, which was supposed to be about helping chronic dieters think differently about food (as in, don’t use food to deal with your emotions). The instructor asked for copies of the Even If brochure to share with future workshops.
—Team Vegan member Caleb Wheeldon, 3/6/12

Amanda, the leader of Vegan and Vegetarians at OSU, tabled at Oregon State’s nutrition event, while I went to leaflet my favorite spot. We reached a good many people!
—Team Vegan member Nettie Schwager, 3/6/12

Victoria and I had a long, windy day at the University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma Christian University. Met far more vegetarians and vegans than three years ago!
     Monster day today at Oklahoma State, where we reached almost 2,500 students – breaking the previous record by 740! Many great conversations. Started leafleting with new line to conservative crowd: “I’m an animal lover, hope you are too.” Got many positive responses, e.g., “I love animals too!” and burly men saying, “Right on!” Hopefully helps these folks make the connection in some small way that it is incongruent to be an animal lover and yet pay for the confinement, mutilation, and untimely and violent death of animals.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 3/7/12

SUNY Cobleskill student
Shocked at SUNY Cobleskill; photo by Jon.

Susan and I had great interactions at Western Connecticut State. I met Kylee, who turned vegetarian 9/22/07, after receiving a Vegan Outreach booklet. She is now trying to go vegan! An R.A. said she is hosting a vegan feed-in next week on campus, and there is a group of about 15 that she works with. One student came back to request 10 more booklets to hand out to her friends! Another student told us she read the entire booklet in her psych class. She said she never knew about the horrendous conditions and treatment of the animals in factory farms. She stated that she could not put the booklet down, and then requested 6 more to give to her friends.
     Susan met a student who has been trying to be vegetarian for three weeks and was worried about whether she could stick to it. She was very excited to receive a Guide, and took a bunch of booklets to distribute at her job. A cop said he knows he needs to go veg, and was happy to get a Guide! One student said that the booklet makes her sad. When Susan responded, “That is because you have a good heart,” her face lit up and she said, “I can do this!”
—Team Vegan member Karen James, 3/8/12

Wow, what a day of outreach at the University of Southern Mississippi! The vast majority of students were interested in the literature, and a number of students were interested in meat reduction. Even better: one woman pledged on the spot to go vegetarian! Another student had tried being vegetarian in high school, and after talking to him he said he’d be trying it again. A campus police officer even took a leaflet and discussed it briefly. This was one of my favorite schools to leaflet. Free speech is alive and well in Mississippi!
—Team Vegan member Jeff Boghosian, 3/6/12

 

Jose
The power of Team Vegan. Jon reports from SUNY Cortland: “Jose came up to tell me that he got a booklet from us earlier today. ‘No more animal products for me. I’m serious!’”

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Despite the rain, nearly 100% take rate at Kean University, and almost 95% at Union County College. One girl was really enthusiastic and might be helping out in the future. We had a really productive conversation with a student who challenged our views with questions, but we answered them all and he went away interested.
—Team Vegan members Katie Pryor and Lisa Hines, 2/28/12

Phenomenal outreach at University of Texas El Paso, where Victoria and I reached over 2,200 students. Lots interested, lots reading, many conversations.
     Today was a huge day at the University of Oklahoma, where we were joined by Logan, and reached 2,100+ students. Way more vegs now than when I first came here three years ago! One mega-Christian dude mentioned going veg after getting a booklet three years ago.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 3/5/12

At Naugatuck Valley Community College, one student told me he has reduced his animal product consumption by half since receiving an Even If You Like Meat from me last semester. Another student said she went vegetarian in June and wanted support – we talked a bit and she got a Guide and my card. A professor gave me his card, and said he would like to interview me for the school paper so the students can get a different viewpoint on animals raised for food. As I was leaving, a student I had leafleted earlier asked me if he could help me. I gave him a stack of 50 Compassionate Choices, and he started immediately!
—Team Vegan member Karen James, 3/5/12

Sitara
Brian sends this picture of Sitara, who was prompted to go vegan because of a booklet and has helped him leaflet.

Took a vacation day and was out of bed at 1 am to make it to Central Michigan University, where I reached over 1,200 students. Good conversations too, including several about harm reduction with students currently unwilling to go veg. Eight more vacation days that will be used in our work to decrease suffering and death.
—Team Vegan member Joe “Stop” Espinosa, 3/1/12

Huge new record with Eleanor at American River College. Lots of students seemed very interested; I chatted with one guy for a solid 10 minutes who will probably go veg. Also met a number of people who are almost veg / already veg and thinking about going further.
     One of the most interesting people of the day worked at Foster Farms many years ago. He said the booklet was totally correct and it was a horrible job. There was a constant ammonia cloud inside the farm that made him feel sick constantly.
     Laguna Creek High School was simply awesome. Tons of these students were already aware. Lots of comments like, “Oh yeah I’ve been hearing about this,” or “Yeah definitely, let me check that out,” or my favorite: “Dude, my brothers have been vegan for eight years!”
—Team Vegan member Brian “the” Grupe, 3/5/12

Vivi
Also at SUNY Cortland, Team Vegan member John Oberg met Vivi, who was very shocked by the information in the booklet. She’s moving back to France in a week and said she wants to get involved with exposing this animal abuse there.

Great day with Eric at Penn State Mont Alto and Shippensburg University. The best was at the end. Shortly after chatting with two young women who take part in the school’s animal advocacy club, and exchanging contact info, two separate young women walked up to Eric and were asking him questions about going veg. They were really intrigued and asked about 10 minutes worth of questions. Eric did a great job responding with answers that were reasonable, honest, and easy to understand.
—Team Vegan member Jon Camp, 3/1/12

Unbeknownst to me, it was high school senior appreciation day at Irvine Valley College. When I found out, I almost passed out with excitement. At least 600 (of 1,500) booklets went into eager high school students’ goody bags. You couldn’t slap the giggle outta me.
     Chatted with a security guard whose wife is veg with three vegan cousins. He can’t stand animal abuse, but thinks some animals are here for food so he’s OK with that, just not their abuse. I asked him what kind of treatment can we expect if their only purpose is to die…the interest lies only in their dead bodies…how good can it really get? Especially since they’re voiceless and utterly defenseless. He was silent.
—Team Vegan member Nikki “Hugs” Benoit, 3/6/12

 

Katie Pryor
Team Vegan member Katie Pryor provides enlightenment at CUNY York College.

Two days in February:

Leslie, Lori, Mike, and I reached over 650 at San Jose’s Women of Faith Conference, with a mix of CVA and VO booklets. Today was drastically different than when I leafleted this event several years ago. The acceptance rate was fantastic and we saw many hanging around the front reading the brochures. Many women thanked us for being there, I overheard quite a few comments like, “Oh yes, this is important,” or “We were talking about this the other day,” etc.
     Today at Modesto High School, one student told me: “Oh sh*t! I got this from you last time and it totally changed my mom!”
—Team Vegan member Brian Grupe, 2/28/12

Despite the cold, I smashed records at Cal State, Channel Islands, and Oxnard College. Good interactions; e.g., an older gentleman came by with his Compassionate Choices, saying he and his partner were now thinking of going veg, saying they can’t fathom eating meat knowing what is done to the animals.
—Team Vegan member Nikki Benoit, 2/27/12

Ellen Green
Team Vegan member Ellen Green leaflets the University of Arizona.

Nettie and I met a whole lot of vegetarians at [Western Oregon University], and a lot of people who thanked us for being there or said that they agreed with us. A woman told me that she and her husband have stopped eating factory-farmed animals because of a booklet they received from us in the past, and were exploring vegetarian meats. I got her email and have followed up with her.
—Cobie deLespinasse, 2/27/12

Today, in the face of ag students at Michigan State, I changed my line to “Help stop slavery.” Had history veered just a little some 200 years ago, my family and I might be the ones being made to suffer for the pleasure of others, and perhaps these students would have been pursuing a degree in improving the efficiency of the human slavery industry. Was able to reach nearly 900 students; one declared while walking past me looking at the booklet with her friend that she would never eat meat again.
—Team Vegan member Joe Espinosa, 2/28/12

Another day of presentations and booklet distribution at Sparrows Point High. One of the teachers said he and his wife have been eating vegetarian since previously seeing my presentation. Also got news today that a student who saw the presentation yesterday went veg; today, many vowed to try it.
—Aaron Ross, 2/28/12

Mike, Peter, and I had great reception at Alabama A&M. One student told me the booklet might be just what he needs.
—Team Vegan member Jeff Boghosian, 2/27/12

Tyler
After getting a booklet and encouragement from Team Vegan member John Oberg at SUNY Oswego, Tyler pledged to try veg for at least a month.

Victoria and I reached over 1,350 students at New Mexico State. One man said he read the whole thing, said it’s terrible; got a Guide. Another said he was excited to go veg, got a Guide and encouragement. We also met a supreme court justice for the state of Minnesota who was visiting campus; he took our picture with leaflets and took a Guide for his favorite clerk.
—Team Vegan member Vic Sjodin, 2/28/12

John and I reached over 1,700 students at College of William & Mary and Christopher Newport U. Tons of amazing stories. One guy said that receiving the booklet today was the kick in the butt needed to finally go veg. A young woman also said she was going veg because of the booklet! Two guys stopped by to tell John how they never knew much about factory farming before reading the booklet and they were really moved.
     Another record today at Old Dominion University – 3,000 Even Ifs and 32 Guides. So many people expressing interest in the materials! The highlight was when a woman in the military said, “My drill sergeant got one of those and went vegan.”
—Team Vegan member Jon Camp, 2/28/12

 

Lisa Hines
Lisa Hines spreads sunshine and compassion at Rowan U.

Huge record day at Pasadena City College. Not one Tu/Th student will remain in the dark about factory farms on this campus thanks to today. I was there and rockin’ by 7:45, handing out 50 booklets in 4 minutes. Wow-ee-wow! Heard from numerous veg / vegan / veg-in-training peeps.
     Met a convert from seven years ago (was in high school then); chatted with two students I met last semester who’ve drastically cut back their animal consumption – even dairy! Great reception, even got fed vegan pizza by an appreciative student!
—Nikki Benoit, 2/21/12

So many conversion stories at Ohlone College, with Katie and Alex. Alex had also helped out last year, and has since gone vegan. A student waived me over inquiring about the recipes on the back. He said, “I might want to try this vegan thing out.” Sweet! I gave him a Guide. Alex texted me later and told me that he was watching 4 people in his English class read the brochure while class was going on. He texted again a few minutes later and said the guy in front of him had turned around to ask him about the brochure. They chatted; he was really impacted by it and said he’s going to go veg!
     Was great to have Jeni with me today; we reached over 1,100 students at Santa Clara University and Mission College. I met a veg professor at SCU who was overjoyed that we were leafleting. At Mission we met two Marine recruiters and one said he and his wife were vegan! He thinks his wife might like to help out. He was a well-spoken and healthy-looking dude and said he had been vegan for four years. It was interesting to hear about being veg in the military.
—Brian Grupe, 2/21/12

Andrea Powell
Andrea Powell (above) and Sheryl Slopey (below) make the animals’ case at The College of New Jersey.

At City College of San Francisco, we were joined by an enthusiastic volunteer, Danielle (courtesy of Brian G.). Great busy leafleting the whole time – lots of vegetarians and vegans, lots of good conversations! We reached nearly 1,700 students, and handed out at least 15 Guides, and could have used more if we didn’t run out.
—Darina Smith, 2/16/12

Cold but record day at Queensborough Community College, where Lisa, Lisa, and I reached 1,563 more students. Many thanked us for being there. Also met Emily, who received a booklet from us four months ago and has been vegan ever since! This made our Valentine’s Day.
—Katie Pryor, 2/14/12

Marine and I met a lot of vegetarians and vegans, and we also heard a few people say, “I’ve been wanting to go vegetarian.…” We also talked to a few guys who don’t live up to the stereotype of your “average vegetarian guy,” so that was nice to see stereotypes broken and people who don’t typically take an interest in going vegetarian stopping to ask us questions and meal ideas, and thanking us for our work.
—Kenny Torrella, 2/22/12

Sheryl Slopey

At the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, more students than ever expressed support for our work. One of the many vegetarians I met stated that getting the booklet from me last semester is what moved her to stop eating animals.
—Joe Espinosa, 2/14/12

Great day at Morgan State, where we reached a record 2,100 students. One student said she ate a vegetarian lunch today because of us, and another student said he was going to cut back his meat intake dramatically.
     Another great experience today at the University of Delaware, where we reached 2,500 more students. Met a ton of vegetarians / vegans. As one student took a leaflet, she said, “I’ve heard a bunch of people talking about this today.” That’s one of the great things about leafleting en masse: you completely raise the issue and spark a conversation throughout the campus.
—Kate and Aaron, 2/22/12

Wide support at the University of Mississippi. Many people mentioned the booklet was sad, or offered an approving “Thank you.” I met a vegetarian of 8 days and one of 7 months; both had many questions. I also had several great conversations with people aware of the issue from getting a booklet in the past.
—Jeff Boghosian, 2/22/12

Rutgers reader
Rutgers readers.
Rutgers reader

Over 500 students reached at Johnson County Community College. One student said that she wasn’t going to eat chicken anymore, and another student said that he was going to go back to being vegetarian again. I answered a lot of questions.
     At Kansas State’s food court, the Denny’s serves a $5 Amy’s vegan burger. For 50 cents more they made me a vegan burrito with the burger in it along with an entire avocado, mushrooms, onion, peppers, cilantro, lime, and pico – yum! It is great being able to refer students there.
—Rick Hershey, 2/22/12

Victoria and I set a new record at the University of New Mexico – over 2,000! One girl came back and said she read the whole thing, it made her cry, she is going vegan. Another male student said that he was going vegan.
—Vic Sjodin, 2/24/12

The take rate was very high at WT White High School in Dallas. One girl wanted to get involved, so I took her email. Talking to two boys, one called a friend to tell him someone was giving out info about vegetarianism and to come over to where we were; his friend came over right away to talk to me and told me he has been cutting out meat since he witnessed his grandmother slaughter a chicken and felt terrible about animals getting killed.
—Nora Kramer, 2/15/12

Big day for John, Parker, and me; reached over 1,700 students at York College and Millersville University. Many great encounters. A pair of young women stopped by to say that they read the booklet and are both going vegetarian as a result. A dude stopped by to say that he used to be veg, and the booklet was going to push him to go back to being veg. A young woman said that she would not be able to go completely veg, but, as a result of the booklet, was pledging to cut back on her meat consumption.
—Jon Camp, 2/23/12

Accompanying a donation and order for booklets:

I’m so thankful I got the booklet at my college. After I read this (and cried for a few days), I immediately swore off meat and eggs. I just had no idea about these atrocities. Now I want to show others. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
—JS, 4/15/12

 

Emma Tamayo
Emma Tamayo provides a voice for the animals at Sacramento City College.

Mieke and I had really good interactions at Southern Methodist University, including a great conversation with a guy who told me he didn’t want to take the booklet because he had seen it before and it made him “feel bad and almost change.” He said he didn’t want to read about how the animals were suffering since there was nothing he could do about it. Um, yes there is!!
     I talked to him about vegetarianism and, when he balked a bit, I mentioned Meatless Mondays, which I have found to be incredibly helpful to bring up when people are resistant to immediately going veg. When I’ve said to dozens of people, “You could be vegetarian one day a week, couldn’t you?” I have not met a single person who did not say yes, and their whole energy and resistance seems to shift.
—Nora Kramer, 2/9/12

Good conversations at MiraCosta College. At San Diego Miramar College, lots of people expressed interest. One student said he quit eating KFC because of this. I explained that all chicken we have access to is treated this way. He gets it, and even knows athletes fair well on plant-based diets. I Guided him and we parted, him with opened eyes and heart. Twenty minutes later, with booklets in hand, he walked past again smiling, sayin’ class was canceled…karma!
—Nikki Benoit, 2/13/12

John Oberg
At VCU, John Oberg with the skateboard handoff.

863 Even If You Like Meats and 7 Guides at Eastern Illinois University. Most memorable was the high number of regular-looking students who seemed to have genuine care and curiosity when asked to help stop violence.
—Joe Espinosa, 2/7/12

Fabulous acceptance rate at Florida A&M. A student said he’s been thinking about transitioning to a vegetarian diet. While turning the pages of the booklet he said, “These photos are going to help me do it!” He thanked me for being there.
—Lana Smithson, 2/13/12

Jonathan and I reached nearly 2,000 students today. Fresno High School’s students were extremely receptive; a very good use of time.
We both had great conversations at Fresno City College. I had a 10-minute chat with a very inquisitive and non-combative guy who later revealed that he was a farmer. He conceded I had a lot of good points and kept both of his leaflets. Met a student who told us getting the brochure last year had caused her to cut back significantly on meat. One woman told us, “That’s it, I’m not eating meat again.”
—Brian Grupe, 2/8/12

Reached nearly 900 kids with CVA booklets at Acquire the Fire this evening. Most of the kids were eager to accept a booklet and they always seem to be a friendly and polite group. One guy said that he had received a booklet from me last year but had lost it, so he was glad that I was here again. Others said that they thought that Jesus ate meat, and I replied that the conditions in his day were quite different than they are today, and that I didn’t think that Jesus would support factory farming.
—Rick Hershey, 2/10/12

LACC vegan
Vegan since getting a booklet three months ago at Los Angeles City College.

Annie and I had great conversations at Lane Community College. A young man read the booklet, then came back and asked how he could eat more humanely. He was open to my suggestion that he start eating some vegetarian meals. A woman read the booklet and came back for a Guide. She said it’s really important that people get this information, and that she had met some people once who worked in the animal industry and told her some things that really upset her. A young woman said she’s nearly vegetarian. She used to be completely vegetarian, but she says she thinks maybe she wasn’t getting enough fat in her diet. I showed her Jack’s article on nutrition in the Guide, told her that he recommends eating a serving of nuts every day and has more information on the website, and that she can e-mail him with questions. She seemed happy to get this information. A man told me he thought plant protein wasn’t as good for building muscles as animal protein. He was surprised when I opened the Guide and showed him a picture of Robert Cheeke.
     At Linn-Benton Community College, a young woman was glad I was there, because she used to work in the poultry industry and it was terrible. She saw live animals being thrown in trash cans, and she said, “What those videos don’t show is the smell.
—Cobie deLespinasse, 2/13/12

Scout led the way again to another record, this time 1,750 at Georgia Tech. Met vegans, vegetarians, and meat-reducers. One student stopped to help leaflet, too.
     Great conversations today at Florida Atlantic University and Broward College. People were very supportive of our cause, including many faculty. I had many good conversations with people asking about organic, free range, and where to buy cheap veg products. I also met someone that got a brochure at the University of Maryland (Baltimore County) yesterday! She asked if there was a major campaign going on. :)
—Jeff Boghosian, 2/14/12

 

U Pitt vegetarian
In addition to Katherine; Nina, Joe, John, Jon, and Maria met this woman at the University of Pittsburgh, who has been vegetarian since getting a booklet last year.

Yuri and I reached over 2,300 students at Florida International University. One woman told me she had gotten a booklet in Gainesville a long time ago, and both she and her husband went vegetarian because of it – two people from one leaflet! A different woman said she’s a brand new vegetarian and doesn’t really know how to do it. Of course she got a Guide and encouragement!
     Today at Hillsborough Community College, Sydnie read the entire booklet and was moved to come back and help leaflet. One guy who refused a booklet at first because he “loves meat” ended up taking one after I talked to him about considering the issues without necessarily going veg. He appreciated the idea of reducing meat consumption.
—Lana Smithson, 2/6/12

Of my three outings today, Long Beach City College was the highlight. Steve, Julie, and I set a new record – 1,950! Met a woman who’s been vegan six years cuz of a booklet she got at Laney College in Oakland! Then, Denise went vegetarian on the spot thanks to a booklet!
     Today at the College of the Desert, I was joined by a student who was sickened by the booklet and inspired to help leaflet. I was also joined by Brittney, who went vegan a year ago after I handed her a booklet, and was making her leafleting debut today. Earlier, while I was leafleting at Mt. San Jacinto, I had a great conversation with someone who wanted more booklets for her posse. While chatting, my 20-year-old omnivorous niece in Boston was texting me about the benefits of eating vegan, asking for resources. Folks: this is what evolution smells like.
—Nikki Benoit, 2/7/12

Jaime Hecht
Jaime Hecht encourages enlightenment at the Reason Rally.

The students at Columbus State Community College were very receptive! Every time we visit this school, more and more people tell us they’ve gone vegetarian!
—Sarah Von Alt, 2/3/12

Great day at Harrisburg Community College. A woman opened up the booklet, turned around, and thanked me. It was so sincere, it warmed my heart. One man said he thinks the treatment of farm animals is awful, but he still eats meat. I told him that it isn’t an all-or-nothing thing. He can make smaller changes and still make a difference. My go-to line is: “If everyone ate vegetarian for one day every week, we would save over a billion animals a year.” I suggested Meatless Mondays or giving up chicken. He seemed to like those suggestions.
—Lisa Hines, 2/8/12

Reached 2,350 students at the University of Maryland, College Park. Tons of conversations. A student told us that she went veg from reading a leaflet, and another said she had been thinking about going vegetarian recently and said the leaflet made her want to do it even more now. Awesome day!
—Kate and Aaron, 2/3/12

Cathy Berlot
Cathy Berlot reaches out at Susquehanna U.

Boy, did the Eugene leafleters turn out today at U of O! Adeline, Sarah, Lin, Abigail, and I reached 1,080 more students; we also met many vegetarians and vegans, and others who thanked us for the information. I offered an Even If You Like Meat to a woman, and she said, “Oh, I think you’ve got the wrong person. I like meat too much.” I asked, “Do you think one night a week you could eat a vegetarian dinner?” We talked about the fact that she was already cutting back on meat because of her cholesterol level, the fact that she didn’t think she could be a vegetarian because she likes meat too much, and that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I offered her a Guide, and she asked, “Oh, does this have alternatives?” She happily took it.
—Cobie deLespinasse, 1/31/12

Truman College is a great spot to leaflet, and we met many very interested people. For example, we talked with two girls who were very interested and said they never wanted to eat meat again. Another older woman told Krystina she had changed her mind about what she would be having for dinner. Yet another who told her our booklet was the reason she went vegetarian a year ago. Success!
—Danyelle, Krystina, and Tyler, 2/7/12

 

Anita Dombovari
Another University of Nevada, Reno student learns the truth from Anita Dombovari.

It’s good to be reminded that although most of the bad news about animal mistreatment relates to incidents, the good news tends to be more about trends. Must have something to do with the direction that the arc of history bends towards!
—CT, 3/21/12

Two days in February:

Monster day of outreach with Diane and Vic – we reached over 2,300 students at West Valley College and San Jose City College. Many comments, and one woman said she was changing over to vegan.
     Today at Evergreen Valley College, Diane, Jessica, Jeni, and I set a new record – nearly 2,000 more students reached! We all had a ton of conversations today. So many on this campus are wiling to change and already making changes. Awesome to witness.
—Brian Grupe, 2/1/12

Beautiful day leafleting with Lisa at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Lisa had a conversation with one man who said, “No thanks, I like meat.” She replied, “Then this brochure is for you! The title is Even If You Like Meat!” He came back and spoke to her and after the conversation he said that he would cut down on meat, possibly doing a “meat out” day each week. Amazing work.
—Katie Pryor, 2/1/12

Albana
UConvert: Karen met Albana, who went veg two years ago after getting a VO booklet at the University of Connecticut.

At the University of Illinois at Chicago, I spoke with a Muslim student who had gotten the booklet and came back to talk. She was quite disturbed at the way laying hens are treated. I shared with her that seeing the way birds are treated in modern farming is what originally moved me out of agriculture and onto animal protection work, as it makes clear that there is nothing animal agriculture will not do to animals to cut costs / improve profits.
—Joe Espinosa, 2/1/12

Kimberly, Joanna, and I had an awesome time leafleting Grand Central Station. Great conversations with people interested in going veg!
—Victoria Randall, 2/2/12

While leafleting Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School, a parent or teacher said she wanted to go veg. She had good questions and planned to do it once and for all. Later, a guy passing who read my sweatshirt asked for a vegan booklet.
—Casey, 2/2/12

891 Even If You Like Meat booklets and 9 Guides at Northern Illinois University. I had several quality conversations with students who claimed “it’s just too hard to be vegan.” I explained it isn’t about being perfect, it’s about reducing the amount of suffering in the world and living in tune with your values. Once you explore vegan options, a whole new world of food opens before you, and the choice becomes easy. At the end of my day, a school newspaper reporter came out and interviewed me for a story.
—Jon Bockman, 2/1/12

Eleanor Thomas
Eleanor Thomas opens another mind at Sierra College.

I had a rewarding day of outreach at CCBC today. I saw a girl reading a booklet with a look of shock and disgust on her face. I went over and talked to her. Reading the Compassionate Choices pushed her over the edge and she went vegetarian on the spot! In addition, I sparked up some good conversations with people about everything from ritual slaughter to organic farms.
—Aaron Ross, 2/2/12

I love leafleting Georgetown – full of such smart and inquisitive folks. Kitty met a young woman who went vegan as a result of us being there a year ago, a vegetarian who got the Even If today and is seriously considering going vegan as a result, and a professor who is currently writing a book on animal rights. I met a woman who wants me to put her in touch with the Georgetown animal advocate I know, and a professor who took down my contact info because one of her students wants to start a club on campus.
—Jon Camp, 2/2/12

Many conversations at Clark Atlanta and Georgia State. I met one student who was absolutely thrilled to get a leaflet and wants to get involved. I also met a professor who’s been vegan for 31 years! At GS, I’ve never gotten so many contacts in 2.5 hours time.
—Jeff Boghosian, 2/2/12

Over 1,600 students at Miami Dade’s North and Kendall campuses! Outreach was amazing – so many positive and productive interactions! I saw LOTS of people reading the booklet: Sitting and reading. Walking and reading. Standing in groups and discussing it. A number of people said they wanted to eat fewer animal products. One guy said, “This is going to be in my head now. I didn’t know how bad things are.” A girl waved her booklet in the air and said, “This is a sign! I was thinking about going vegan! This is THE sign!” A different girl said to her boyfriend, “That’s it! We’re going TOFU! These pictures are just too sad.” An older woman stopped to talk. She said she’s been vegetarian since age 13, and her family has always given her a really hard time about it. She was so thankful that this outreach is going on.
—Lana Smithson, 2/2/12

 

Gonzella
At Cal State Los Angeles, Gonzella changed because of a booklet one year ago and is going strong!

We reached over 3,000 students at George Mason U, and had a lot of great feedback. One student told us she got a leaflet two years ago and has been vegetarian ever since. Several students told us they were going to eat a vegetarian lunch, and many others said they were disturbed by what they read. Had a good conversation with a skeptical student, and afterwards she thanked me and said I gave her a lot to think about. Another student said that it was, by far, the best guide about vegetarian eating he has ever received.
—Aaron and Kate, 3/19/12

At Northwestern University, one guy said he had been changing his diet after receiving the booklet from a friend. He liked the emphasis on preventing suffering and that veganism was not presented as all-or-nothing. A girl stopped who said she had been thinking about the booklet since receiving it last year, was upset about the animals but had questions about abortion and thought babies were more important. We talked for a couple minutes and ended up agreeing that caring about humans and animals does not have to be mutually exclusive; she was happy to receive a Guide.
—Leslie Patterson, 1/25/12

Jan
Five years ago, Jan got a booklet at UMass Amherst, and went vegan that day! She recently helped David leaflet.

Over 600 students at Laney College, and 200+ at College of Alameda. Lots of great conversations. Two young ladies pledged to go vegan on the spot!
     At Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College, Vic, Katie, and I reached over 3,000 students. Lots of productive and interesting conversations. No fewer than five people told me they were going to change their diets to do better by the animals.
     Today at the College of Marin, a number of students told me they read the booklet all the way through, and Carol and I met two people who had changed their diets because of getting a booklet in the past. One guy has been veg for three years after getting our brochure. His girlfriend also went veg with him!
—Brian Grupe, 1/26/12

Reached over 500 at New York U. Also met a vegan vender who had Compassionate Choices already on display! At Whole Foods, a cashier saw some booklets in my hand and said she got one at Borough of Manhattan Community College and even did a speech on it, too!
—Casey, 1/24/12

Lisa Hines
Lisa Hines spreads enlightenment at Essex County College.

Chris and I created quite the buzz on campus and met some really incredible people at Nassau Community College, where we reached over 1,500 students! Many people interested in learning more. In fact, the construction guys a floor below us yelled up and asked me what we were handing out. I told them and they were really engaged. After their lunch, they asked us for booklets to show their friends.
—Katie Pryor, 1/26/12

Harold Washington College was buzzing today. Krystina met one student who had just written a paper about animal rights. One professor said, “I agree, I’m a vegan,” pointing at the leaflet. She asked me, “Don’t you feel better?!” and of course I replied, “Yes, I do!!” She gave me a big smile.
—Danyelle Hamilton, 1/27/12

A number of students at Illinois State were interested in taking the first step to help animals; reached over 900 others, too. A faculty member stopped to let me know that a new Animals and Society course had begun, with two full sections.
—Joe Espinosa, 1/24/12

Quickly handed out all 300 booklets at the University of Cincinnati. One student was particularly thrilled, as he needed a start on his factory farming paper.
—Helen Gaynor, 1/27/12

UMD student
Deeply engrossed in learning the truth at the University of Maryland.

At UNC today, the 1,200+ students I reached were much more receptive than any time in 2011. I heard from many vegetarians and at least five vegans. I could have given out more Guides but ran out after 12. Great conversations as well, including one faculty member. I also got booklets into the hands of an assistant director of dining services and an assistant director of career services.
—Brandon Becker, 1/26/12

Despite the wind, a solid day at Florida Atlantic University – over 1,500 reached. Quite a few students seemed especially happy to get the information. Also, a professor thanked me for being there and said she would share the information with her students.
     Over 1,000 today at two Broward College campuses and Florida Atlantic U. One girl who got a leaflet ran back over to me. She said she’s a former vegetarian and excitedly said, “I want to go veggie again!” She happily accepted a Guide. The very last student I leafleted was delighted to get the information. We talked for a while and she said she’s excited to change her diet!
—Lana Smithson, 1/31/12

 

WestConn students
Karen reports from Western Connecticut State: “Kylee, the student in the black shirt, went vegetarian 9/22/07, after receiving a Vegan Outreach booklet. She is now working on vegan. The other three students said they were going to cut their consumption of animal products in half.”

Wendy, Susan, and I set a new record at Southern Connecticut State – 1,498! We met about 30 – that’s right 30 – vegetarians, and about a dozen vegans! I had a professor tell me that she was so glad we were there. She said some students were arriving at her class and putting the booklets to the side, saying they were not going to read them. She asked them, “Why are you here, if not to learn?” and got them to read the pamphlets! Later, a student took a Compassionate Choices from me, then came back and asked for 30 for her dorm!
—Karen James, 3/12/12

Today was my day off from work so I headed down to Purdue to represent the animals. It was a cold day, in the 20s, but I had long underwear, three sweatshirts, snowpants, coat, boots, etc., basically looked like a Russian nesting doll but it worked to keep me going for 5 hours. Great reception from the polite, friendly students. This is a heavily agricultural school, but still I heard from many veggies, including recent converts, and noted many vegan options in the union.
—Leslie Patterson, 1/18/12

Yesterday was the best day of the semester! Denise, Virginia, Jyoti, and I reached over 3,100 students at the University of Central Florida. Dozens of great conversations. For example, one girl came back to Denise, said she was going veg, and got a Guide. One dude mentioned, “I never thought about it that way.”
     Today was another phenomenal day at Florida International University and University of Miami. Several came back to say they were going veg. Two others that they were going from veg to vegan. Another girl after class said, “good pamphlet,” with enthusiasm. Another student came back to ask for more leaflets to show friends and family.
—Vic Sjodin, 12/1/11

New vegan at UNM
Vic snapped this pic of another new vegan at the University of New Mexico.

Many conversations at George Fox University. Near the end, a young woman who had been reading the booklet approached me and asked, “Are you saying that God didn’t intend for us to eat the animals?” I said, “In many cases it’s hard to tell what God intends. I look at a lot of things in this world, and I don’t know why God made them the way they are. I just keep trying to reduce suffering. My view is that when I see suffering, I want to stop the suffering.” She said politely, “It’s interesting to hear other people’s views on these things.”
—Cobie deLespinasse, 1/23/12

Reached over 1,000 students at University of Missouri, St. Louis. I heard from about 25 vegetarians and 5 vegans today; plus one student who after visiting said that she was going vegan! She was also interested in helping out leafleting. One student said that he went vegetarian because he received an Even If You Like Meat from me a year ago. He too said that he was interested in helping leaflet. Another student said that he is a hunter and asked me about hunting. I said that I am often able to make allies with hunters to oppose factory farming. A great day of outreach!
—Rick Hershey, 1/18/12

Logan Narcomey
Logan Narcomey spreads compassion at the University of Oklahoma.

Dang, we crushed it today! New record for College of San Mateo; day total of 1,938 for Diane, Jessica, and me. A ton of vegetarians and vegans at Canada; I can’t believe how far this school has come. So many little stories including an athletic guy who has been wanting to try vegan and a young lady who enthusiastically showed me the “Love animals, don’t eat them” pin on her backpack. So awesome!
     Jessica noted a few guys walking along holding Compassionate Choices, and one said, “I could never do that myself – killing animals and all that – it’d be hella gross.” There was something about that – the first glimmer of thinking: wait a minute – real people are actually killing all these animals.
—Brian Grupe, 1/18/12

Record day at University of South Florida. After getting a leaflet, a girl happily said, “This is great information. Go, you!” A student remembered me from when I leafleted a movie screening of The Cove a couple years ago! He said, “Good to see you’re still doing this. Keep up the good work.”
—Lana Smithson, 1/23/12

At Valencia College, we talked to a woman who is determined to go vegan but was having a stumbling block with bread, so we recommended that she go vegan in every other aspect of her diet and address the bread issue later. She loved the idea and left saying that she and her family are on the road to veganism! Also talked to an African-American student who wants us to do a presentation at his church. He also said his goal was to go vegan. Also talked to a Hispanic student who was super psyched to get info on vegetarian eating.
—Jeff Boghosian, 1/19/12

Chad Johnson
Chad Johnson takes action for the animals at Cerritos College.

From a recent batch of Guide requests:

At my community college, Oxnard, a young woman asked my friend and me if we loved animals. We said yes and she handed us Compassionate Choices. Her question made the difference, I wouldn’t have looked at it otherwise. She didn’t give me a guilt trip and was friendly. I didn’t feel pressured, I just feel I want to try this.
—OH

Through a pamphlet passed out around my school, I have been a proud vegetarian for about 6 months now!
—CA

At Montgomery College, Kit was a bit nervous to start leafleting, but after she handed out the first booklet, she was enthusiastically handing out one after the other. She emailed me afterwards to say that she is now addicted to leafleting and is looking forward to her next outing.
     One woman was asking me about why I was vegan, my thoughts on hunting, etc. I said that a lot of my thoughts were guided by the basic “Do unto others” tenet and she finished the phrase, saying she totally gets it. It made me realize I want to use that phrase more since it’s one already so ingrained into our way of thinking and one pretty much everyone agrees is worthy of following.
—Jon Camp, 1/23/12

 

UAM Xochimilco
While Jeni leaflets, Adriel talks with Israel (far right). After reading the booklet and asking questions, Adriel helped hand out booklets!
Adriel Escoto

For our last outreach in Mexico, we gave a talk today to a group of high school seniors. It went really well, the students seemed really into the lit and the teachers were also open to vegetarianism. Israel’s mom is so into it, she took a stack of 50 booklets and gave it to everyone in her yoga class and said there was a lot of discussion. She made a list of all the other people she wanted to give it to, down to her hairdresser; there went another 50 booklets. We also gave a stack here and there to professors who wanted to give to their students and to activists who requested them. Now we’re out of lit!
     Many thank yous to the Arriola family, and especially Israel and Anima Naturalis, and, of course to Drew, who funded the trip! Countless animals have been saved, and this trip has ignited an unquenchable thirst to keep pushing for veganism as a major solution to many of the world’s ailments and to try and prevent as many animals as possible from harm. Hasta la Victoria siempre! Por los animals del mundo,
—Vic Sjodin & Jeni Haines, 2/16/12

I was ordering at Pei Wei yesterday and the man taking my order asked if I am vegan. He told me that he has been trying to go vegetarian but finds it hard although he really wants to do it. I whipped a Guide out of my purse and he thanked me and seemed really excited!
     Also, a few months ago, I leafleted a guy I went to high school with. He told me that he had been considering vegetarianism, so I gave him a Guide and had a short conversation with him. A few weeks ago, he emailed me to tell me that he has been vegan since Thanksgiving and wants to get involved in leafleting!
—Kirby Mauro, 1/13/12

UNAM student
A student reads the leaflet in front of a famous mural at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Reached over 700 students on the first day of the semester at Southwestern Illinois College. It was a great day of outreach! For example, one student said, “That’s it; I’m going vegan.”
—Rick Hershey, 1/17/12

A truly amazing day at Virginia Commonwealth University, where John, Jordan, Parker, and I reached almost 4,000 students – the most booklets handed out on a Virginia campus ever! Engaged a ton of individuals who were asking about getting active, going veg, etc., as evidenced by the dozens of Guides handed out.
—Jon Camp, 1/18/12

New record at the University of North Florida, where I reached over 1,500 students. Good reception; e.g., I saw one student stop in his tracks to read the pamphlet, and then he found a bench so he could sit to continue reading. A different student handed me a pro-veg flier he had made, and thanked me for leafleting.
—Lana Smithson, 1/18/12

From a recent batch of Guide requests:

Someone at the University of British Columbia was handing out your Compassionate Choices booklet. As a result, I have decided to become a vegan.
—SC

Because of your booklet, I’ve decided to go vegan. Keep up the great work.
—SN

New veggie at UAM Iztapalapa
Went veg at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Iztapalapa.

I was given the brochure at El Camino College. I was really struck by the stories and the pictures so I want to give it a try. I love animals and I didn’t know about the procedure farms use to raise them. It is so cruel and sad that I had contributed to this horror. So I want to help by not purchasing animal products. Thank you.
—OM

A young lady in Chicago, IL at my school (Malcolm X College) was passing out literature. I was very interested in this lifestyle change.
—ST

Someone handed me a pamphlet at Harvard University. It was just what I needed – I’ve been struggling for a while with the question of whether to return to vegetarianism or not, and this information was just what I needed to inspire me to go for it. It was really encouraging that the pamphlet said it’s okay to make exceptions occasionally if that will make a mostly vegetarian diet more sustainable for you. Taking it one day at a time is much less intimidating than the idea of never ever eating any meat again ever. Thank you so much for helping me do this!
—CL

 

Israel Arriola and Cesarin Lopez Arriola

More from Mexico:

Great outreach at Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico City, where we reached almost 2,000 students at the school’s bus stop / metro station. Captive audience = score! Jeni quickly made friends with the man in charge of the bus stop, and he expressed a lot of interest in going veg; they left hugging and exchanging emails.
     Today at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Iztapalapa, Israel’s 13-year-old nephew, Cesarin (right, with Israel), joined us – it was great to have his help. We reached 3,100 more students. Again, countless people reading the booklets. People came back to ask for another leaflet or a few for family and friends. Many wanted to get involved with Anima Naturalis, so Israel was busy. One student wants him to give a talk, so they exchanged info. A professor (talking with Israel below) asked for more leaflets to give to his students, and he thanked us for leafleting. A few other students said “good job” or patted us on the back. Too many conversations to get into it – just massive interest in the booklets.
—Vic Sjodin & Jeni Haines, 2/15/12

Israel Arriola and UAM professor

CUNY John Jay is amazing. I had students tell me they were learning about factory farming in their classes, while other students came up to ask me for the information. Also heard from many people who had gotten a leaflet the last time I was there.
     Chris and I reached 1,600 students at Nassau Community College today, and had loads of great interactions. Yet another student said he was learning about factory farming in their environmental science class. He said it was the main topic of the semester.
—Katie Pryor, 11/28/11

High take rate and high interest rate at Paradise Valley Community College, where Kirby and I reached over 700 students. People were appalled by factory farming and many committed to making changes in their diet! I even got a hug from one student who was deeply touched.
     Today, Ardita, Ioana, Jeff, Jessica, Kelsey, Kirby, Stephanie, Zubair, and I reached 3,700 more at Arizona State – there are definitely going to be some new vegetarians in Tempe! E.g., one girl even said that it made her want to cry, so I gave her a Guide for her path to veg.
—John Oberg, 11/29/11

CNU students
At Christopher Newport U, these students stopped by to tell John how they never knew much about factory farming before, and they were really moved by the booklet.

Awesome morning at Florida International University, where lots of people said they were already veg. One woman told me she was going to work on being vegan. My favorite for the day was a couple of students who came back after taking leaflets and said, “I’m going vegetarian!” I asked, “Really?” One guy said, “After looking at these pictures? Definitely!” They were rushing to a class to go take a test, but they came back by for a Guide.
—Linda Bower, 12/1/11

At St. Louis Community College in Wildwood, I had a great interaction with the security guard who hung out at my table; he is 70 and has been vegan his entire life! He even helped do some outreach.
     I want to echo the voices of my colleagues, and remark that I, too, have noticed a significant reduction in student antagonism toward what we are doing, as well as what seems a better acceptance rate. I think that this is reflected in my numbers this semester. It is gratifying to see this difference that we are gradually making, and we have our generous donors to thank for making this change possible!
—Rick Hershey, 12/1/11

Jessica, Josh, Yvonne, and I all got great feedback at Pasadena Community College, where we reached 3,421 more students. Josh got two vegan conversions in less than 45 minutes, while making connections left and right! Beautiful way to kick off the new year!
—Nikki Benoit, 1/9/12

Ellen Green
Pomona-bound lifelong vegan Ellen Green helps pave the way for U of AZ-bound classmates.

It felt wonderful to leaflet again now that school is back in session; Nettie and I reached 1,385 students at Chemeketa Community College. One student told us that there’s a nutrition professor there who teaches “this,” showing videos, etc., and most of the people who take the class end up becoming vegetarian. Nettie met someone who got a booklet two years ago and went vegan. I met a young man who is vegan. He says that during his first couple of months as a vegan he was really angry with people who weren’t vegan, but he’s doing better now. I gave him an A Meaningful Life and showed him The Animal Activist’s Handbook.
—Cobie deLespinasse, 1/9/12

A solid day at Northern Virginia Community College, where I reached over 900 students. One guy let me know that he read the booklet and that it really got him thinking; I gave him a Guide. Also, I got the contact info for two individuals interested in getting involved. Incidentally, I received an email last week from a student who got a booklet from me the last time I was at this school. She has since gone from veg to vegan and now wants to get more active.
—Jon Camp, 1/10/12

At the MLK parade, Lynn, Ann, and I handed 650 people copies of Compassionate Choices – I had only three people turn me down! We all had great conversations with folks who had no idea animals were raised so horrifically, and many asked what they could do to help the “poor animals.”
—Lisa Shapiro, 1/16/12

Leslie Patterson

Katie, Leslie, Tiana, and I had a great time at Las Positas College, where we reached 1,498 students, totally saturating the school! People walked by me with their brochure open and their faces pressed to the pages. I made sure to thank them for checking it out. Also met another woman interested in getting involved.
—Brian Grupe, 1/17/12

In the 20s with snowy wind that almost knocked me down three times, but was able to reach 666 students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Met 10 vegetarians / vegans, and had surprisingly good reception, given the weather and the number of times I’ve leafleted here.
—Joe Espinosa, 1/17/12

Our message of non-violence seemed to resonate with many at DePaul University, and Joe and I were aided by the strong presence of Monsignor Egan (above), whose statue is inscribed with the question, “What are you doing for justice?” I heard from several young people who had stopped eating animals, and many eagerly accepted Guides. One woman told me her whole office was trying veganism together!
—Leslie Patterson, 1/16/12

 

Emily
Katie reports Emily immediately went vegan after receiving a booklet last semester at Queensborough Community College.

Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México is a small campus, but the outreach was amazing. We each grabbed an entrance, and everybody in or out got a booklet. Israel also left a few booklets fanned out at the front desk in the library and on an info booth; we saw one student grab one, show it to her friend, and read it cover to cover. We saw many other people reading the booklets cover to cover in the main square. Never seen such a reception!
     Outreach in Mexico has been overwhelmingly successful thus far. Many, many conversations with people who have been immediately impacted by the power of the literature. Prior to our arrival, I had apprehensions (riddled with excitement, of course) about pioneering Vegan Outreach’s work here in Mexico. The response, however, has transcended all my expectations. Even today, after distributing a booklet to a young woman, I immediately heard her say, “Hay que ser vegetariano!” (You gotta go veg!) And this is certainly not the first statement of this kind that I’ve heard.
     Israel has been an indescribably amazing host and fantastic activist. His family has kept us well fed with delicious vegan Mexican food and tropical fruits.
     Bienvenidos a la revolución, amigos!
—Jeni Haines & Vic Sjodin, 2/9/12

Ashley
Nikki sends this picture of Ashley, who got a booklet six years ago at Laney College and has been vegan since.

Freezing cold turning to sleet, but we had a fabulous day at CUNY Lehman College. New leafleter Meghan joined me before her classes at Bronx Science High School, and then Lisa showed up. We met so many vegans and vegetarians, handing out a bunch of Guides! Lisa made a new leafleting contact for us and also spoke with one girl who had veered away from vegetarianism but is now going back.
—Katie Pryor, 2/16/12

Fantastic day of outreach with Johanna, Matt, and Jenny at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo! A number of students requested more information to get on the vegan path. Other great interactions included a 1-week vegetarian who seemed a little lost about what to eat, how to get enough protein, etc.; a nutrition major who has been thinking about going veg and who wants to get involved with our outreach; a professor who is interested in having Matt come to speak to his class. I had a worthwhile conversation with a guy who initially thought human overpopulation was the main problem. I told him about the 9+ billion land animals in the U.S. who are unnecessarily brought onto the planet each year and how resources could be saved if we didn’t raise them to eat them. When I gave him a Guide, he took it enthusiastically, started paging through it and said, “This is just what I needed!” I also gave him tips on tasty veggie meats to try. He made his veg pledge so earnestly and was so grateful for the info, it just made me smile.
—Barbara Bear, 2/17/12

Such a positive day of outreach at Gateway Community College! Small school, but I reached over 500 students. Several leafletees expressed outrage at the atrocities of factory farming, and one woman even began crying and pledged to go veg on the spot.
—John Oberg, 11/21/11

At the University of New Hampshire, one student exclaimed, “You just changed my life!” I also overheard a woman tell her friend, “This [booklet] will be perfect for the paper I am writing.” Later, a different student also mentioned writing a persuasive paper against factory farming, and she thanked me for the information. An ag student came over and asked me for a leaflet. He said it is interesting and good information. He called the system “messed up.”
—Lana Smithson, 11/28/11

Jonathan Hussain
Jonathan Hussain (L) answers questions at Fresno City College.

At St. Louis Community College, one vegetarian student said they were blessed by my presence and thanked me for being out there in the cold. A vegan instructor invited me to give a presentation to her class. One student asked me what he could eat if he didn’t eat meat. Another student said that she found the booklet disturbing and was going to reduce her meat consumption. I heard from a student who is giving a presentation on factory farming to her class tomorrow. I gave her 25 Even If You Like Meat booklets for her class.
—Rick Hershey, 12/1/11

Amazing take rate at Estrella Mountain Community College – I was there an hour before I got my first “no.” Phoenix was amazing, too; together, we reached over 700 students. One man took a Compassionate Choices early in the day, and came back hours later to talk with us. He told us that it only seemed reasonable to stop consuming animals. I gave him a Guide and he seemed really excited!
—Kirby Mauro, 11/30/11

After Westmont College, I reached nearly 1,300 students at UC Santa Barbara. Within my first 15 minutes, Connor biked up to me saying his booklet tipped the scales for him this morning, and as of that second, he’s a vegetarian. Too cool! Gave him a Guide. A German teacher stopped back to say how sad the information was. We chatted about sustainable changes and how we’re all a part of the system – good or bad.
—Nikki Benoit, 12/1/11

COM student
Brian reports that since getting a VO booklet three years ago, this College of Marin student and his girlfriend have been veg.

At East Tennessee State, an athletic dude took a booklet, sighed, and said, “This is so discouraging.” I asked him what was discouraging about it and he said that it’s so sad reading about animal suffering, because animals are so innocent and helpless. I told him that I agreed that it was very sad, but the purpose of the booklet was to be encouraging, that we could see something bad, do something good, and play a role in rectifying the situation. He agreed and thanked me for the information.
     Later, a woman came up and asked about religion. I said our group consists of devout Christians, followers of other belief systems, and some who weren’t men or women of faith. I went on that the great thing about this cause is that it is – and should be – embraced by people of various political and religious beliefs. Moreover, I didn’t think a merciful God would have given animals the capacity to feel pain if they were intended to spend their lives in the conditions that they now spend their lives, and that our current treatment was definitely not good stewardship (a term she appreciated and that resonated with her). We discussed a number of other things such as Matthew Scully, the Garden of Eden being essentially vegan, etc. She appreciated my points, knowledge of her faith, and my hearing her out. It was a productive conversation.
—Jon Camp, 12/1/11

 

FCC student
At Fresno City College, another veg-on-the-spot!

Leafleting Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move talk was spectacular! A mostly African-American crowd leaving the church; we were literally surrounded by a sea of hands asking for literature, with some people coming back for a booklet when they realized what we were handing out.
—Jeff Boghosian, 2/11/12

Yesterday was our first day of taking farmed animals’ plight to Mexico. Jeni and I were joined by our host Israel, and we reached 400 students at the local high school, Escuela Preparatoria de Texcoco. To my pleasant surprise, we found massive interest in the booklets. Saw dozens reading between classes or walking and reading. One student came back to us and said he wanted to volunteer and get involved; we put him in touch with Israel. Another student came back and said this was really crazy, he has been thinking of going veg for a while and now he will. Another professor or teacher expressed interest, and we spoke to him for over 15 minutes.
     Today: What a day! We reached 2,200 at Metropolitan University, and met around 15 people who explicitly told us they were vegano or vegetarian. A truly ridiculous number of people were reading as they walked to and from lunch. Saw a girl on the back of a bike with long seat holding herself on with legs while both hands had booklet open and pressed against her boyfriend’s back and she read as they slowly cruised down the walkway. Many showed us the booklet hours later, several asked for more to show friends, and many more came back to get the booklets when they found out we were distributing them.
     Great conversations, too! Adriel stopped by and we spoke to him for a few minutes til we handed him off to Israel; they spoke for 45 minutes, he wants to get involved locally and I asked if he wanted to help and boom, instant activist. He stayed and reached 250 students with ¿Por qué vegetariano?
—Vic Sjodin, with Jeni Haines, 2/8/12

FCC student
Another Fresno City College student whose life was changed after being handed a VO booklet.

From a recent batch of Guide requests:

A guy handed me a booklet at school, so I read it. I’m glad I did, otherwise I would have probably never known the shocking facts. Thank you!
—KJ

I saw a booklet about the cruelties of factory farming by chance. It changed my life.
—EP

Was handed a booklet at Disneyland, and haven’t eaten meat ever since, trying to do even better than that. :) Thank you.
—GB

I was on campus and was handed a booklet. I always wanted to go vegan I just never knew how to get started. Thanks so much!
—JP

Received a booklet from a friend about a year ago. Loved it! Inspired me to become vegan. :)
—HW

Lori, Lisa, Mike and I had a very productive day at Foothill College, where we reached a record 1,623 students (including handing out an amazing 92 Guides). The take rate was excellent, and almost everyone was friendly. I had conversations with omnivores who were interested in becoming vegetarians, and vegetarians considering becoming vegan. One woman said she’d probably be vegan, but she enjoys baking too much to give it up. She honestly didn’t know she could bake without eggs and dairy! I was delighted to give her a Guide and let her know there are plenty of vegan baking cookbooks and websites. Another student wanted to know how becoming vegan had impacted me personally. I probably made him late to class with that one. :-) Another person thanked me for being there. I left feeling really positive!
—Diane Gandee Sorbi, 11/1/11

Jackiie DeLexa Cano
Jackiie DeLexa Cano answers questions at the College of the Sequoias.

Citrus College is amazing. This campus never fails to produce at least one new vegan with each visit. Today’s was named Laura, and she was in only one of the three “spark flying” conversations I had!
—Nikki Benoit, 11/14/11

Great interactions at the University of West Georgia; e.g., as I was leaving, a student told me she became vegetarian because of a VO booklet someone handed her. I gave her a Guide.
—Rob Gilbride, 11/14/11

Love when you meet someone new to veganism while leafleting and they are super stoked to meet another vegan. It’s a good feeling to know that just by meeting them you helped solidify their veganism.
—Aaron & Kate, 2/10/12

Superb take rate and friendly students at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Even most faculty and staff took booklets. Amazing conversations, too. I told many students my story about how I became vegan and that I made the change primarily for animals, many of whom suffer from the moment they are born until the day they die in the industrialized food system. One faculty member took ten booklets to put on display in his office. Another faculty member who took a booklet earlier in the day passed by again and thanked me for the info.
—Brandon Becker, 11/14/11

Brittney Montana
Nikki sends this picture of Brittney Montana, who went vegan last year after receiving a VO booklet, and is now a leafleter (here at the College of the Desert).

Jessica, Leslie, Diane, Danielle (making her leafleting debut), and I reached over 2,000 students at City College of San Francisco – what a great vegan posse! I then gave a talk at Sonoma State. The presentation went on for an hour and after I was finished, the professor talked to the class about for a minute while I packed up. She asked the class how many would be willing to do Meatless Mondays, and about ¾ of the class raised their hands. I also found out that one of the most inquisitive and supportive students in the class grew up on a ranch. He was the one to pipe up and say that small farms are not the solution because of the amount of demand we have as a nation. He also said he’s worried about going to his grandparent’s cattle ranch this week. “It’s going to be weird being around the animals.”
—Brian Grupe, 11/15/11

 

Corey
Brian reports: “Corey got a booklet years ago and went veg. He then got another booklet this August at UC Berkeley and has been vegan ever since.”

A post to the Adopt a College email list:

Sometimes my posts from the road don’t list many details, often because I’m tired after a day of driving and leafleting and because I’ve actually gotten used to how positive leafleting is. I’ve gotten used to the surreal drop in antagonism over the years, the large number of students who thumb through the booklets and tell me this is an important issue, the large number of kids who tell me that the booklet really got them thinking, that they’re now vegetarian or vegan (often as a result of our work), etc. The most important change is often the silent change – individuals mulling over new ideas and figuring out how to go forward with the moral conflict that has been brought to their attention. So while it would be exciting to say otherwise, a lot of this work is just getting out there, getting the right materials in the right hands, and letting individuals think through these things on their own terms – which they do.
     As always, I can’t thank you donors enough for your trust in this work, your smarts to realize this is important work that changes society, and your dedication in working a steady job and setting aside funds to help ensure a brighter future for animals. And as I’ve said before, traveling a lot can be physically and emotionally taxing. But it’s a lot easier to keep my spirits high when my inbox is continually flooded by outreach reports from all of you on this list who really walk the walk and use your limited time to push the ball forward for animals.
—Jon Camp, 11/23/11

Absolutely fantastic acceptance rate at Bakersfield High School and Bakersfield College. At the college, a guy stopped to tell me that he had gone veg after getting a booklet from us at the Warped Tour a few years ago. He now has a two-year-old daughter and she has never eaten meat! Two lives changed from one brochure! Another guy was listening to our conversation and came up to me afterwards and said he had done a fast recently, specifically cutting out meat. He also had a 15-month-old daughter (random!) and her nutrition is a top priority for him, so he got a Guide as well. Very cool to have these two conversations back to back.
—Brian Grupe, 2/6/12

Cristina Cruz
Cristina Cruz answers questions from a South Texas College student.

I was leafleting on the sidewalk at Morehouse College (a private school), when a man named Mr. Walkins asked me what I was handing out. I explained what it was and he said, “I went to school here with Martin Luther King. Come on campus, he wouldn’t mind. No one will bother you, you are with me. I know people.” He was waving at people, shaking hands and smiling at folks as I leafleted a bunch of students (a high school crowd, too). He even leafleted a few students as well.
—Rob Gilbride, 11/9/11

I got tons of thank yous at CUNY Hostos, with students waiting for the booklet when I couldn’t get to them in time. Many people who passed the first time only to request the information from me on their way out. Others asked for an extra copy to take home to their children or other family members. One professor stopped and told me that he showed the film Food, Inc. in his classroom. After speaking to him, he spoke to one of his students right in front of me, telling her about the horrors of factory farms. One lady didn’t take a booklet at first but stood and spoke to me about how much she loved her dog. I explained to her that I love dogs, too, but my love doesn’t stop there. After I explained to her why I am vegan, she took a leaflet and said she would read it, consider it, and even share it with her son.
—Katie Pryor, 11/15/11

Tina, Mary, Jamie, John, Jennifer, and I reached nearly 1,500 more students at Northern Illinois University. One woman said that she went vegan after getting a VO booklet last semester – sweet! One of Jennifer’s friends took the booklet after she gave him a hard time for turning her down; he contacted her that night and asked for more info on how he could start a vegetarian diet. Awesome.
—Jon Bockman, 11/15/11

Crystal Gordon
Crystal Gordon takes advantage of warm weather at Central Michigan University.

Cold but excellent day at Harold Washington College – very receptive students. Within minutes, a vegan woman thanked me for the work. A couple students asked about volunteering. Others stopped with questions about the booklets, or said they care about animals and told me they are interested in moving toward vegetarianism. One girl told me proudly she just went veg a month ago. I ran out of booklets at 1:50, having only been able to bring 1,000 with me on the train.
—Leslie Patterson, 11/16/11

At Heritage University, I spoke with a Yakima tribe student who said some powerful things about how he sees industrial farming (it’s a nightmare). Other students listening in as he spoke. Coolest conversation I’ve had in a while.
—Caleb Wheeldon, 11/15/11

Met over a dozen vegetarians / vegans at the University of Minnesota, where Mike, Sen, and I reached over 1,900 students. Also met a woman who went veg after getting a VO booklet before. This was Mike’s first time leafleting. He did an excellent job and had a good take rate. He said at first he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to do it. He tried it and immediately saw how easy it was to get leaflets into students’ hands. We can definitely expect more from him in the future.
—Fred Tyler, 11/14/11

At Miami Dade’s InterAmerican Campus, there were many moments I wished I had a camera, as many students stopped in their tracks to read the booklets. Most seemed to be seeing this information for the first time, and so I’m sure many today gave consideration to animals in a way they had never before. Always such a great sight to see!
—Yuri Mitzkewich, 11/22/11

Emily Vanneman
Emily Vanneman provides the animals a voice at Chico State.

At North Carolina A&T State, Markie got a booklet from me earlier in the day, read it, and came back and asked if there was any volunteering he could do. I asked if he wanted to help me leaflet the campus and he gladly agreed. Another student came back to say he got a booklet earlier in the day and was converted. I heard other comments from those who said it was “sad” or “interesting”; I was able to offer a Guide to many of them, as well as to others interested in learning more or already vegetarian or vegan. I had a long conversation with a student who said she had lots of friends and extended family members who were vegetarian or vegan but still wasn’t sure whether she wanted to make the change. We talked about the sentience of fishes, vegan substitutes, living in a non-vegan society, “happy” animal products, etc. She left with a Guide.
—Brandon Becker, 11/19/11

 

New vegetarian Daniel
Daniel went veg after getting a booklet at Cal Poly Pomona last semester.

Tyler, Jenna, Frank, Mike, Austin, Steve, and I reached 700 young people in only 45 minutes at the Chinatown Parade. Even telling people it was a booklet about animal cruelty, I know we could have reached a lot more people if we had brought more booklets.
—Kenny Torrella, 1/29/12

I spent my lunch in front of John Jay College. One woman stopped dead in her tracks halfway down the block and read the whole thing right there. I brought her a Guide and spoke to her a bit. She seemed very surprised and concerned about the implications of her food choices. Another woman doubled back after receiving her booklet, asking for several more to give to the young people in her life.
—Lisa Hines, 1/27/12

At Portland State, Cobie, Nettie, and I met a ton of veg students who are excited to get things moving on this campus, including two women who hope to work with the school’s animal rights club, and others who would like to get leafleting for Vegan Outreach. I also met briefly with the campus environmental group, and gave them each an Even If You Like Meat, and left a stack of Guides for them. I also met the amazing Jessika, who has been using the 30 minutes between her classes to hand out booklets at PSU regularly.
     Cobie met a man who wondered out loud how anyone could eat meat after reading our lit. We agreed!
—Caleb Wheeldon, 11/9/11

CSUEB student
Another CSU East Bay student is engrossed in learning the truth, after getting a booklet from Brian.

Good interactions at Oklahoma State, where I reached over 1,000 students. One woman told me the booklet would probably push her to being veg. Reached almost 1,000 again today at the University of Oklahoma, with loads of good conversations. Met two soon-to-be vegetarians!
—Jeni Haines, 10/18/11

Cabrillo College was great! I met Macie last time there, and she ditched some class to help out. I presented to Jasmin’s high school animal rights group a few years ago and now she goes to Cabrillo. She also got out of class to help. There are tons of vegans / vegetarians, but more importantly, there are lots of students who are not yet veg but who are very interested in the material. Definitely had some great conversations.
     Before hitting American High School, I had lunch with my friend and great VO supporter, Keyur. We are both nuts about being as productive as possible and like to read a lot about the subject. We chatted about this at lunch and I have since been motivated to develop a new strategy to be as productive as possible with my time.
     Today at Cal State East Bay, I handed a VO booklet to my 300,000th person. It was an awesome feeling. I like that if someone asks me what I’ve been doing the last four years I can point them to my Adopt a College profile and they can see where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished.
—Brian Grupe, 11/4/11

 

Emma Tamayo
Emma Tamayo spreads sunshine and compassion at UC Davis.

So very worthwhile to leaflet at the Chandler-Gilbert Community College! Michael, Marisol, and I encountered many awesome, receptive students and reached 750+ in such a short amount of time. Also a number of already veg. Fantastic! I very much look forward to reaching out to more students on this campus. Such a great experience!
—Veronica Soto, 1/19/12

Kara, Tiana, Javier, Vic, and I brought our positive attitudes and smiles to UC Berkeley, and the rewards were great! Despite the cold and rain – and it being a Friday – we reached over 1,000 students. I met a young man who received the brochure last semester and has significantly reduced his meat consumption. We had a quick chat and he was excited to receive a Guide. Vic met a young lady who read the whole Even If You Like Meat booklet and said she is going to go vegan!
—Brian Grupe, 1/20/12

An incredible day at Bronx Community College, where I reached over 800 students! I saw so many students reading the booklet and met numerous people who were interested in finding out more information, which I gave them! One girl said she has been meaning to try to go vegan. One student wanted more booklets for a paper he was doing. Another student wanted more booklets for a presentation she was doing on this topic. It seems like at almost every school I encounter students who are not only learning about factory farming, but are also presenting this information to their classmates! Amazing.
—Katie Pryor, 11/3/11

A woman at the College of Southern Idaho asked me for a copy of Compassionate Choices, having seen other students with it. She was in Future Farmers of America, and we had a nice chat about how awful factory farming is. She plans to be veg once a week now.
—Caleb Wheeldon, 10/31/11

Christine
Christine at Chaffey College: “I got one of those last semester. It changed my life.”

Reached over 2,000 more students at Rutgers. I met a nice young lady who got a booklet last year, is veg and now heads up an animal rights campus group. She said that “most people just don’t know,” as was the case with her.
—Casey, 11/14/11

Quick but good leafleting at the University of Chicago, where one of the vegetarians let me know that it was getting a booklet from us in the past that moved her to stop eating meat.
—Joe Espinosa, 11/4/11

Great week in Canada with John, Ali, and Dave, where we reached 11,152 students at the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, York University, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto!
—David Coman-Hidy, 11/5/11

Reached 2,150 students at Towson University, Howard Community College, and CCBC Essex. We met so many students who are already veg, including three who went veg from receiving a leaflet last semester, two of which are now vegan.
—Aaron and Kate, 11/4/11

Parade attendee
After reading the booklet he got at the MLK parade, this man told Nikki, “Yeah, we wouldn’t like being abused and eaten, either.”

Wendy and I had 80%+ reception rate at Southern Connecticut State. A biology professor accepted one, took five steps, turned back, and asked for a bunch to give at the biology department. Katie and Melissa received pamphlets on their way to class, and came back when it was over to help.
—Eitan Fischer, 11/8/11

Cassandre joined me at the University of South Carolina, and we reached 2,100 students. I gave a talk that evening that was well attended and well received. I’ve been floored by how little antagonism I receive these days and how much interest there is for this issue. The times they are a-changin’!
—Jon Camp, 11/9/11

Teresa and I met many vegetarians at the University of Hartford, where we reached 1,482 students. Great, great discussions, including a professor interested in having us speak to his class. Best part was when a group of four students said they had already received a booklet, and I asked what they thought. One of the girls turned back and said she just turned vegetarian!
—Karen James, 11/8/11

 

Leslie Goldberg and friend
Leslie Goldberg with new friend at CSU East Bay.

Tonight, I went out with a few HSUS employees and interns. I told one intern what I did (college leafleting) and she let me know that she was handed a VO booklet back in 2006 at the Auraria campus in Denver. She not only went vegan as a result of it, but is now heavily involved in activism and is looking to do it full-time. Viva VO!
—Jon Camp, 12/30/11

Better acceptance than I expected at the University of Illinois, Chicago, where I reached over 800 students. Heard from 15 vegetarians and six vegans. I was pleased to see a wide range of students were receptive to my request to help stop violence, including many very large athletic guys. Also heard from a student who let me know that getting the booklet from me two years ago inspired her to drop meat.
—Joe Espinosa, 1/10/12

While reaching 400 students at the University of British Columbia, I met one student who said it was a VO booklet that got her to go vegan!
—John Sakars, 1/12/12

Awesome at Bellevue College. I chatted with a young African-American woman who I’d met on my last visit. She immediately ran up to me, talked about the Christian Vegetarian Association booklet I had given her, and how she was working on going veg. Then today, after leafleting Seattle U, I was in the Starbucks across the street and heard two students discussing their booklet. I chimed in and encouraged them to look up even more information online.
—Caleb Wheeldon, 1/11/12

Yvonne LeGrice
Yvonne LeGrice makes the animals’ case at Pasadena City College.

Spectacular day with Theo at Sacramento State! We were joined by Emma, a new vegan we had met Tuesday at Sacramento City College. She took to leafleting like a pro, and had many positive conversations with interested folks. Two members of Sacramento Animal Rights also joined us. I had one of the most positive, intense conversations of the semester with a young lady I saw reading the booklet three different times. I finally stopped her to ask her what she thought, and we spent the next 15 minutes talking about everything.
     Today, I can’t even describe the feeling I had while walking to my car after reaching over 900 students at Sierra College! Progress by tremendous leaps and bounds at this school in the past four years! Great conversations with interested and aware people; got a massive hug from a young lady who loudly proclaimed that she was vegan and loved me.
—Brian Grupe, 10/31/11

Thanks to Jeff for getting us permission to leaflet Phoenix College, where Kirby and I met with 80–90% acceptance and reached almost 1,500 students. I spoke with a woman who expressed her love for animals. She was given a Guide and was quite moved. I also reiterated that utopian farms don’t exist and going veg isn’t as extreme as it seems – it’s simply applying values she already has to her eating habits.
—John Oberg, 10/31/11

Matt Zavortink
Matt Zavortink reaches out for the animals at UC Davis.

811 students at the University of Nebraska, Omaha got Even If You Like Meat booklets; also handed out 12 Guides, including some to vegetarians interested in veganism. One guy came back and asked, “Do the pigs have it the worst? Cause I can stop eating pork.” When I told him that chickens and pigs had to endure the worst cruelties, he said, “OK, that’s something I can work with.” We talked about how he could start transitioning to a more plant-based diet. I gave him a Guide – he was excited to try some new meal ideas.
—Fred Tyler, 11/1/11

Mike and I had some good reactions yesterday at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. One of our friends from the Green Club said she heard a girl in the cafeteria discussing the booklet with her friend, proclaiming, “Well, I’m going vegetarian now.” Talked to two older men who initially made jokes about chicken fingers when they received a Compassionate Choices, but then opened up more as I kept a friendly tone while talking to them. One of these guys then said, “Well, keep up the good work and I’ll remain sympathetic to your cause.” A step forward for them! Another guy held up the booklet and smiled at us as he walked away, “I totally agree with this!” We also met a student who wants to help us hand out booklets.
—Jenni Moody, 11/2/11

Spoke to a bunch of vegans, vegetarians, and loads of interested people. Great conversations with cat / dog people. One of the vegetarians I met told me she went vegetarian because of getting a Compassionate Choices leaflet!
—Chris Parrucci, 11/3/11

Lisa Towell
Lisa Towell helps a Stanford student learn how to lead a meaningful life.

Good talks at the University of Delaware, where we reached 3,400 students. One student that we leafleted came back to us later in the day and said she is going to try vegetarian. Another student said he went vegan after reading a Compassionate Choices last semester!
—Aaron and Kate, 11/3/11

After we reached 1,625 students at the University of Texas, Arlington, we took an amazing field trip to the unbelievable vegan cafeteria at the University of North Texas in Denton. The food was absolutely amazing, and there are beautiful and inspiring pro-veg messages decorating the walls. I seriously could not believe it. (Huge variety of delicious cooked foods meant I didn’t even look at the salad bar; two types of vegan pizza, one with pesto and one with Daiya; vegan rice krispie treats and soft-serve ice cream…incredible.) The UTA students hooked up a dinner tour and meeting with their dining services folks, who are incredibly helpful and kind and willing to work with students and other school cafeterias to help them get more vegan options. I asked him how it happened that UNT now has an all-vegan cafeteria, and he said it was really because students were requesting it. When you meet supportive students in your outreach, I encourage you to mention to them the importance of filling out comment cards, meeting with the dining services and organizing with other students to get more vegan options. If they can do this in Texas, they can do it wherever you’re leafleting.
—Nora Kramer, 11/3/11

 

Shopper
A shopper is engrossed in learning the truth after getting a booklet from Nikki.

Nine of us reached 2,440 more people at Phoenix’s Art Walk! Several people said, “Your booklets already made me veg!” Another couple wanted to start leafleting with us. Michael joined us for the first time. He recently went veg after having to re-roof a factory farm for work. He said the things he saw were so traumatic he had to take the rest of the day off and instantly went veg.
—Rachael Plotts, 1/6/12

Theo and I set records at both Sacramento City College and Franklin High School – nearly 2,500 students reached today. I had so many conversations at SCC, insanity. We’ve made such progress at this school in the last four years. I remember whole days of never meeting even one vegetarian; today we met close to 40 vegetarians / vegans and even more on their way towards it.
—Brian Grupe, 10/26/11

The University of Mississippi was one of the most positive leafleting experiences I’ve ever had! The response was wonderful, and I met so many people who were genuinely interested in our message. I even got invited to go speak to a food policy class, so I jumped on the opportunity and had an amazing conversation with the students. Students were so engaged that I ended up speaking for more than twice my allotted time in order to answer all the questions. The professor is really interested in Vegan Outreach, even though he comes from a family who raises cows for beef. I had such great feedback, and when I left, everyone was profusely thanking me for coming to their class and telling me how much they loved hearing about these issues. Seriously, it was one of the most productive, proactive conversations I have ever had.
—Jeni Haines, 10/26/11

At Foreman High School, I had a chat with one of the deans of the school, who also happened to head an “animal club.” She took booklets to distribute to the club and in class. A most worthwhile morning!
—Jon Bockman, 10/26/11

Mario
Nikki Benoit reports, last Wednesday at Santa Monica College, Mario went veg on the spot, and then helped change more lives!
Mario

Can you guess the topic I chose for my persuasive speech? It went really well, talked for about six minutes about animal cruelty on factory farms. I held my kitchen knife up and said if you wouldn't take this knife and slice the throat of a cat or dog then ask yourself, why do it to 27 chickens a year when there are vegetarian versions that are just as good, protein-packed (earlier there was a bodybuilding classmate telling us to eat more chicken), and available at virtually every grocery store? I’ve already had one-on-one conversations with 5 of the 19 other people that were in class yesterday, so of the 14 other people in class, all but two eagerly took a Guide and VegPhoenix restaurant guide! About a month ago I did my informative speech on factory farming, and it turns out my professor has been vegetarian since!
—John Oberg, 10/27/11

Lisa and I had an amazing day at Queensborough Community College, where we handed out 1,567 booklets (including 17 Guides). Spoke with many interested students, including three specifically interested in going vegan, and three others interested in helping leaflet.
—Katie Pryor, 11/1/11

Very high reception rate at Indiana University at South Bend. An older student said getting a booklet from me last year moved him to stop eating meat.
—Joe Espinosa, 11/1/11

Whoa! Unexpected delights at Cornerstone University and Calvin College! Hanna happily mentioned going vegan after getting a booklet last year from me. One student asked: “Are you from Vegan Outreach too?” and gave me a big hug. He had also hugged and thanked Mara earlier. At Calvin, I was stopped by an assistant pastor; we talked for maybe 20 minutes. He said a few people were disturbed by the pictures, so I had to whip out the instant classic, “If it’s not good enough for your eyes, why is it good enough for your stomach?” He surprised me and asked for booklets for his reading group.
—Vic Sjodin, 10/28/11

Joyce Gibbler
Joyce Gibbler answers questions at CSU Stanislaus.

Pretty cold day at Idaho State. One woman called me a blessing in disguise, as she has been thinking about going vegetarian. I gave her a Guide and the address of the local natural food store, as well as the name and address of a local diner with a good veggie burger. A young ecology student told me he has been thinking about his diet’s impact on the planet but that he loves steak; so I encouraged him to try being vegan except for steak, which he said he’d try. I also spoke with two students who declared that they were going to try Meatless Mondays and skipped off to see what the dining hall had coming up. So cool!
—Caleb Wheeldon, 10/28/11

Northeastern Illinois University was awesome! The students were very receptive, hardly any negative comments, and lots of good conversations. I talked to one guy who used to be vegetarian who said he wanted to get back into it since his mom is more veg-friendly now. Danyelle had a good conversation with a professor, and one professor yelled back to me while walking away: “Thank you, I’m about to lecture on this!” I also connected with two different people from the campus radio station who both expressed interest in interviewing me, so that was great.
—Kenny Torrella, 11/1/11

 

I just got your fantastic booklet from a young man at school today. What was contained within shocked and disturbed me, and really opened my eyes. Thanks a lot – you’re really reaching out to stomp ignorance.
—ES, 12/16/11

Cici Ellis
Cici Ellis opens another heart at the University of Texas San Antonio.

An amazing day at CUNY York, where Chris and I reached over 1,400 students. Many people came back and asked for a booklet, or copies to give to friends. We saw countless students reading the booklets as they waited to cross the street. We also received plenty of kudos for being there.
—Katie Pryor, 10/25/11

At Glendale Community College, John, Kirby, and Anon had amazing conversations with folks and one of the best days for outreach this fall in the Phoenix area – nearly 2,000 more students reached. Several people pledged to go veg and countless more said that they are going to reduce their meat consumption.
—Jeff Boghosian, 10/28/11

At the University of Houston, my brother Marc and I reached 1,377 more students; I will return home without a single booklet! In the last four weeks, with amazing volunteer help, 26,107 students were given a booklet at 20 different schools. Thanks a million to everyone on this list who housed me and leafleted with me.
     Also, I can’t thank you donors enough. VO’s work isn’t the most glamorous, but neither are most of the things that ultimately do the most good for others, and you understand this. When I started working for VO, I was the sole traveling leafleter. It’s been amazing to watch our program grow with each passing year, to the point that we’ve got multiple people on the road at any given point, at the very least hitting about every state each semester, saturating many of them. There are so many more students we need to reach, but we’ve come a long, long way, totally due to your unwavering devotion to this work.
     Lastly, thanks so much to everyone who plugs away, week after week. I draw so much inspiration from all of you. Leafleting for hours on end, traveling long distances, using vacation days, not always knowing what type of people we’re going to be dealing with but being strong and having faith in a better world and getting out to reach out to people anyway. This is not easy, it can be exhausting, but you do it because you know that there is a great injustice going on and you’re willing to give your all to help right this wrong. The world is so much better because of your tireless work, and I have the utmost respect for all of you.
—Jon Camp, 10/26/11

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