Music, food and an opportunity to meet new people were the themes of The Pierce College Vegan Societies first Potluck in the Great Hall on Friday April 22 coinciding with Earth Day.
Matt Phelps, student and president of the Vegan Society, planned for several guest speakers to attend the event including someone from Sea Shepherd to talk about over fishing in our oceans and a presentation on organic-natural foods.
“The overall idea is we’re trying to emphasize on speakers, but we also want it to be a time where people can socialize and make new friends,” Phelps said.
“In some ways this is an experiment, and we’re just trying to see how it goes for next time, what we can do better depending on our experience,” Phelps said.
Galit Ashkenazi, a full-time student Club Council representative of the Vegan Society, would like to raise awareness about how vegan lifestyles affect the Earth.
“We are trying to bring consciousness about what it is to be vegan and how it helps the earth,” Ashkenazi said
Ashkenazi, 18, chose a vegetarian lifestyle when she was 12 after learning how adopting a plant-based diet can impact the planet.
“I started a slow transition into ‘veganism’ when I was 15,” Ashkenazi said. “In Earth Day we try to be sustainable and earth friendly, and being vegan is the best way to do that because it is the most sustainable kind of diet to have.”
Unlike vegetarians, vegans stick to a strict plant-based diet, consuming no product or byproduct of animal, according to Ashkenazi.
“Vegetarian is basically when you don’t eat any animals, you still eat cheese you still eat eggs, dairy and all of that,” Ashkenazi said. “When you are vegan you don’t eat anything that comes from an animal, so whether it’s the meat, dairy or eggs, nothing that is associated with an animal is to be used.”
Stephanie Winnard, adjunct professor of psychology and the faculty advisor of the Vegan Society, believes farming is first in line in the causes for the natural disasters of today.
“Agriculture is the leading cause of pretty much every environmental ill known to humanity, including climate change, species extinction, deforestation, resource depletion, water pollution and ocean deadlines,” Winnard said.
Becoming conscious of the extension of animal cruelty beyond the consumption of meat was the rationale behind Ashkenazi’s decision to choose a vegan diet.
“I realized that eating cheese and eating eggs is still really cruel to animals,” Ashkenazi said. “Before I use to think that if I don’t eat the animals then that’s enough, but then I realized that the dairy industry is terrible, they do a lot of hurtful things to the animals and there’s better ways to get the same kind of nutrition.”