Montclair State Dietetics Organization Hosts Animal Activists

By Victoria Alizo, Contributing Writer

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Rush (holding up her hand) leading the debate. Photo Credit: Victoria Alizo
Rush (holding up her hand) leading the debate.
Photo Credit: Victoria Alizo

The Montclair State Animal Activist Organization just became official this semester, but has already managed to tackle the obstacles facing vegans and vegetarians on campus and urged students to sign the Meatless Monday pledge.

The members met with the executive chef and other staff in Montclair State Dining Services, and they were able to convince the chef to assemble Meatless Monday stations in student dining areas for the rest of the semester.

Montclair State Dietetics Organization (MSDO) hosted Montclair Animal Activists, which is Montclair State’s animal activist organization, to speak to the MSDO members during the General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m in the first floor of University Hall.

The Montclair Animal Activist Organization spoke about veganism in celebration of World Vegan Month. The room was filled with many students interested in nutrition, health and veganism.

There were goodie bags filled with packets of nuts and dark chocolate, and a display of examples of vegan products such as soy milk and Trader Joe’s three-grain tempeh.

Montclair Animal Activists Heather Francis, the president of the organization and nutrition sophomore, and Emma Rush, the treasurer and an international justice sophomore, as well as Erin O’Connell, the vice president and a psychology sophomore, started the veganism discussion by asking the health-conscious millennials the definitions of vegetarianism and veganism.

“I’ve been vegetarian for two years. I became vegan over the summer,” O’Connell said, “Any changes do help. Education is key. The key is to become more aware.”

Francis was explaining how it is possible to fulfill her protein needs in a vegan diet. “Where the heck do you get your protein?” said Francis. “I don’t eat out every day, but I manage to get the protein I need.”

Francis said that one way she has partaken in animal activism was by interning with the Vegetarian Resource Group in Baltimore during the summer. She currently works at a nonprofit organization called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The speakers then gave a little “Fact or Fiction” PowerPoint Presentation, explaining the common misconceptions of a vegan diet. There were a total of 15 interesting facts that the audience grasped.

The audience learned that one way to get Vitamin B12 is by consuming nutritional yeast. Another common myth is that veganism and gluten-free mean the same thing.

One interesting piece of information that the guest speakers mentioned was that wine is not always vegan due to the use of products derived from gelatin in the filtering process.

After the True and False presentation, there was a debate session. Rush asked for 10 volunteers to stand up in the front of the room to do rebuttals.

Five volunteers were in the “Pro” group and the other five volunteers were grouped into the “Con” group. For each topic Rush introduced, the “Pro” group was in favor and the “Con” group opposed the controversial topics.

The guest speakers mentioned that for those who are interested, there are weekly General Membership meetings every Monday at 8:30 p.m. located at University Hall, Room 2032.

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