Giveaway offers students a chance to try vegan foods

by Anna Weggel

Matthew Allen visited campus Friday looking for a job. Instead, he might have found a change in lifestyle.

Allen and many other students tried vegan food Friday at a vegan food giveaway on the West Bank.

“Oh, my God,” Allen said in response to the taste of a Burger King veggie burger. “That’s all I can say.”

Provided with the food by the University student group Compassionate Action for Animals, students tasted vegan burgers, chocolate, ice cream and various meat substitutes.

Allen said he was astonished by the taste and was considering becoming a vegan as a result of the giveaway.

“I can’t believe there’s no meat,” Allen said.

The group’s adviser, Gregory Oschwald, said he was hoping to hear responses like Allen’s.

“(People) need to realize vegan food tastes great,” Oschwald said.

Oschwald said CAA started in March 2003 and has approximately 30 members and 150 volunteers.

In the past, the group has shown a video called “Meet your Meat,” a film detailing the lives and deaths of animals used for food.

Oschwald said both tactics for promoting a vegan lifestyle are important, because people need to have reasons for going vegan. But he said it is generally best to do the events at separate times.

The goal of Friday’s event, Oschwald said, was to get students to taste vegan food.

“We give information on factory farming, provide (students) with great-tasting food, give a little information, then let them go away and make their own decision,” he said.

Justin Pederson, a housing studies sophomore, tried the food as he walked between classes.

“Some of (the food) isn’t bad,” Pederson said. “The sweet stuff is good.”

However, the food did not change his mind about eating meat, he said.

“The fact that it’s free will make most people come,” he said.

Mechanical engineering student Dave Dombrowski said he didn’t think the animal cruelty displayed in the group’s pamphlets is a common occurrence.

BreAnne Mackenzie, a Spanish and global studies senior, is a vegetarian. She said she has considered eating all vegan food but does not think she can.

“I have a lot of concerns about heath issues,” Mackenzie said.

She said she was appalled when she saw a slaughterhouse.

“It seems so unsanitary,” she said. “I love animals.”

Terra Dahl, a retail merchandising junior and group member, said approximately half the people at the event were interested in becoming vegans.

“Lots of people are enthused,” Dahl said. “People are really surprised about how good vegan food can be.”