At the beginning of the fall 2016 semester, a group of Mills College students began an informal group to meet up, make and eat vegan food and discuss veganism together.
First year Raffaela Hovick founded the group when she posted in the Student Forum at Mills, wanting to meet other vegans on campus. The group consists of roughly 12 people, and they have had meet ups at vegan eateries like Cha-ya, Souley Vegan, Two Mamas and the Butcher’s Son. On Oct. 1, the group met up at a member’s house and had a vegan potluck dinner.
“I made a post on the forum hoping to meet new people that I can share interests with,” Hovick said. “Then a bunch of people started emailing me, so we decided to meet up and start a group.”
Hovick has considered starting an official club for vegans on campus to discuss their lifestyle and educate others about veganism.
“I’ve thought about starting a club, but the regimen for a club is a lot more structured,” Hovick said. “I’d have to find a president, vice president, and treasurer. I’m hesitant to do it for that reason, but making a club would promote veganism more on campus.”
Having an official vegan club on campus may not take too long, as many college students are adopting the lifestyle. Junior Lily Drabkin, also a vegan, believes college is the place to experiment with and learn about different diets.
“College as a universal concept is a place where people go to grow and open their minds to new ideas,” Drabkin said. “It’s really easy to meet vegans in college because people are growing and learning more about the world and want to make a difference.”
For many college students, veganism can be more difficult if their dining hall isn’t accommodating enough. Drabkin cooks her own food now, but as a freshman she ate at Founders Commons.
“During my first year, Founders was better for veganism than it is currently,” Drabkin said. “It seems like now they have less options overall.”
Drabkin struggles with being a student, as well as needing to cook her own vegan meals, but manages to do so with some personal staples.
“I do cook a lot of my own food,” Drabkin said. “But since I am a sleep deprived college student, my go-to meals are carrots and hummus, tacos or frozen Trader Joe’s meals.”
First year graduate student Chad Lutz is a runner, and made the switch to veganism for his health and athletic performance. Lutz believes being vegan as a student can be difficult, especially when trying to conserve money.
“If you don’t have that much money and you don’t have a job, I think it’s really difficult to be vegan,” Lutz said. “You have to take what you can get which is really limiting, and you’re already limiting yourself a lot by being vegan.”
Although difficult at times, Lutz believes that if done right, being both vegan and a student is achievable.
“Meal prep is really important for being vegan,” Lutz said. “If you consistently budget and plan out your meals, then it’s totally doable for a college student.”