Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Semester Report: Jeff Boghosian

Jeff Boghosian, Yuri Mitzkewich, and Linda Bower at Miami-Dade College 
This was my most productive semester of leafleting yet! Not just in terms of total people reached, but in how many people were interested in moving towards vegetarian and vegan diets! Students are becoming more familiar with vegetarian and vegan eating through popular culture, documentaries and their college courses. Many people are open to it, we just have to reach them and give them that final push. As one student told me at Miami-Dade College, it's just not fair what we do to animals.

One of my favorite schools to visit is Edison State College in Fort Myers, Florida. While somewhat of a small school, the students are polite and inquisitive. When visiting this semester, I had two conversations simultaneously (happened twice!) while continuing to leaflet. Some had basic questions about what to eat, another was relating a story of how they once tried vegetarian eating and were prompted to try again! In just a few minutes I was able to convince 2 students to try veg eating - one was mostly veg already but the other wasn't. And in the time I was there, four other students said they would reduce meat consumption - and these were only the ones that reported back to me so there are obviously many more at each school we visit!

Another great day of leafleting happened in an unsuspected place. I happened to be in Mississippi during the week of the presidential elections, and I was a little nervous since on election night there was a protest involving burning of signs and racial slurs. Luckily two days later the campus was calm. In fact, in turned out to be one of my best outreach days ever in terms of conversing with people. At least one person wanted to chat at every class change, and most class changes there were multiple people. I did a good job of encouraging them and answering questions while keeping it short in order to optimize the number of people I reached through leafleting. I met a few people interested in returning to veg eating. One student hadn't eaten meat in 2 months since doing a report on the subject. Another student was just starting to eat veg along with 4 friends. A few other students were interested enough to start reducing meat via Meatless Mondays or reducing 50%. Many mentioned there not being many options in town, so I gave them several helpful tips and encouraged them to do as much as they could sustain and be on the lookout for new veg foods. As more people try vegetarian eating, more options will be available to them. It was so exciting to see the huge interest in veg eating at a place not known for its interest in veg eating. If it's happening here, it's happening everywhere!

Thank you to all of the donors who make this national campaign possible. You are truly the engine that drives this social change, and it's because of your membership and support that together we are able to reach youth across the entire country and beyond! Thank you!