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This morning I woke up to more records being broken than I can even remember, including someone handing out their half-millionth VO booklet, the second biggest day ever for U.S. leafleting at a single school (8,200), someone doubling their previous best college leafleting day, someone breaking a very-hard-to-break record on their first day of the fall semester (in NEBRASKA!), and someone else increasing our social media engagement and following like WHOA. The point? I work with heroes. You all amaze me.
Mark Devries (director of Speciesism: The Movie, above), Dane Charbeneau (below), Kim Moffatt, Lori Stultz, and Vic Sjodin handed out 8,200 VO booklets at Cal State Northridge!
We had a good first day in Mexico this semester. Katia Rodriguez [below, left] joined me the whole day from 8 am to 6 pm at the Universidad de Monterrey. With help from Ana Paula Guajardo, Ilse Aguñaga, and Cindy Saenz, we reached 2,300 students with Fresco booklets.
We met Manuel [above, right], who’s been vegan for 4 years now and was very happy to see us there. Students were very receptive, and we saw many reading the information [a couple shown, below, right].
Almost at the end of the day, Karen [above, left] came to us on her way to buy a coffee; she said that she wasn’t able to eat the chicken in her salad after reading the booklet, and she is now trying veg eating. On her way back to the classroom, she proudly showed us her coffee and told us it had soy milk.
Dane Charbeneau, Josh Crosby, Elyssa Land, and I had a powerful night of leafleting with video playing at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. We had many conversations with interested folks and moved a lot of Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating booklets. The promenade was packed. One gentleman said his girlfriend was vegetarian and now understood and wanted to go veg. I spoke in a microphone and a crowd of 25 to 30 stopped to listen. Great night!
I read a Why Vegan? pamphlet and could no longer ignore animals suffering for me. I will always be vegan. 16+ years, so far.
A leaflet I got [from VO at a Warped Tour concert in Kansas] was what made me further research veganism. Here I am 2 years into it… Never ever going back!
[Kristi Blazek, Tinya Duffey, Diane Freed, and I] handed out Compassionate Choices before [Bill Maher’s] show started and people were very receptive to the leaflets. A lot of people actually thought we were with Bill Maher; my favorite comment of the night was, “Oh, this is so Bill!”
It was Kristi’s very first time doing any kind of activism and she was awesome! And it was Diane’s first time leafleting – she was a natural too! Before the doors opened for the show, I saw people sitting down reading the literature. All in all, a very successful night!
Jennifer Pietrzycki [below] and I both work downtown so we met afterwards to leaflet near the cow sculpture in front of the Chicago Cultural Center. A few people stopped with questions including one of the leaders of the Green Party of Quebec who was visiting Chicago. He said they had translated Earthlings into French with a well-known hockey player narrating! One young man initially said no to the leaflet, then said he came back after seeing the cow sculpture.
John Jungenberg, Sandi Swiss, and I had an amazing time leafleting the Morrissey concert in Chicago – so many supportive folks and a lot who were interested in the information!
John also talked to some interested people and was recognized from one of our bike / leafleting trips.
This is Daniel [below, left] from Oklahoma City, OK, who we met at yesterday’s Warped date. He’s been veg for over two months from reading a booklet and loving it!
Joselyn Aguilar, Gabriela Sánchez, Oscar Ureña, Carlos Contreras, and I handed out 10,800 VO booklets at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria today!
Many people were interested in changing their habits after reading the booklet, like Verónica, who said she will go vegan. Nayeli [below, left] told us she is eating veg from now on. We talked a lot with Nelly [below, right], who used to eat fish and eggs, but after the talk and the booklet she won’t anymore; she also told us that our work was very good.
Arturo and Romina [below, left] are teachers of martial arts in a high school at the UNAM. They used to eat vegetarian but stopped awhile ago, though after reading the booklet they decided to do it again and promote it with their students. They asked for a bunch of booklets and our contact information to organize a talk for their students next semester.
Ramón and his girlfriend are vegans; he was very excited to see us and offered to make a donation right there. I told him to give to VO through our web page instead. Gustavo is giving a try to veg eating thanks to the literature; he told us that his classmates had a booklet that they passed around to each other. A single booklet reached out to a whole class!
In the afternoon, we met Leonel and Zulema who will try veg too. A group of girls and a guy were passing by us and we heard one of them say, “Thanks to that leaflet I’m seriously considering being vegetarian” and another girl celebrated that by raising her arms. After a while, the guy came back and asked for a bunch of booklets to share with friends. His name is Javier [above, right]; he told us that most of his friends are vegetarians and they were very happy because their friend was being serious.
We saw a lot of people shocked by the content of the booklet, even a couple of them crying, and countless were reading. Maybe I wrote too much, but I just couldn’t save this to myself!
This is Dennis [from Philadelphia, right] – he received a VO booklet and went vegetarian, and is now vegan! He’s looking forward to volunteering soon.
It was great to leaflet with Jane Jancys and Nicolas Tomas [below, center] – together we handed out 1,600 booklets at Cal Poly Pomona.
Highlights were speaking with Samira [above, left], who wants to go vegan after getting a booklet. And meeting Lilly [below, left], who went vegan from a booklet. We also met Elliot who had gone vegan from a booklet in the past. Bingo!
At right is one of the Shippensburg University students Kassy Ortega reached this semester who is interested in going veg!
Jenny Richards’ church had a series of three speakers talk about something health and holistic related, so I gave a talk to about 40 women. It was very well received; we couldn’t stop the conversation.
Fast forward a few weeks later, and I spoke to a woman who is now going vegetarian (one day wants to be vegan!). I sent her an email that included our Vegan Mentor Program.
I ran into a student [right, at Evergreen State] who was handed a Why Vegan? pamphlet in 2004. He has been vegan ever since! He said reading it changed his life and he expressed his appreciation for our work.
Today was a great day at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. John Jungenberg and I handed out 1,644 VO booklets and had so many good interactions, including overhearing one girl tell her friend these “changed her life.” We got a lot of new volunteers, too!
Awesome day of activism! Rachel Shippee and I handed out 1,612 Vegan Outreach leaflets to students at two high schools and one college [on 5/7/15]! We talked with a bunch of people who are now going veg!
Tonight I handed out my 100,000th VO leaflet at the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus! Over the time that I have handed those out, I have talked to hundreds of people interested in going veg from getting a leaflet – I feel very accomplished knowing that my actions have spared the lives of thousands of farmed animals. You can get that feeling too – get involved with Vegan Outreach so you too can help stop farmed animal suffering!
Amazing record-breaking day on our first stop in NY! John Sakars and I were once again joined by Ellie Donohue-Miller, an amazing activist we had on our previous record-breaking days at Guelph, Niagara, and Brock; and a new leafleter named Amy Garside, who works at SUNY Cortland! Amy very much enjoyed her first time leafleting and has plans to continue doing outreach herself!
I was received very well by teachers and students at Tompkins Cortland CC and was quickly informed there was going to be a Cowspiracy screening next week. The take rate was amazing and having the opportunity to inform students about the screening and the school’s upcoming Earth Week (partly organized by our amazing, angelic host and professor at Tompkins, Amber Gilewski!) was really great. I had a few nice, long positive interactions with students who had concerns about what to eat and how animals are treated and their impact on the environment, and they were really thankful and attentive.
At SUNY Cortland, John also encountered Audray [shown], who had gone vegetarian after receiving a VO booklet last year and is now vegan! Hooray!
David Zeller and I had a really good day here at the Australian National University – high take rate and receptive students. We more than doubled the previous one-day campus record of 650 booklets.
I had a conversation with a lady who said she ate meat but always felt bad about it and wanted to go vegan but didn’t know where to start, so I gave her a Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating and she said she was going to give it a go.
David had plenty more conversations with people who were interested in changing their diet, including a pescetarian who now wants to go vegan.
We visited a small but very interesting private school, the Alva Edison University, which promotes vegetarianism and veganism in the halls of the buildings! We were shocked to see posters of famous vegetarians and vegans such as Aristotle, Einstein, Da Vinci, Paul McCartney, Gandhi and many others [below].
The cafeteria is vegetarian and almost completely vegan. These conditions are due to the principal: he is vegetarian and a very nice man that we had the chance to meet. We had the support of a very energetic local group called MEDA; they are helping a lot, guiding us about the universities and introduced us to the principal [below].
Despite the fact that the school promotes these values, not many students eat veg and the principal was so happy to have us there that he granted us the authorization to visit all of the classrooms and give a brief speech. So every leaflet that we handed out today was followed by an explanation of its content, the impact of factory farming and veg eating, with personal examples and local information. A lot of students reacted in a very positive way; an amazing experience.
Right: Quinton, a student who is on the football team at Benedict College, received our booklets and is now interested in going veg!
Another amazing day leafleting Gainesville with Lynda Cozart! Day two and for a second time a leafleting record goes down. This outreach was orchestrated nearly perfectly, with me and her splitting up and each taking excellent posts on near-opposite ends of the Santa Fe College campus. Doing this we did 400+ on the first two class changes and at least 300 together for the rest. Great results for just the two of us!
Lyn had a faculty member come up to her at one point, thanking us for raising awareness and saying vegetarians were becoming lots more common on campus. I found four vegans and even more vegetarians on my side – more than we met last semester, it felt like. With the meat eaters we talked to, every one of them responded very positively to hearing that changing their diet to help animals wasn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. At least three of them promised to do what the Even If You Like Meat asked and cut their meat consumption in half. One omnivore towards the end though did let me know she was so disturbed by the booklet, she was finished then and there eating meat; and even better, said she’d be interested in volunteering next visit! Excellent news there – she was the second of two signed up today to get active in the future for animals.
Super developments again coming out on another big day for us in central Florida!
Right: Damaris, a Rio Hondo College student who went pescatarian as a result of receiving a VO booklet in the past, now wants to go vegan and help her best friend make the switch!
Written to VO’s Senior Outreach & Strategy Coordinator, Vic Sjodin:
Once again, I would like to express my gratitude. I was deeply touched by your presentation and Q&A [at Cypress College]. I am excited to start my new diet and journey in life. I am done crying and will focus that energy to spread veganism. I want to be an example to my family and friends. I am excited to continue learning about veganism and to spread that knowledge.…
I read the three leaflets you provided from cover to cover. Shed a few tears for the pictures of Kevin and Emily. I am excited to go to Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Fresh n Easy, and Whole Foods. The Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating is a tremendous help!
Right: After reading the Your Choice she received at UCLA this semester, Leslie now wants to go vegan!
I leafleted for an hour today [at MiraCosta College]. The first person I gave a leaflet to had walked up to me with a plate of pepperoni pizza in his hand and, after receiving an Even If You Like Meat leaflet, said this pizza was the last meat he would ever eat. Another person said she is already a vegetarian but that she wants to reduce how much dairy she eats.… In one exchange, I handed a leaflet to a lady who then requested another to give to her coworker. A student later came up to me and told me that he supports the values of a vegan diet, that he is running for student government and that, if elected, he wants to work with me to propagate vegan philosophy on campus, after which statement he took five leaflets to distribute on his own. And on two separate occasions, students sought guidance as to how to volunteer with Vegan Outreach. I told them that they, too, could leaflet and referred them to our website to learn how to Adopt a College.
Right: After hearing Vic speak at Chaffey College, Casey said, “I’m going full vegan!”
I ran into Max at the University of Nevada. He credits his veganism to conversations he had with the great Victor Sjodin six years ago at Penn State!
Special thanks to my gracious hosts, who have kept me well-fed and sheltered from the cold drizzle I always seem to bring to Reno with me!
We had two volunteers today at the Instituto Tecnológico de Aguascalientes: Alondra Sarmiento [right] and Israel Rodriguez.
Alondra had never met another vegan or vegetarian in person before; she also had never done activism at all. She told us she was very happy to meet us and that she felt very good helping animals by leafleting for the first time. She’s very shy and at the beginning she was having trouble doing it; but after some tips and jokes, she made it happen. She left with a smile knowing the positive impact she had on farmed animals, and decided to move from vegetarian to vegan.
Israel is not even vegetarian, but he has done activism for other causes before, such as screenings and a little bit of leafleting. He’s an energetic young man, he helped a lot and we talked about factory farming while doing it; he is trying veg now.
Besides the positive experiences with the volunteers, we had a lot of good ones with people receiving the leaflets. Three or four people asked for another leaflet to share. Two girls that help dogs and cats engaged in conversations about factory farming that turned out with them trying veg. And finally, a girl stood 20 meters away from us and read the leaflet from cover to cover [shown]. It was an energy-recharging day.
Today was the Ryerson Winter VegFest. I met someone who I remembered talking to during a previous leafleting session at Ryerson University. I was able to find my report from 4/26/13 – this is what I wrote back then:
I had several nice conversations today. One was with a young man who asked me if I was vegan and for how long. When I asked him the same back, he said he had been vegan for a month. I asked him what had prompted the change, and he said getting a Compassionate Choices and watching online videos. He is interested in learning how to eat better so was pleased to get a Guide, and I also gave him a Vegan button and took a photo. He also asked about volunteering, and I told him about Vegan Outreach as well as the Toronto Vegetarian Association.
He is still vegan! The photo [right] is the one from 2013.
I also met a man who initially refused a leaflet, saying that was no good, he needed to put on weight. I said I have the perfect one for you and whipped out The Compassionate Athlete. As he started flipping through it, he asked what it was about, and I said it was plant-based eating for athletes. He said he couldn’t go vegan or he would die! I told him I have been vegan for 25 years and I’m not dead yet; he and his friends all laughed with me, and he took the leaflet – win!
I also chatted with the Toronto Vegetarian Association volunteer at the VegFest. She wants to help leaflet and is a Ryerson student, so I took her information. I got to the table later in the day and by then they were all out of leaflets. She said the most popular was The Compassionate Athlete.
Such a good day! Phoenix College is the most interested and receptive campus I’ve ever leafleted. Dawn Ratcliffe and I must’ve had at least 20 productive conversations with students, as well as had a handful of students want to go veg on the spot.
Crystal [right, reading Your Choice] had no idea about factory farming and now wants to go veg. She text-message ordered a Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating and started telling her friends about what she learned!
We got some e-mail addresses and even some staff were interested in learning more. Energizing day.
My sister-in-law gave me an extra pair of ski pants, and today they totally saved me in the ~15°F weather! I was super warm but many students were clearly caught off guard by the -15°F windchill, so the take rate was a little lower than usual here at Queens College.
One student stopped after having received a leaflet earlier, and asked, “Is all of that true? Does that stuff really happen?” She was looking for reasons not to believe what was clearly shocking to her, and even pointed out that she didn’t see blood on the male chicks on the conveyor belt. I explained that they hadn’t gone through the machine yet. She asked a number of questions about the male chicks, about why they would do this, what their bodies are used for afterward, etc. After a long conversation (10 minutes is long in this weather) during a non-rush period, she left saying that she couldn’t go completely vegetarian yet, but would at least eat veg every other day.
She also said that she thought the use of attractive people in the leaflet was great marketing, and caught her attention enough to keep reading! She said she liked that the use of people making healthy choices throughout the leaflet seemed to have a more positive spin than how her veg roommate talks about the same issues.
The Compassionate Athlete booklet has been a total success for my four presentations, especially for the “Healthful Eating” one. I have never had so many students pick up booklets and read them from beginning to end during my Q&A session at the the end of the presentation.
Great to have John Sakars return to me from Vegas. He recruited one of his internet contacts, Chris Siegel [right], to join today. Chris was lovely and really took to leafleting. Together, we reached more than 2,000 students at Long Beach City College.
I met Denzel [right] – we spoke for a long time; he’s all about going vegan after reading the booklet. I also spoke to Gianpiero for over 20 minutes – he said it was a profound experience, talking with me and reading the booklet; he is well on his way and was telling me what he was going to say to his wife, and that he may join the VO mentor program. I had more than a half dozen other conversations – it’s so good to be able to speak to people in person – it’s one of the things I love most about Vegan Outreach on the pavement.
Another epic thing about this school is the long wait at the crosswalk where there are six lanes of traffic and a little island. I think the light changes every three minutes, so of course many read the booklets while waiting – many times I saw 10, 15, 18 reading. Bonus.
Really fantastic day that made me feel happy to be alive and thankful to be doing outreach. John is a real soldier and loves to leaflet.
We tabled and leafleted indoors at Southwestern Illinois College today. One student decided to go vegan after visiting at our table. Another student told me that she went vegetarian after interacting with me last semester. I Guided both of them. A couple other students said they had reduced their meat consumption since getting literature from me in the past.
Alex [Astarita, below] had gotten a booklet from me at Saint Louis University in the past and went veg. Today was her outreach debut, and she did great! Big thanks to Alex for taking a three-hour-round-trip, four-train ride to join me for a great day of outreach!
Today’s feedback from students at Berkeley City College was invigorating! First I heard from a student who went vegan after receiving a Your Choice booklet last year. Then a student named Mahsa [right] said she went vegan after receiving an Even If You Like Meat booklet last semester. Then another student said he went vegan a year ago because of a Your Choice booklet. And toward the end of the day, a fourth student said she went vegan after getting a booklet from me!
Truly amazing day at the University of New Orleans! I was joined by friend and vegucator extraordinaire Mark Meunier – it was his second time out here at his alma mater, and together we reached more than 1,500 students! We topped the school record by over 400; and even better, students were coming up left and right telling us how moved they were by the literature. We had about 12 to 15 solid discussions in total, an amazing 5 of these with students promising to start eating veg from now forward!
An extra bonus was meeting Alexis again [below], who last semester said she was giving veganism a go after getting a leaflet that day. She stopped today to let us know she was still going strong and had no plans on going back! Another VO success story!
Devonte [below, left] stopped as he got his leaflet, saying he’d been thinking of trying to stop eating animals. He got the lowdown on where to easily find substitutes locally and said he’d be looking for foods to try beginning today.
Matthew [below, center] got a leaflet and within 5 minutes came back to us saying how disturbed he felt learning the horrors of the intense confinement shown in the Your Choice. He got extra info and after talking with us said he was going veg!
The amazing string of conversations continued with a student named Sean, who said he’d be trying the alternatives on sale at the Winn-Dixie where he worked. Then another named Jenna, who Mark talked up, was likely going to be looking for substitutes and eliminating her animal consumption.
Another great conversation Mark had was with Emily [above, right], a vegetarian who got an Even If You Like Meat and said she was going the whole way from getting the info today.
Amazingly, all this happened before 11 am today! A super start to what was overall a truly unbelievable day.
Today was my first time leafleting officially as a VO Outreach Coordinator – it was very exciting; I got to UANL very early in the morning and left at night. There were a lot of volunteers and support; and there were thousands of people because it was the first day of school for many and the last day for registering.
People were super receptive for printed material, as usual in Mexico. First a father and son came to me to congratulate us for the work we do and asked for more info of the organization and veg eating; the son is very into it. Then Ana [right], a vegetarian interested in going vegan, offered to help. Later on, Katia Rodriguez met Israel, a 22-year-old guy who after receiving the leaflet decided to go vegetarian and help out in that very moment. A couple asked for substitute foods, two guys asked us to go out to eat so they can know veg restaurants, and a bunch of people asked what they could do for animals to help more. An amazing day.