Outreach Coordinators Who Wowed Us This Spring

The spring semester was full of exciting change and success. Along with continuing to leaflet and show virtual reality videos, we shifted our focus to signing people up for our 10 Weeks to Vegan program which our surveys have shown to be very impactful.

The dedicated community outreach coordinators below inspire us with their incredible work for animals. They’ve spread a message of compassion to hundreds of thousands of people, making a huge impact in bringing us closer to a vegan world.

Let’s take a look at the great work they accomplished this past spring!

Brian Chavez


Brian [above, middle] started leafleting with Vegan Outreach in Southern California and has traveled all over the U.S. to spread veganism. Brian uses his unique style to have meaningful conversations with students about veganism, and as a result, obtained a whopping 8,907 10 Weeks to Vegan signups this spring semester. On top of that, he also handed out 20,996 leaflets and showed 228 virtual reality videos at 43 different campuses!

Miguel Marron


Miguel received a Vegan Outreach leaflet at his college, then started an animal rights club, volunteered for Vegan Outreach, and is now an employee. While he’s busy celebrating his quickly approaching 15th “veganniversary,” we’re celebrating that he signed up 3,888 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan, handed out 33,965 leaflets, and showed 329 virtual reality videos in the northwestern U.S.!

Perla Anerol


Perla reached more than 80,000 people in just her first year of working with Vegan Outreach. Now in her second year, she continues to engage thousands of students in central Mexico. This spring, she received 3,734 10 Weeks to Vegan signups, handed out 18,231 leaflets, and did 488 virtual reality showings.

Saurabh Sonkar


Saurabh has a talent for getting volunteers from outside of the animal rights movement involved in our work in India. He was this semester’s top leafleter, handing out 72,118 leaflets! He also did 2,361 virtual reality showings and signed 3,305 people up for 10 Weeks to Vegan.

Nzinga Young


Nzinga believes a vegan lifestyle has countless benefits for human and nonhuman animals and works to promote these benefits to people from different backgrounds. For example, this spring she tabled at an event for artists in New York where everyone was so blown away by the Impossible Burger that everyone who tried it signed up for 10 Weeks to Vegan! Those were just a few of her total of 2,714 signups this spring.

Stacy Shepanek


Stacy does it all—from leafleting, virtual reality showings, coordinating community events, and presenting to hundreds about veganism throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. This spring she leafleted to 8,728 people, did 235 virtual reality showings, and got 1,762 10 Weeks to Vegan signups.

Jackie Va


Jackie [right] does outreach in California through organizing a variety of engaging events to provide information and encourage others to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Her enthusiasm and knack for engaging people helped her sign up 1,553 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan and hand out 3,661 leaflets this spring.

Emmanuel Marquez


In addition to supporting outreach by numerous volunteers in Mexico, Emmanuel Marquez showed virtual reality videos to 867 people—bringing his total to more than 5,000 over the past two years! He also handed leaflets to 27,375 people and got 1,527 10 Weeks to Vegan signups.

Ben Umholtz

Ben volunteered with Vegan Outreach in the past and became an official employee at the start of this spring semester. He already made a huge impact in the greater Ohio area during his first semester with VO, signing up 1,452 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan and distributing 29,125 leaflets.

Victor Flores


While managing our Community Events department, Victor also did his own outreach in New Mexico and Texas. He handed out 2,997 leaflets and signed up 1,363 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan. In addition to this, he also organizes community meals, feeds vegan food to those in need, holds restaurant events, and has convinced some businesses to add vegan items to their menu.

Steve Erlsten


This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our GOAT—Greatest of All-Time—Steve Erlsten! Steve began leafleting in an official capacity for Vegan Outreach in the fall of 2013—and he hasn’t stopped since! He became VO’s greatest leafleter this past spring semester, having personally handed out over one million pro-veg leaflets and adding 19,275 to his total this spring. Congratulations, Steve, and thank you for your dedication!

These activists’ work is far from flashy—they wake up early, lug heavy boxes, and remain on their feet for hours at a time. We’re happy to be able to celebrate them any chance we get. Thank you for helping us do so! And thank you, of course, to the donors whose generosity made this work possible!


Hostel Chain Zostel to Launch Vegan Options at Eight Locations in India and Nepal

Zostel

Zostel, one of the largest hostel chains in Asia, will serve vegan food options at cafeterias in eight of its locations: Agra, Gokarna, Jodhpur, Rishikesh, Udaipur and Varanasi in India, and Kathmandu and Pokhara in Nepal.

We initiated a partnership with Zostel as part of our Green Tuesday campaign, which aims to help institutions reduce animal-based foods in favor of vegan options. Expanding on the success of Zostel’s November 2018 launch of vegan options in its cafeteria in Agra, the initiative aids people with varied food choices.

“Zostel has always been about letting individuals make their choices and follow their hearts,” said Dharmaveer Chauhan, Co-founder and CEO of Zostel. Chauhan continued, “With the help of Vegan Outreach, we provided our chefs and the community with information about vegan food and its preparation. Being able to offer such options to travelers from all over the world would never have been possible without the Vegan Outreach team. We are thrilled for this initiative and look forward to continuing this campaign towards sustainable travel while unlocking the world for everyone to experience as they desire, freely and fearlessly.”

This menu change at Zostel’s eight locations will result in more plant-based foods being accessible to thousands of people.

“Globally and in India, people are adopting a vegan diet as a healthy and sustainable alternative for themselves and the environment,” said Richa Mehta, India Campaigns Manager for Vegan Outreach. “This initiative by Zostel will not only cater to numerous vegan tourists travelling in India, but also set a milestone for the inclusive and sustainable hospitality industry.”


Impact of 10 Weeks to Vegan

Background

10 Weeks to Vegan is a weekly email series from Vegan Outreach containing tips, recipes, and resources for those interested in learning more about veganism. To assess the effectiveness of our program, we surveyed participants before and after they began the email series.

The pre-test is emailed to participants the same week they sign up for 10 Weeks to Vegan. We send the post-test approximately two weeks after people have finished the entire 10 Weeks to Vegan series. To encourage participation, we offer a $50 Amazon gift card to two randomly chosen participants per month.

Response Rate

We first started sending out the U.S./Canada pre-test in September 2018, and as of late June 2019, it’s gone to 39,350 people. Of those, 2,787 participants completed the survey, for a response rate of 7.1%.

So far, we’ve sent the post-test to 1,649 people. Of those, 309 completed the survey, for a response rate of 18.7%.

Results

Below are the results from the 309 participants who received the U.S./Canada version of 10 Weeks to Vegan and took both the pre-test and the post-test.

Self-Identification

At the time of the pre-test, 262 people self-identified as non-vegan (either meat-eater or vegetarian) and 47 self-identified as vegan. After completing 10 Weeks to Vegan, 203 people self-identified as non-vegan and 106 people self-identified as vegan. In other words, 23% of those who identified as non-vegan at the start of the program identified as vegan after completing it.

Self Identify

Food Intake

New Vegans

Although some participants identified a certain way (as described in the Self-Identification section above), their reported food intake didn’t always line up with those labels. When we take into consideration participants’ reported diet for the previous month in the pre-test and previous week in the post-test, we see that there was actually a net gain of 16 vegetarians and 34 vegans.

Food Intake

Elimination of Categories of Animal Products

We also looked at how often people ate certain animal products when they started 10 Weeks to Vegan compared to after completing it. There were statistically significant reductions in all categories of animal products.

Pork

Turkey

Beef

Fish

Chicken

Eggs

Dairy

Reasons For Signing Up

Participants cited various and often multiple reasons for signing up for 10 Weeks to Vegan. For most, their motivation behind signing up for the program fell into a few main categories:

  • Health (65)
  • Help with transitioning to veganism (65)
  • Recipes (55)
  • Insight into veganism (45)
  • Animal welfare (39)
  • Environment (33)
  • Reduce animal product consumption (20)

Breaking Down Results by Signup Source

We also looked at whether results varied based on how we signed people up for the series (for example, college outreach vs using online ads). Of those who had completed the post-test survey, 133 people signed up in-person and 176 signed up online. Overall, those who signed up online showed greater change.

After assessing how often people ate certain animal products when they started 10 Weeks to Vegan compared to after completing it, we found that:

  • 7% of participants who signed up in-person were categorized as non-vegan during the pre-test and as vegan at the post-test
  • 21% of participants who signed up online were categorized as non-vegan during the pre-test and as vegan at the post-test

Based on the question which asked participants to self-identify, we found that:

  • 9% of participants who signed up in-person identified as non-vegan during the pre-test and as vegan at the post-test
  • 33% of participants who signed up online identified as non-vegan during the pre-test and as vegan at the post-test

Additionally, we broke down results by animal product consumption before and after completing 10 Weeks to Vegan and found the following:

While we want the highest conversion rate possible, it’s the absolute number of vegans that is the most important metric for us. When doing outreach, our tactic is normally to sign up anyone who’s willing, even if they haven’t been previously primed to be interested in going vegan.

Summary

This research indicates that Vegan Outreach’s 10 Weeks to Vegan series is having a great deal of success in motivating and helping people to become vegetarian and vegan.


Top Indian University to reduce milk usage by 14% in cafeterias

LPU

Students at Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar—one of the largest private universities in India—worked with Vegan Outreach and the school administration to change the cafeteria menu. The new menu will introduce two non-dairy beverages and reduce the use of dairy milk by 14.3% in the next six months!

This change will not only make a big impact by reducing the suffering of dairy cows in India but also help the environment and make afternoon tea more enjoyable for the residential students. The students approached Vegan Outreach to bring its Green Tuesday Initiative to the campus in Jalandhar which has the world’s largest residential capacity with over 30,000 students.

The Green Tuesday Initiative is a new campaign by Vegan Outreach to help institutions in India reduce their environmental footprint by making small changes in the food they serve. So far, Vegan Outreach has collaborated with six educational institutions in North India. Help us reach even more institutions by making a donation by May 31st—it will be matched dollar-for-dollar for twice the impact!

If you’re a student or a working professional in India, please write to us at [email protected] to bring the Green Tuesday Initiative to your campus or company.


5 Million Vegans

Adult US Vegans

In May, the Vegetarian Resource Group released the results of their Harris poll estimating the number of U.S. adult vegetarians and vegans (1). Rather than asking individuals to self-define their eating behavior, they classified vegetarians and vegans by asking people to identify foods they never eat.

The poll found that 4% of U.S. adults are vegetarian (including vegans) and 2% are vegan. Applying their results to the U.S. adult population shows that 5.1 million adults consider themselves to be vegan (2). This is up from VRG’s 2016 poll which estimated 3.7 million U.S. adults to be vegan (3). Between polls, the adult U.S. population increased by about 3.5% while the U.S. adult vegan population increased by about 37%.

References

2. How Many People Are Vegan?

2. US Population by Year. Found U.S. adult population to be 254,000,000 as of December 2018.

3. The Vegetarian Resource Group Asks in a 2016 National Poll Conducted by Harris Poll

 


Save the Date—April 10th for National Day of College Outreach

Be part of a nationwide event to empower college students to go vegan!

On April 10th, activists like you will hand out leaflets on local college campuses, spreading the message of veganism and promoting our 10 Weeks to Vegan challenge. This fun volunteer opportunity is for everyone—not just college students!

Whether you leaflet on your own or recruit a group of friends to help, it’s bound to be a rewarding day of outreach with a big impact for people, animals, and the environment.

Complete this short form to sign up and claim your local campus!


Campaign Success—Panda Express to Add Vegan Options!

Panda Express to Add Vegan Options

Panda Express, the country’s largest fast casual Chinese food restaurant chain, will be removing the chicken broth and animal-based seasonings from its Eggplant Tofu and Chow Mein dishes. This change follows our national campaign which spurred nearly 5,000 petition signatures and hundreds of requests via social media for vegan menu items. 

By adding plant-based dishes, Panda Express joins a long list of companies catering to the growing demand for vegetarian and vegan food. In The Economist article “The year of the vegan,” correspondent John Parker writes that, “Sales of vegan foods in America in the year to June 2018 rose ten times faster than food sales as a whole.” Carl’s Jr., Taco Bell, TGI Fridays, and A&W are among the companies that have added vegan food to their restaurant menus.

While seemingly small, this change by Panda Express will make a big impact. Not only will the chain contribute less to animal suffering by using more plant-based ingredients, but it will send a powerful message to other chains—this is financially beneficial and if we can do it, so can you. Both menu items will be vegan by the end of February, but we recommend checking with your local store before you order them. 

 


These Campus Leafleters Have Us Inspired!

By Lisa Rimmert, Vice President of Strategic Communications

As the fall semester ends and we gear up for spring outreach, these dedicated campus leafleters have inspired us with their incredible work for animals this semester. They’ve spread a message of compassion to hundreds of thousands of people, making a huge impact in bringing us closer to a vegan world.

Let’s take a look at what they’ve been up to this fall!

Jevranne Martel

Drawing on her experience as a life coach, Jevranne Martel stays upbeat and engages people in thoughtful conversations as she leaflets. As our lone Canada Outreach Coordinator, she keeps her schedule jam-packed, traveling from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, advocating for the animals. This semester, Jevranne handed leaflets to 26,580 students and showed virtual reality slaughterhouse footage to 198.

Carlos Contreras


Carlos Contreras [above, left] joined Emmanuel Marquez as the two embarked on Vegan Outreach’s first-ever tours in Peru and Ecuador. Encouraged by the positive response in both countries, Carlos finished the semester in his home country of Mexico. He handed leaflets to 25,742 students at a total of 42 schools this semester and he showed virtual reality videos to 220 people.

Emmanuel Marquez


In addition to supporting outreach by numerous volunteers, Emmanuel Marquez personally showed virtual reality videos to 263 people—bringing his total to nearly 5,000 over the past two years! He also handed leaflets this semester to 28,690 people at 54 schools on outreach tours in Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru.

Sarai Garcia


Sarai Garcia wrapped up her second semester of leafleting with Vegan Outreach, covering New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In the spring, she handed leaflets to 13,200 students at 26 schools, and now she’s more than doubled those numbers! This fall, Sarai handed out 35,004 leaflets at 60 schools.

Sam Tucker


Sam Tucker has handed leaflets to 44,530 people throughout Australia and New Zealand, and he’s shown virtual reality videos to 396. He’s also helped develop leaflets for Australia outreach and was instrumental in creating and launching Vegan Outreach’s 10 Weeks to Vegan program in Australia and New Zealand.

Carlos Yanez


Carlos Yanez completed his first solo tour of the Southeast U.S. this semester. He set a personal record of handing out 1,756 leaflets at North Carolina State University on October 10th, and overall this semester he handed out 49,436 leaflets at 74 schools.

Richa Mehta


This was Richa Mehta’s second semester with Vegan Outreach India. She handed leaflets to 24,775 people and showed virtual reality videos to 403. On top of that, she was instrumental in working with food companies to reduce their use of animal products and introduce vegan options.

Miguel Marron


Miguel Marron received a Vegan Outreach leaflet at his college, then started an animal rights club, volunteered for Vegan Outreach, and is now an employee. He celebrated his 14th anniversary as a vegan in October, and we’re celebrating that he handed out 44,818 leaflets and showed 330 virtual reality videos this fall!

Sarah Weldon


Leafleting in the southern U.S., Sarah Weldon uses her experience as a Marine Corps veteran and reformed hunter to relate to people who are initially resistant to the vegan message. As a result, she handed out 53,164 leaflets this fall and has had many hunters and farmers shake her hand and thank her for having a genuine conversation with them.

Brian Chavez


Brian Chavez [above, middle] started leafleting with Vegan Outreach in Southern California and has traveled all over the midwest U.S. to spread veganism. Brian leaflets heavily during class changes, then during slow times he takes the opportunity to have more meaningful conversations with curious students. As a result, he has handed out 58,643 leaflets on 55 campuses, and so many people have told him they’re going veg!

Steve Erlsten


Last but certainly not least is Steve Erlsten. Steve began leafleting in an official capacity for Vegan Outreach in the fall of 2013—and he hasn’t stopped since! While handing leaflets to 71,925 students this semester, he reached—and exceeded—his goal of personally handing out one million pro-veg leaflets! Congratulations, Steve, and thank you for your dedication!

These activists’ work is far from flashy—they wake up early, lug heavy boxes, and remain on their feet for hours at a time. We’re happy to be able to celebrate them any chance we get. Thank you for helping us do so! And thank you, of course, to the donors whose generosity made this work possible!

If you want to honor these activists and see Vegan Outreach do even more for animals next year, please consider making a donation by December 31st. It will be matched dollar-for-dollar for twice the impact!

Thank you!


We Need YOU at Winter Jam in 2019!

Kick off the new year by helping animals!

Find a Winter Jam concert in a city near you, and Vegan Outreach will provide the tools you need for a great evening of volunteering.

Sign up and you’ll receive a package of pro-veg leaflets, Primal Strips vegan jerky to hand out, and sign-up sheets for our 10 Weeks to Vegan program. Armed with these tools, you’ll go to Winter Jam and spread the message of compassion towards animals!

Winter Jam is a traveling Christian concert festival that attracts thousands of young people who are friendly and very receptive to our message. You don’t need to be Christian to leaflet the events.

As a token of our appreciation, 20 volunteers who gather the most 10 Weeks to Vegan sign-ups will receive a free Vegan Outreach t-shirt!

Check out the dates below to find a Winter Jam concert near you. Peak leafleting time is from 5–7 pm, perfect for volunteers who can’t make campus leafleting events during the day.

Leafleting is more fun with friends, so share this info with yours and help us recruit!

Contact Sara at [email protected] with questions and to reserve your spot.

January 11, 2019 — Jacksonville, FL — Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
January 12, 2019 — Tampa, FL — Amalie Arena
January 13, 2019 — Mobile, AL — Mitchell Center
January 17, 2019 — Evansville, IN — The Ford Center
January 18, 2019 — Grand Rapids, MI — Van Andel Arena
January 19, 2019 — Columbus, OH — Schottenstein Center
January 20, 2019 — Charlotte, NC — Spectrum Center
January 24, 2019 — Council Bluffs, IA — Mid-America Center
January 25, 2019 — Des Moines, IA — Wells Fargo Arena
January 31, 2019 — New Orleans, LA — Lakefront Arena
February 1, 2019 — Birmingham, AL — Legacy Arena at BJCC
February 2, 2019 — Lexington, KY — Rupp Arena
February 7, 2019 — Peoria, IL — Peoria Civic Center
February 14, 2019 — Reading, PA — Santander Arena
February 15, 2019 — Pittsburgh, PA — PPG Paints Arena
February 16, 2019 — Cincinnati, OH — U.S. Bank Arena
February 17, 2019 — Ypsilanti, MI — EMU Convocation Center
February 23, 2019 — Greensboro, NC — Greensboro Coliseum
February 24, 2019 — Norfolk, VA — Scope Arena
March 1, 2019 — Bossier City, LA — CenturyLink Center
March 2, 2019 — Oklahoma City, OK — Chesapeake Energy Arena
March 3, 2019 — Austin, TX — H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
March 9, 2019 — Louisville, KY — Freedom Hall
March 15, 2019 — Columbia, SC — Colonial Life Arena
March 17, 2019 — Southaven, MS — Landers Center
March 21, 2019 — Augusta, GA — James Brown Arena
March 22, 2019 — Raleigh, NC — PNC Arena
March 23, 2019 — Charleston, WV — Charleston Coliseum
March 24, 2019 — Greenville, SC — Bon Secours Wellness Arena
March 28, 2019 — Ft. Wayne, IN — Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
March 29, 2019 — Indianapolis, IN — Bankers Life Fieldhouse
March 30, 2019 — State College, PA — Bryce Jordan Center
March 31, 2019 — Cleveland, OH — Wolstein Center


The Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu

Being vegan doesn’t mean giving up the Thanksgiving foods you once loved. On the contrary, it’s a great opportunity to introduce delicious vegan dishes to your friends and family and create new animal-friendly traditions!

We’ve scoured the depths of the internet to bring you recipes for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Use it thelp you with your holiday meal planning!

1. Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

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2. Porcini Mushroom Gravy

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3. Cool Cranberry Sauce

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4. Sensational Stuffing

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5. Miraculous Mac n Cheese

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6. Ridiculously-good Rolls

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7. Sweet Potato Casserole

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8. Green Bean Casserole

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9. Holiday Roast! Also check out Tofurky and Field Roast’s holiday options.

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10. Last, but not least: Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

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What are some of YOUR cruelty-free Thanksgiving traditions?