The Seton Hall Veggie Society (SHVS) is dedicated to “bringing compassion and community to vegans and vegetarians at Seton Hall University,” according to its Instagram bio.
The club’s president, Caitlyn Webber, a senior English major, got involved with the club last fall when her friend was just starting it up. “I worked closely with the founder/President in order to build the club from the ground up, and once he graduated in the spring, I knew it was up to me to keep the club alive,” Webber said. “I am passionate about animal rights personally, so I was so excited to get the chance to have another outlet to talk about it with a group of people who share my interests.”
The club’s secretary, Annabelle Dunn, a freshman philosophy major, decided to join SHVS because it was very important to her to meet other vegans. “It was hard to find resources and like-minded people in high school when I transitioned, so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity in college,” Dunn said.
“Now, if anyone is transitioning at Seton Hall, they will have a support group to refer to and a few people to whom they can relate.”
Kyle Dunnigan, a freshman nursing major and environmental studies minor, discussed his increasing self-awareness in his own lifestyle. “I realized that so many beautiful creatures are going extinct or being poached for their fur and horns,” he said. “How can we stand to make peace with each other if we refuse to see the injustice we are inflicting on those who can’t even fight back? Furthermore, how can we stand to even survive as a human race if we don’t change our ways?”
Webb explained that the club hosts events throughout the semester to spread a vegan message to the community while also providing community-building opportunities for its members. Some of their events this semester include a vegan “BLT” giveaway, cruelty-free cosmetics giveaway, a screening of the documentary, “What the Health,” and a “Cube of Truth.”
Webb described a “Cube of Truth” as a peaceful demonstration created by the animal rights organization, Anonymous for the Voiceless, where participants hold screens of slaughterhouse footage in order to discuss and encourage a vegan lifestyle. Dunnigan said that this was his favorite event, which was held on the Green on Halloween.
“Stephen Tong, the former president of the SHVS, worked with Caitlyn Webber, our current president, to organize the event,” Dunn said. “I am grateful to both of them for paving the way for the club’s success and contributing so much time and effort towards outreach endeavors.”
The SHVS held their most recent “ThanksLiving” event in the Main Dining Hall on Nov. 15 in cooperation with Gourmet Dining Services. Webb called this “another more subtle version of activism” where they handed out vegan Thanksgiving classics to students in the cafeteria during dinner.
“Some of the food included cornbread, mashed potatoes, tofurky, stuffing, gravy, and pies,” Dunn said.
“A lot of people don’t know that it is very easy to leave animal ingredients off of their plates and still have a delicious meal—this event helped some to realize that.”
Before the semester draws to a close, the Veggie Society plans to take a trip in December to Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary, where they will volunteer their time to take care of animals on the farm, Dunn said.
The club will also be taking part in the Student Activities Board “Christmas Bazaar” craft fair on Dec. 3, where they will hand out vegan eggnog and provide a vegan-friendly craft for students to complete.
Kristel Domingo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.