It’s hard being vegan. It’s even harder when you’re a broke college student, surrounded by friends with the typical (read: unhealthy) college diet of ramen and pizza.
Enter Veg Bruins, a club at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where vegan students can band together over their preference of plant-based food.
Started by Joyce Shang, a third-year business economics student, Veg Bruins is a community that hosts fairs, socials, informational talks and guest speakers, according to The Daily Bruin.
“When I first came to UCLA, I was surprised there wasn’t a vegan club,” Shang said.
“There is an animal rights club, so it’s a similar idea, but I’m more interested in the food, culture and community, so I wanted to make something more centered around that.”
“It’s great for people who have a certain dietary choice to come together and bond over that." https://t.co/Eq3opkTRYk
— Herbivorous Butcher (@TheHerbivorousB) November 7, 2017
For most vegans, their social lives (which includes carnivorous folks) can sometimes interfere with their food choices. As Shang discovered, “The hardest part was mostly going out to eat and going to friends’ houses”.
To Ysabel Chavez, who co-founded Veg Bruins, it’s important that vegan students stick together in order to sustain their diets.
The third-year international development studies student said:
“Eating is a very social thing.”
“So if your friends say ‘Hey, do you want to go to (Korean barbecue)?’ someone who’s newly vegan often has difficulty with that.”
The club’s objective is to teach vegan students how to get a balanced diet from just plants. It’s to help them avoid usual pitfalls new vegans usually fall into, such as gorging on junk food, which will make them tired and hungry. Shang said the correct way is to eat bigger portions of plant-based food to meet their caloric requirements.
“Going vegan is doable; it’s not that hard,” Shang said. “But you really have to educate yourself about it and know what to eat.”
While there have been lots of educational events, such as speaker meetings, Shang hopes to balance these informative sessions with more social ones. The plan for Veg Bruins’ future is to grow the community – that means more socials and potlucks for members get to know each other more and learn how to adapt to a vegan lifestyle.
The club, which has added more than 100 students to its mailing list since its creation this spring, will also be hosting its first Vegan Fair in Bruin Plaza on Nov 1. The fair will be showcasing different vegan companies and their products.