Surprisingly, not all vegans look like stock photos of salad-eating blondes!

Surprisingly, not all vegans look like stock photos of salad-eating models!

Shopping period is over, which means your schedule is finally complete and (if you’re lucky) not a complete mess. But that’s just your academic schedule. What about those extracurriculars? Don’t you wanna get involved with something? Meet new people? Since the Activities Fair is only held in September, joining new clubs during the Spring Semester can be difficult. Fortunately, Bwog sent Staff Writers Jessa Nootbaar and Jennifer Nugent to cover CU Vegan Society’s meeting this Tuesday, bringing you the first ClubHop of the semester.

We entered the meeting hesitantly. Having received emails from the society encouraging us to participate in their activism, we feared we might be out of place. While both having been vegan for over four years, we had been applauded by our meat-eating peers as “chill vegans.” In other words, we don’t have much interest in telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat. We’ll just sit here eating our side salad and quietly taking our B12 supplement (although next time, please submit your restaurant selection to us for vegan-friendly approval).

As we slid open the door to Lerner 505L, we didn’t find the white dreads and patchouli oil we had anticipated. Instead, the sixteen students squeezed around the table represented a diverse gamut of people: all four colleges, all genders, all places of origin, and all types of eaters (vegan, non-vegan, and “transitioning”). They even looked normal.

We went around the table, introducing ourselves by name and favorite food, the answers ranging from “roasted cauliflower” to “pizza” (vegan, of course). Every comment was met with a series of affirmations and excitement, and the two of us began to entertain the idea that we had found a community of like-minded individuals.

The meeting soon turned to more structured, serious discussion. The topic had been chosen by popular vote a few days prior, they said. We whipped out the Notes apps on our phones, journalists that we are, thinking that this would be the moment when they finally revealed themselves to be the militant vegans we had feared. Imagine our disappointment when the leaders announced the topic: vegdating.

For those carnivores not in the know, “vegdating” refers to the complexities of dating as a vegan. Members shared anecdotes (like being “converted” by their significant others) and tips about non-vegan restaurants with plenty of vegan options (check out Spring Natural Kitchen to eat well but still make your token vegan friend happy). As the group moved on to other topics of conversation, we became increasingly impressed. If you are lactose intolerant or vegetarian, you have the Vegan Society to thank for increased dining hall options (vegan cookies in Ferris, vegan cheese in John Jay, and more).

They discussed future events, including their valentine chocolate giveaway, inclusive potlucks (“It’s all about trickery,” joked one of the leaders. “We lure them in with the free food and, once we have them, we educate them.”), and mixers with other schools’ vegan societies, for those who were interested in vegdating ;).

At the end of our hour with the group, we emerged thoroughly “converted.” The vegans of Columbia had proved themselves to be self-deprecating (rare for any CU student), fun, passionate, and effective. If the two of us were stranded on a desert island, would we attend a CU Vegan Society meeting? Absolutely.

CU Vegan Society meets in Lerner 505L every Tuesday night from 8-9pm.

Salad-Eating Model via Shutterstock