November is World Vegan Month, and Stephanie Hunt, president of the Vegan and Vegetarian Society at WVU, celebrates it by encouraging students to transition to a more plant-based diet.
“I don’t think the whole world’s going to go vegan anytime soon, but I think the younger population is definitely changing things for our future and realizing the detriment of eating animal products,” Hunt said.
Hunt began her transition into veganism after attending a debate on the ethics of eating meat at her old community college.
“That was the first time I realized that there wasn’t really a reason that people were eating meat, so I had a really different perspective from there,” Hunt said.
Within the past year, Hunt has witnessed an increase in vegan and vegetarian options on campus and in the Morgantown area as a whole. WVU Dining Services now offers vegan and vegetarian options at dining halls, such a Hatfields and Summit Café.
The city itself has more than 10 restaurants that offer all-vegan options. TK’s Fruit Produce and Bubble Tea is one of Hunt’s favorite restaurants, which offers a comprehensive vegan and vegetarian menu.
Although veganism and vegetarianism are more common among younger generations, the vast majority of Americans identify as neither. According to a 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center, only 3% of U.S. adults identify as strict vegans or vegetarians.
Hunt believes that education is the key factor in encouraging students to eat a more plant-based diet.
“Everyone, for the most part, is against animal cruelty,” Hunt said. “You just don’t realize how much cruelty is going into these animal products.”
Hunt and her organization plan to educate WVU students through future events, such as vegan potluck and a meatless Monday. The organization wants to encourage students to reduce their impact on the planet and raise awareness of animal cruelty.