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Society Stories: Strathclyde Vegan Society

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We spoke to the Strath Vegan Society President Kat Chan about everything the society gets up to, what to expect when you get involved and Vegan snack suggestions!

What is the Strathclyde Vegan Society?

We’re a group of like-minded students, all at different stages of exploring veganism! We provide a network of support for anyone who wants to explore veganism or get involved in the activism that we do. We advertise a lot of climate change and animal-focused activism and attend events and protests as a group as often as we can. 

Our goal as a society is to show everyone that vegans aren't weird. We’re normal people that just care about the animals, the environment, and maybe even our health. 

We just want to spread this message of compassion and show that in veganism there are a lot more options. You’re not going to miss out on as much as you think you would when exploring veganism, especially if you start your journey with our society. We’ve all been there and are happy to help everyone on their journeys.

What do students need to get involved with the Vegan Society?

All members need to get involved is to be open-minded, to explore veganism and all the reasons people have for being vegan and decide for themselves how involved they want to be. Our membership is free and open to everyone, no matter what stage of the journey they’re at.

We like to encourage people to do their own research and make their own decisions. Especially about the activism we take part in, it’s important that people decide for themselves to support and get involved with a cause. When coming to meetings all we ask is that you come with an openness to new experiences and you're giving it a go properly. 

Why should students get involved with the Vegan Society?

There are lots of reasons why you should be vegan or get involved with activism! Especially if you care about the climate or animals.

The number one for me would be for the animals. It's just like, if you believe in human rights, then animal rights are just the logical next step. If you believe that we shouldn't cause unnecessary suffering to other beings then veganism is then an easy step to make. It's not extreme or anything to just want to protect others and care about others. 

The next reason would be the climate and our environment. Our own environment is changing currently, for example in the Amazon rainforest. A large percentage of that deforestation is forecasted to grow soy and other crops, mainly soy to feed land animals and if we transition to a plant-based food system, we would save so much land so much water, and so many resources!

The third reason would be everything else. It's just a huge social movement that is amazing to be a part of. There’s a lot of research on preventing pandemics that come from animals and how going plant-based can help the planet that we just want to help people listen to. We're doing the plant-based treaty campaign currently, which encourages the university and institutions to go plant-based.

What are the most rewarding moments of being involved for you?

Connecting with other like-minded people! It’s amazing to connect with people who share the same beliefs and passions. There are people that are willing to change for a better future and that gives me hope. It’s nice to be able to witness and support people in their journey too. Seeing the way people can grow as they explore veganism, having conversations with people and getting to share the important work we do and seeing the impact. That’s the most rewarding part.

What plans does the society have or are looking forward to?

There's a lot coming up that we’re really excited about! 

A campaign we're working on is plant-based unions which is telling University bodies to go 100% plant based. We just want the university to listen to the science that's coming out and make the change. We’ve already seen the change be approved at Stirling University. The team at Stirling used the democratic voting system to get support and have students vote to go plant-based and we’ve all been really excited about the change.

We’re also excited to see Edinburgh be the first European capital city to endorse the Plant Based Treaty whhich is another campaign we’re highly involved in as a society.

As a society do you feel like you're quite connected to the other vegan societies in Scotland?

Yes! Especially because of this plant-based university's campaign. The campaign has really connected us, we even had a summer camp last year with a bunch of plant-based people. Not everyone was vegan, but some people actually turned vegan because of the camp, which was really cool. 

I've got connections down in London at UCL because of the campaign. There are some really amazing, compassionate activists and people working on this campaign. It’s given me a chance to meet some of the best people in my life.

We're very connected with other social movements like Just Stop Oil as well for example and Animal Rebellion Scotland. We’ve all connected by the same fight.

Do you have any food recommendations for people? Any easy switches for getting started?

You can start very easily by trying out plant-based milk by trying them all you can find your favourite and make the switch. I’m team oat milk but you’ve got soya, almond etc. There are lots of options!

Before I went vegan, I was like, what was that? Learning about lentils, chickpeas and even apple fibre and the ways they can be used as substitutes are very interesting. You can get a lot of really cool recipes on Instagram and with just a quick Google search.

I would just recommend people, do their own research and to start you don’t need to change anything, you can cook your favourite meals, right? But do a simple challenge! Try veganize your favourite meals. For example, if you like cottage pie, try like substitute it with plant-based beef bits.

My go-to snack would be lentil or hummus chips and the Greggs vegan sausage rolls are an easy switch as well. The Plant Based Treaty have a really good guide on vegan options in Glasgow!

If you’re interested in getting involved with the society or their campaigning you can reach out Instagram or find out more here.


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