1. Food sampling and leafleting at the cafeteria
2. Running a Pay Per View table in the Student Center
We were also joined by an enthusiastic young sophomore named Becca, whom I met last time I tabled here. She’s a real go-getter who is starting her own Pro-Veg group on campus in December and was anxious to get some first-hand tabling and PPV experience so that she and her group can continue this sort of activism. Go Becca!
With the help of VegFund, we were able to offer each student who entered the cafeteria a mini Sunflour cookie along with a Compassionate Choices brochure. The combo was such a success that we went through nearly all 320 cookies in just over an hour!
Those who took the time to stop at our table were also offered a Primal Strip, which were generously donated by the company. These were a huge hit — especially with guys who said they “couldn’t live without meat.” I personally watched a couple of young men sample the Texas BBQ flavor and both were pleasantly surprised, nodding their heads and smiling. I was taken aback by how many students were unaware that veggie meats (such as Primal Strips) even existed, so it was very valuable to be able to offer them samples. Becca, the student who is forming a Pro-Veg campus group, was so impressed with the flavors that she plans to serve them at her first student meeting!
Over at the Pay Per View table in the student center, we put out a plate of cookies to offer to students (along with the dollar bill and brochure) after they had viewed the video. My favorite moment of the day came when Cat offered a young man a cookie. He looked ill and said, “Uh…is there any dairy or eggs in that?” She said, “Great question! And no…these are vegan…all cruelty-free!” He gladly took one and seemed pleased that treats were part of the vegan menu.
All of us were completely blown away by the effectiveness of the Pay Per View concept. Even though the college placed us in a very low-foot traffic area, our table attracted quite a bit of student interest. In just over 4.5 hours, we screened the movie 47 times – and gave out $42 (as 5 students refused the dollar payment). At several points during the afternoon, there was even a waiting line of 2-3 students! They actually stood around for 5 minutes and waited for a spot to open up. So encouraging! To be honest, I wasn’t sure $1 would be that effective of a draw, but it was enough to pique the interest of students – some even seemed to view it as a challenge of sorts.
The reactions from students were truly moving. A few teared up, ALL were visibly upset, many asked questions afterwards and wanted to know more. A few commented that they would “never eat meat again.” The responses I heard most often were “very informative” and “I had no idea…” Students who viewed the film received a dollar bill tucked inside a copy of Compassionate Choices. Other brochures were also available – including Don’t Buy The Myth to offer to students who talked about “organic” or “free-range” animal farming. We were delighted to have met two faculty members who were pleased to see us spreading this information and offered their support.
They say an image is worth a thousand words, and after seeing the student reactions for myself, I am now a firm believer. In my opinion, Pay Per View was the most impactful type of activism I have ever participated in. There is just no substitute for seeing the horrific images for yourself: privately, quitely, and with the support of vegan activists around you. I am issuing a call to vegans everywhere: please make it a top priority to organize one of these events in your area. Even if you’ve never done any activism before – start here. Make it your goal to approach your local public college or university and arrange for a table. Better yet, contact the campus veg group and do it together!
What will you need to get started, you ask?
- a laptop or two
- a sign /privacy shield (I made these in a couple of hours)
- a copy of a brief video (Nina and I successfully edited down Peta’s Glass Walls to just over 5 min and were able to include info on dairy, eggs, chickens, cows and pigs.)
- some literature: Compassionate Choices, Why Vegan, Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating and The Humane Myth are good options. You might also consider vegan starter kits (sometimes referred to as vegetarian starter kits, even though the content is vegan).
- and of course, dollar bills. Contact VegFund to apply for funding.
All in all, in just one afternoon, we gave out 600 Compassionate Choices brochures, 48 Even if You Like Meat brochures, 6 Guides to Cruelty-free Eating, 320 vegan cookies and 3 boxes of vegan Primal Strips. And we got 47 students to watch a 5 min film. This is how it gets done…creating a vegan world one dollar, one cookie, one person at a time…