A new club on campus welcomes vegetarians, vegans, individuals who wish to help the environment.
First-year Alex Bonfiglio, the club’s president, founded Green Mountain Veggies since there was no vegan, vegetarian or animal rights club at UVM, she said.
The members ultimately chose “Veggies” instead of “Vegans” to foster an inclusive community, since students do not need to be vegan or vegetarian to join the club, Bonfiglio said.
The club’s goal is to help increase the prevalence and awareness of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles and diets to help promote proper treatment of animals and the environment, she said.
The club currently has over 30 members but is not yet SGA funded. Bonfiglio and other members are working to collaborate and gain official recognition by SGA, she said.
The club works “to raise awareness of the injustices that occur against innocent animals and the environment when an individual decides to eat meat,” club member and junior Marguerite Horton said.
Bonfiglio hopes to hold movie screenings to spread awareness of the meat, egg and dairy industries, she said.
The club aims to destigmatize the term “vegan,” which is often associated with negativity, anger and partaking in a fad, Bonfiglio said.
Rather, it is a diet and lifestyle to promote positive change for animals and the environment, she said.
Bonfiglio personally chose to commit to the vegan diet and lifestyle after performing some research on the environment, she said.
Initially, she was going to become vegetarian for the environment, but after researching the dairy and egg industry, she was prompted to become vegan, Bonfiglio said.
Horton joined the group “to advocate for healthy, compassionate, holistic and environmentally sustainable and conscious lifestyles,” she said.
Horton wished to participate in an organization supporting animal rights after discovering of the effects of factory farming on the environment and the lives of animals, she said.
This prompted Horton to create an Instagram account with her sister to share their experience as vegans, she said.
Horton wanted a way to inform others and help provide tips to live a vegan lifestyle in a healthy and manageable way, she said.
Over time, it becomes relatively easier to adapt to a vegan lifestyle, although it can be difficult to start, especially in the UVM dining halls, Bonfiglio said.
Resources like Green Mountain Veggies help individuals and students gain new ideas for meals and routines that promote a healthy environment and body, she said.
Individuals must also pay attention to nutrition in order to maintain a healthy and balanced vegan lifestyle in college, Horton said.
Horton and her sister’s mantra, which is promoted on Foodnotfuckboys, their Instagram account, is “that the key to a successful life is more important than just healthy eating and looking good,” she said.
“For us, it’s about feeling the best we can,” Horton said. “It’s about having strong relationships with the people surrounding us and the worlds both inside and around us. It means treating animals, Mother Nature and our bodies with the respect they deserve.”
This club promotes this ideology, and wishes to create an open and expressive environment to support each other, the environment and animals, Bonfiglio said.
Green Mountain Veggies weekly meetings are 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Living/Learning Center.
For more information and to receive emails about upcoming events and meetings, Bonfiglio can be contacted at [email protected]