"The first and biggest vegan student association in the Netherlands"
With global temperatures steadily rising, and more than 20 million animals slaughtered in the Netherlands in 2017 alone (Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations, 2019), the Vegan Student Association of Groningen (VSA) is determined to effect change. We were founded in September 2018 by Alicja Jeleńska and have since gained much attention; with over 400 likes on Facebook, extensive media coverage (including EditieNL and RTV Noord), and over 60 registered members, VSA is growing exponentially, and with it, veganism in Groningen. We aim to provide a platform for students interested in veganism to support each other. The core goals of the VSA concern building and maintaining a vegan community as well as bringing the ethical, environmental and health benefits of veganism to the attention of students.
To achieve our goals, we have been busily organizing several events in the past months. Our official opening took place in February; we were thrilled to see so many attendees enjoying inspiring talks by Andrea Sangiacomo and Corry Keizer. As a Philosophy professor, Andrea Sangiacomo convinced the RUG Philosophy department to make vegan catering a default. Moreover, Corry Keizer is a board member of the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme, a major association which is supporting the VSA financially and otherwise. Furthermore, a vegan musician, Séimí Rowan, who joined us all the way from Scotland, set the mood with his soothing melodies.
In March we held our very first vegan drinks night, where we socialised over beer, wine and an all-vegan menu. This event, as well as potlucks, will become a regular occurrence. In April we also co-organised a lecture with the Honours College Student Association, debating about whether to Vegan or Not to Vegan. Furthermore, we are currently organizing a cooking workshop to showcase how cost-effective, easy, and nutritious vegan meals can be. We want to prove to students that veganism is not a sacrifice, but rather a conscientious switch to plant-based options; are you worried about missing your favourite non-vegan meal? Never fear! Jumbo and Albert Heijn sell delicious alternatives. From flavourful vegan patties, phish-fingers, cheeze, and even ice-cream and vegan sashimi. Rest assured that there are numerous plant-based alternatives available. Our e-book – which is gifted to new members – also contains delicious homemade recipes. If you are eager for some vegan recipes already, get inspired by some of our favourite vegan bloggers
The VSA is also holding guest lectures on veganism-related topics. Our most recent talk featured the owner of a chicken sanctuary (Ex-Legkipjes) and will be followed by a trip to the sanctuary. Furthermore, documentary screenings will be held to spread information and awareness about veganism. Recently, the VSA screened Cowspiracy. The documentary explores the negative impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and how veganism can be a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. On the 31st of May, the VSA is additionally taking part in a 12-hour chalking night, with the aim of colouring the streets of Groningen with compassionate messages. If you wish to receive updates about such events in the future, feel free to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
As the VSA continues to expand, more exciting plans lie ahead: from plant-based and sustainable catering in the Hanze and RUG to collaborations with Groningen-based businesses, we are working on optimizing vegan living in Groningen. Momentarily, we are partnered with Lust, Rå salad bar and Muro (a vegan-friendly Turkish food truck), enabling all VSA members discounted food and drinks. We aim to form more of such partnerships over time. Overall, the association has high aspirations and is working enthusiastically to make Groningen an even more compassionate and green city. Are you interested in making a change? Feel welcome to approach us at any time or join our next event. We look forward to meeting you! If you would like more information on veganism, we recommend checking out the following:
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