With ten years, 250,000 miles driven, and a million interactions with students behind me, what's my main takeaway? It's that today's youth genuinely desire a better world for animals.
Whether I'm in a blue state or a red state, at an art school or an ag school, I'm always coming across students who oppose animal cruelty and are eager to explore vegan eating. Bon Appétit, a food catering company that works with college campuses, surveyed students during the 2005 to 2006 school year about their food choices. They found that 8% of their students self-identified as vegetarian and 1% self-identified as vegan. Four years later, the number was at 12% and 2% respectively, a 50% increase of vegetarians and a doubling of vegans – in just four years!
I get such little resistance from students these days compared to just ten years ago when I started doing this work. And while so many used to be unfamiliar with the term "vegan," about everyone I encounter these days has a friend, family member or significant other who is vegan. Our ranks are growing, and they'll continue to grow.