Veg Out promotes plant-based living and vegan conversations on campus

The club comes from a place of 'sympathy and inclusion,' said co-founder Maxana Goettl

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, oh my! Veg Out at ASU aims to raise awareness about plant-based diets and the negative impacts they say a meat-eating diet has on health, animals and the environment.

This new club is encouraging more students to adopt plant-based diets, which bar meat, dairy and eggs – anything that comes from an animal. 

Maxana Goettl, co-founder of the club and a sophomore studying creative writing, said that while the club supports this plant-based lifestyle, it encourages meat-eaters to join.

“We don't want anyone to feel excluded because they eat meat,” she said. “Just switching one meal out of the day is sort of a big move, and so we're really just promoting any sort of positive change.”

Goettl, an ethical vegan, said the club has taken a careful approach in starting the conversation about plant-based living, as she said she knows there are plenty of negative stereotypes about vegans.

“There is a huge stigma around veganism and the idea of pushy vegans, which really isn't the case with most vegans that I've interacted with,” she said.

Rather, Goettl said, Veg Out is trying to come from a place of “sympathy and inclusion.”

Although the club is new, they aim to cause change on campus in the future by talking more about the meat industry and encouraging dining halls start stocking more vegan options.

Read more: Dining halls should be more ‘livable’ for vegetarians/vegans

Katja Klosterman, a co-founder of the club and sophomore studying biochemistry, said she and Goettl were inspired to start the club after they read a book on the fast food industry in their Human Event class freshman year.

While she has followed a vegetarian diet for about half of her life, Klosterman said she wanted to transition to veganism after learning about the animal agriculture industry. 

“Once I started doing research about it, I started truly understanding that there's a lot more that goes into it,” she said. “There's ... the environmental aspect of it, there's the social justice aspect of it, like a lot of communities are being exploited by the industry.”

Klosterman said starting the conversation about veganism is Veg Out’s main goal. 

“We're not trying to change anybody's mind," she said. "We’re just trying to bring up these ideas that they may not have known before. Like me, I didn't even know about the implications of the meat industry on all these other aspects.”

The club hosted their first event on March 29, which included a screening and discussion of the film “What the Health." Goettl said she was pleasantly surprised by a good turnout, and that it seemed the club is getting positive feedback so far from plant-eaters and meat-eaters alike.

Emma Martz, a freshman studying electrical engineering, attended the event and said she felt very included — even as someone who came in as a meat eater.

"I know there's kind of this stigma that vegans like to call people out, but the way this felt was they were calling people in," she said.

Martz said since she started college, she has tried to be more conscious of the environment, her health and what she puts in her body, and this club is a great way for her to get informed. 

She said she is partaking in Barrett's vegan challenge this week, and she’s excited about a club that promotes healthy eating and can foster a community of support.

"We're all here as community trying to make ourselves better (and) make the community better one step at a time," Martz said. "Let's do it together."


Reach the reporter at mlutesad@asu.edu or follow @mackinleyjade on Twitter. 

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