After attending a party and meeting Rice alumni, graduate student Christoph Wagner to cater to an ignored group on campus: vegans. Wagner, a student at The Shepherd School of Music, decided to start the Rice Vegan Society after encouragement from Anuj Shah (Baker ‘92), a Rice alumnus who has a podcast called speakingofvegan.com. Shah founded the Rice Organization for Animal Rights during his own time here and urged Wagner to start a club for the next generation. To start the society, Wagner first connected with fellow vegans in the Shepherd School and then finally expanded to over 90 members using the Vegans at Rice Facebook group.
Wagner wants a way to connect with other vegans in a new place. The Rice Vegan Society offers a platform to improve resources for vegans on campus. Simultaneously, the society is meant to raise awareness of food-related issues such as health, environment, animal rights, social justice, and humanity. For instance, Rice has done a great deal amount of research on climate change and transforming the energy system. However, Wagner believes that they are missing an obvious solution and feels it is their responsibility to bring this message.
“The by far most efficient, and perhaps too simple to realize, intervention we can conduct lies on our plates, and barely anyone talks about this,” Wagner said.
For the remainder of the year, the Rice Vegan Society plans to host events with guest speakers, documentary screenings, and vegan get-togethers. Ultimately, the group hopes to launch an educational outreach program. It also started to connect with Housing and Dining to improve plant-based food choices in serveries and at events in general. It excites Wagner to see members of the Rice community come together to learn more about improving eating habits as a solution to the many challenges we face. In fact, his mission is to bring people together, including organizations and people both within and outside of Rice. They have collaborated with peta2 as well as with PlantPure Communities, a national non-profit organization. PlantPure Communities has launched a national grassroots movement with “pods” to bring healthy plant-based food choices to communities, and the Rice Vegan Society has collaborated with them to be the very first campus-pod.
All vegans and non-vegans are welcome to join this organization and are invited to attend its events.