While in college, I was a big fan of more traditional outreach such as movie screenings and leafleting with pamphlets, but since leaving the college campus environment, I’ve been drawn to sharing veganism through other means. For the twenty-something set I hang with these days, my vegan friends and I have found different ways to introduce veganism.
Having years of experience with the mess it can create, I’m never one to push chatting about political ethics with friends or family. I find people who are genuinely interested in hearing where I come from with my veganism ask me about it, and this puts me in a position where neither one of us are likely to be as defensive. Three of the most effective ways I’ve found are outlined below.
- Free cupcakes! Showing up to a meeting with a bunch of free cupcakes (cookies also work) will earn high fives all around. Additionally you’ve earned some good karma and enjoyed the experience of sharing delicious snacks with people who you are working with which possibly means they are broke and/or working for free. Mentioning they are vegan will likely gain interest from at least one in the crowd at which point the door is opened to share more awesome vegan recipes.
- Vegan Drinks Vegan Drinks is along the same lines as the event Green Drinks which was an event created for those in the environmental field to mingle with new contacts and hang out with friends in a casual setting that has popped up in many cities. As described on the Vegan Drinks website: “Vegan Drinks is a monthly social networking event for people interested in promoting veganism and advocating for animal rights. Vegan Drinks’ mission is to bring together a diverse group of people–from cupcake aficionados to animal lawyers to veg*ns of all stripes in between–to build new coalitions and promote the sharing of resources.” Someone who has been curious about animal rights issues may find an event such as Vegan Drinks a less intimidating way to get their feet wet then attending an organizational meeting. Also, this type of social event can be a great introduction to organizations and activists.
- Community Dinner Party Organizing a weekly time to cook with friends is a fab way to save money and also get together with busy friends. Offering to host and buy the ingredients and then everyone just shows up and pitches in a few bucks can be an interesting way to share vegan cooking and introduce people to dishes they might not try otherwise. Often trying new recipes is intimidating alone, but hanging out in a kitchen with friends and cooking together is not. Make enough for leftovers and the sharing of vegan goodness continues!
Through the beauty of the World Wide Web it’s ridiculously easy to organize and promote social events like those suggested above. And I’m about to point out something obvious here, but incredibly true and worth remembering: sharing through genuine personal connection is often the most productive way to communicate ethics. All of the above suggestions relate to this point I’ve learned through personal experience to be true.