When Gracie Chan transitioned to veganism, she noticed CPP didn’t have a club that was focused on students living a sustainable lifestyle.
“I wanted to be more involved on campus about sustainability and find people that are involved [with] sustainability and when I looked, I couldn’t really find a club,” Chan said.
Chan, a third-year business student, created Students for a Sustainable Future (SSF) in fall 2016 to build a social community for students who are interested in learning about lifestyle changes that will better the environment.
Plant-based diets and veganism are a couple ways people can have a positive impact on the environment.
By hosting events, campaigns and collaborations, the club is able to cultivate informational conversations about sustainability on campus.
The club, in collaboration with Dining Services, implemented more vegan options on campus throughout eateries and the dining hall.
Chan said Students for a Sustainable Future is for students at CPP trying their best to be environmentally friendly, but have difficulty finding support from others that share the same goal.
Issa Pena, treasurer of SSF and a transfer organizational communication student, said she thinks the word “sustainable” is overused in the media.
Many don’t even know what it means.
“We’re trying to make everyone a lot more environmentally conscious, more cognizant of where the trash goes, how their carbon footprint impacts the planet, reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse emissions by going plant-based,” Pena said. “And how all of these things intersect.”
When it comes to promoting sustainability and health on campus, clubs like SSF provide students with the opportunity to learn about plant-based options.
People who aren’t interested in going vegan are at times enthusiastic about incorporating vegan meals into their life.
Chan transitioned to a vegan diet after realizing that the food we eat is responsible for our global carbon footprint, which she feels is an important message that she wants to spread to others.
She added that people need to realize that veganism isn’t a trend.
Pena is a vegetarian, transitioning to becoming a vegan.
She educates herself about sustainability but is transparent about the importance of small changes people can make in order to increase the amount of plant-based foods in their diet.
“We want to show everyone that it’s the little things at a time, not necessarily going cold turkey,” she said.
Chan said being sustainable and environmentally conscious isn’t just for one specific person, it affects everybody.
It’s in our daily lives — environmental problems are becoming more of an issue around the world — especially issues on a global level, such as the palm oil concerns in Malaysia.
“It doesn’t just affect one person, it affects everybody,” Chan said. “It’s in everybody’s best interest to be aware of that and to help make choices that would not only better themselves, but also the environment and the future.”
The club plans to increase its non-vegan members so SSF can help new members eat more plant-based diets and focus on sustainability.
Also, they’re creating the first-ever pamphlet that shows all of the vegan options that can be found on campus.
“If anyone is interested in joining, they’re definitely welcome to, it’s open to everybody and you don’t have to be vegan to join,” Chan said.
If students are interested in learning more about the Students for a Sustainable Future Club, they can visit its Instagram page @cpp_ssf for upcoming meetings and events.
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