MarissaMarissa Price was Student Activist of the Month for April 2014!

Marissa is a junior at George Washington University and president of the GW Animal Advocates

Why are you vegan?
I am vegan because I do not think I am superior to other animals. Animals are not ours to use and exploit. I wish to co-exist with animals instead of taking advantage of these innocent beings.  Also, veggies are DELICIOUS! Veganism is a compassionate world view that is good for animals, people, health and the environment.

Why do you promote veganism?
There is no reason to not support veganism. upwards of 90% of our animal products come from factory farms. These factories treat living, feeling animals as commodities and put them in the most disgusting and horrifying situations. These same factory farms also pollute the environment heavily, disrespect workers and the surrounding community. Numerous medical and health specialists have proven its immense health benefits. A vegan diet is nutritionally superior to a diet full of meat and animal products.

How do your friends react to your veganism?
Most of my friends have been very supportive and some have started incorporating veganism in their own diets!

How is the vegan scene at your school?
As far as strict, hard-core vegans — the scene is small. But we have a lot of environmentally-conscious, social-justice oriented students who try to incorporate veganism into their daily lives.

How long has your club been around?
Since September 2013.

What types of events and activities have you planned?
In the last few months we have held monthly documentary nights and vegan potlucks. These meetings are a place of members to gather and catch up on our current initiatives, as well as an easy way for newcomers to learn about our group. The films we’ve shown recently are Blackfish,Food, Inc., Shelter Me and Forks Over Knives. During the week of Valentines Day, we had 3 all vegan bake sales on campus. We also have speakers on campus, from HSUS, PETA, Humane League of Voters Washington, D.C., and “Save the Rock Creek Park Deer”.

What have been your biggest challenges?
We have trouble maintaining membership.  If people aren’t on board, they typically aren’t committed to coming to our events or meetings.

What has been your biggest mistake?
I think I should have helped to train new board members longer before giving them a ton of responsibilities all at once. Being on board is a big and serious commitment.

What was your favorite activity or event?
Our bake sale in the center of campus where we had some dogs join us. We really got to talk to a lot of students!

What has been the club’s biggest success?
Holding a lot of events and making great connections with the AR community.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Paul Shapiro! He is so humble that he will probably be embarrassed that I am calling him out here, but I met him last summer when I was interning with the lobbying affiliate of HSUS (HSLF). Since then, he has been an invaluable mentor and I have had the honor of working with him on some farm animal protection campaigns.

Have any books or philosophies or people been important to you?
Eating Animals by Jonathon Safron Foer is an incredible book, as well as Carol Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat.

Why is in-school activism important?
High school and college students are a large resource to affect change. We are passionate, driven and most of us have the luxury of not yet being too bogged down with responsibility. Students can easily influence other students and spread the word. Also, colleges give money and resources to student organizations, and can really help elevate a group’s mission.

Do you have any tips for youth who want to go vegetarian or vegan? What advice do you have for other youth activists?
Animals are feeling beings not very different from us. If you feel uncomfortable about eating meat and animal products, embrace it. Do not let society continue telling you that it is okay, it is normal. Lead a life that demonstrates your beliefs and is in accordance with your values.