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Our Students Secure Campaign Victory in Campus Cafes

April 28, 2023

The incredible advocacy work of our students was recently featured in articles from VegNews and DefaultVeg. We’re so proud of these influential students who are dedicated to our mission to end factory farming, and create a just and sustainable food system for all.

The incredible advocacy work of our New Roots Institute students was recently featured in an article titled “These 2 College Cafés Just Made Oat Milk the Default” from VegNews.

The University of San Diego (USD) is one of New Roots Institute’s high-engagement schools, where our team works with multiple professors across subject areas to teach lessons on the impacts of factory farming in their classes. We have had several students from USD participate in our Leadership Program, which positions students to be influential players in the movement to end factory farming.

As part of the Leadership Program, Jaylynn Choi has been working with Better Food Foundation on the Oat Milk Default Pilot project mentioned in VegNews. Jaylynn co-authored an op-ed titled “Oat Milk Makes A Splash” with Better Food Foundation Fellow Mikhala Kaseweter that was published in USD’s student paper. Her work is also featured in the article “Fall Forecast: DefaultVeg Coffee Takes Colleges By Storm” from DefaultVeg.

In addition, Jaylynn says, “The op-ed that I wrote was published in the school's newspaper. For the oat milk pilot, I helped table for two events on campus telling people about the pilot and getting more survey responses. I drafted a petition for students to sign that says we want the oat milk default to be a permanent initiative at USD.”

Fellow Hannah Hughes has been working with Better Food Foundation on a similar project at Pomona College. New Roots Institute Fellows meet weekly as a group in addition to attending coaching sessions with New Roots Institute staff to support their campaign progress. In these sessions, fellows formulate campaign milestones, check in about progress, and get support in working through barriers. Our fellowship is intentionally designed to provide essential tailored support for students to accomplish these campaign wins.

In addition to the success of her campaign to get oat milk in Pomona College’s Café 47, Hannah also planned and successfully executed a vegan festival at a campus dining hall in April 2023, which had over 300 people in attendance. The fully vegan meal featured a variety of creative dishes, such as king oyster mushroom “scallops” and vegan butter boards. She also invited various vegan food companies such as Good Catch and Beleaf to provide samples for students to try. Around the dining hall, she displayed informational graphics she created highlighting the benefits of a plant-based diet to animal welfare, sustainability, and social justice, and passed out pamphlets with additional information to students at each table.

Hannah reflected on her experience working on these institutional campaigns in a forthcoming op-ed, stating, “Throughout this experience, I learned that advocacy takes time, persistence, and determination. As I look to the future, I am excited to continue advocating for plant-based diets and sustainability at Pomona. In future semesters, I hope to work on implementing DefaultVeg or a similar program in the dining halls, promote oat milk defaults in more cafes throughout the Claremont Colleges, and establish a plan with the sustainability office to reduce the amount of animal products served on campus.”

We’re so proud of these influential students for making these significant institutional-level changes on their university campuses that will pave the way for further progress to make plant-based milks the default. We applaud Jaylynn and Hannah for their dedication and efforts toward our shared mission to end factory farming, and create a just and sustainable food system for all.