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Event tries to persuade USF students to stop eating meat

USF sophomore Britany Glasper may be adding more vegan restaurants to her repertoire after attending Monday’s “Meatout.”

Attendees at the event — hosted by Students Protecting the Environment and Animals through Knowledge (S.P.E.A.K) — had the chance to taste various vegetarian dishes.

“On one of the tables, I saw an advertisement for a new local vegan restaurant,” said Glasper, who is double majoring in music performance and psychology. “I think I’m going to check it out.”

The purpose of the third annual “Meatout” was to educate those with biases against vegetarian food about how tasteful the dishes can be, said Candice Bailey, president of S.P.E.A.K.

The four-hour event, which at least 100 people attended, accomplished that, she said.

The event also promoted vegetarianism and raised awareness of the animal cruelty involved in making certain foods, said Jordan Stone, vice president of the Alliance of Concerned Students (ACS).

The environmental benefit of maintaining a vegetarian diet is that it decreases the amount of meat produced, making it more sustainable for the planet, Stone said.

Social consciousness brought USF student Lade Akiwumi to the event.

“I’m not a vegetarian, but I try to be conscious about what I eat,” said Akiwumi, a freshman majoring in political science. “I think the awareness is greater than the effort of not eating meat.”

S.P.E.A.K, the only animal rights group on campus that incorporates environmentalism in its main focus, has expanded, Bailey said.

“We started with a single table at the Bull Market the first year, so we have definitely grown,” she said. “Every year is an improvement.”

Three other organizations helped host the event: Student Environmental Association, Engineers Without Borders and ACS.

Attendees received informational books, pamphlets and pictures. USF’s Dining Services and Village Health Market catered the vegetarian dishes.

“Hopefully, after today’s event, more people will make the decision to leave meat out of their meals,” Bailey said. “People can survive without eating meat and even be healthier for it.”