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Vegan student group gains preliminary recognition

One of the University of Maine’s newest organizations is working hard to bring change to the campus’ food situation. The Vegan Empowerment and Education Coalition (VEE) received preliminary recognition from the General Student Senate earlier in the semester.

Before they became a recognized organization, they were meeting with UMaine’s administration to discuss ways in which Dining Services could better meet the needs of vegans on campus.

“Vegan Education and Empowerment is focused on growing the vegan and vegetarian communities at the University of Maine with an emphasis on raising awareness, education, outreach and access for the entire UMaine Community,” Connor Scott, the Treasurer of VEE, said.

The organization is the brain-child of Brooke Hoyle and her sister Audrey Hoyle. According to Brooke Hoyle, they created VEE in order to “meet fellow students and community members that were vegan or looking to become vegan.”

“We wanted fellowship,” Brooke Hoyle said.  “And also support to be able to spread a message of compassion and peace through action.”

VEE has both short term and long term goals that they hope to achieve. One of their long term goals is to bring more vegan options to campus dining.

“We’ve been working closely with Dining Services to share our ideas and they have been met with positive response,” Brooke Hoyle said. VEE hopes to encourage Dining Services to bring in more local options as well.

While VEE has already started meeting with administration to discuss how to bring about change, they have also started working on shorter term goals. The members of VEE volunteer at Peace Ridge, an animal sanctuary for abused and neglected animals, on Saturdays. They have also been working to create pamphlets and other educational material for interested students.

VEE is open to undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and community members. Anyone who is interested in joining can contact either of the co-presidents, or other officers to learn more about VEE, their meeting times and volunteer opportunities.

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