By Mattie Sienknech
Dozens of new and returning members crammed into the KLC Radio Office on Wednesday, Sep.12 to attend Animal Collective’s first meeting of the year. Complete with four large vegan pizzas from Sizzle Pie, the gathering buzzed with enthusiastic energy and excitement for the new semester. When co-presidents Julia Monkarsh ’21, Eva Myers ’21 and Casey Pickard ’19 asked new members to explain why they joined Animal Collective, the answer was unanimous: They really love animals.
Founded in 2013, Animal Collective’s primary goal is to support animal activism in the Lewis & Clark community and beyond by organizing events and discussions centered around topics including the numerous problems with factory farming and food that promotes animal wellness. To promote animal-friendly eating habits, Animal Collective routinely hosts cooking workshops on campus that aim to teach members and non-members alike how to cook delicious vegan meals in their dorm kitchens and at home. Past cooking workshops have included sushi, vegan burgers and even traditional Thanksgiving food.
The club also organizes farm sanctuary visits in Portland and the surrounding area. This unique opportunity allows members to meet, pet and feed farm animals that, if not for these sanctuaries, could easily be thrown into the meat and dairy farming industry. Animal Collective also hosts occasional movie nights during which viewers watch, for example, an episode of Planet Earth or another show or movie pertaining to animal and environmental activism.
According to Pickard, you should join Animal Collective if: “One, you have an interest in animal advocacy, two, if you are looking to go to fun events and create lasting friendships and really good food and three because everyone needs to leave Portland sometimes and go pet animals.”
Myers joined because of her veganism. “I was vegan in high school and knew zero other vegans, so I was very alone,” Meyer said. Coming to LC often provides new students with outlets that they never had in high school, and Animal Collective is no exception. While touted as a great outlet for vegans to connect with each other, Pickard wants others to know that non-vegans may join as well.
“You don’t have to be vegan to join the club … You just need an open mind and an open tummy!” Pickard said.
Monkarsh believes strongly in leaving meetings and events open to vegans and non-vegans alike. “(It) encourages new ideas and never shuts anything down,” Monkarsh said.
Animal Collective is eager to see new faces this semester and connect with students across campus regardless of what they eat.
“People can come here and really connect with what we’re talking about no matter what their diet consists of,” Monkarsh said. Meetings for Animal Collective are held on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the KLC Radio Office and are open to all.