Viva!’s 2023 Freshers Tour has now come to a close. We engaged with thousands of students (more than 5,500 in total)and had many powerful conversations about veganism, giving students the opportunity to ask frank questions and voiceconcerns. Most students were particularly keen to learn how to cook vegan food for themselves, having heard that it is healthier and easier to prepare, and therefore the resources most in demand were our Budget Guide and Student Guidewhich flew off the stall! We also handed out free vegan food samples, including Greggs vegan sausage rolls, Oggscupcakes and Vegolino praline chocolates – it’s safe to say the food went down a treat!
Visiting six cities across the UK – Plymouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Bath and London – we were proud to spread the vegan message far and wide. But this is not the end of our university outreach! With our new schools and universities campaigners on board, we have the scope to expand our campaign and have a more dedicated focus on working within universities. So, here is an opportunity for us to launch our new universities campaign: Would You Swap?.
With a focus on pig farming, the Would You Swap? campaign exposes the atrocious conditions pigs in factory farms are forced to endure with the use of our new VR headset technology. This immersive experience allows students to view a 3D 360-degree panorama inside a UK pig factory farm, guided by Juliet, Viva!’s founder and director. After viewing the footage, students were asked whether they would swap places with the pig and, if not, whether they would swap their diets. With free vegan food as an incentive to view the footage, the headsets proved immensely popular.
It seems many students are blissfully unaware of what happens to pigs in the UK meat industry and truly believe the idyllic picture portrayed by media and marketing of the lives of farmed pigs, which is simply untrue. Over 10 million pigs are slaughtered for meat each year, with two-thirds of that number having spent their entire lives inside factory farms where they will never experience the outdoors. These individuals are kept in grossly overcrowded conditions and often fall victim to hernias, ulcers and cannibalism before their lives are cut incredibly short, slaughtered at just six months of age in gas-filled chambers. Here, acid will form on their eyes and in their nostrils, mouths and lungs, causing them to thrash around for about 30 seconds before finally succumbing to the toxic gas.
To share this information, we brought along our new Would You Swap? Campaign leaflets:
But why do we want to expand our reach to students?
Students are consistently shown to be one of the demographics most open to going vegan, so dedicating campaigns specifically aimed towards them seems one of the most effective ways of spreading the vegan message. Young people represent the future of our society and therefore a focus on students is essential for encouraging change.