Introducing Our New Universities Campaign at Viva!’s Latest Freshers Tour

| 14 November 2023
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Viva! campaigner talks with student at Plymouth freshers fayre event

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!

Free food is handed out and campaigners engage with students at Plymouth freshers event

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:

Would You Swap With Them?

Would You Swap With Her?

Would You Swap With Him?


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.

Students at Bath freshers fayre try out Viva! VR headsets.
Students engage with Viva campaigner at Viva! Bristol freshers fayre
Students engage with two Viva! campaigners at Imperial freshers fayre event
Students engage with campaigners at Viva! freshers event
Students queue for free food at Viva!'s freshers event in Bristol
Students engage with Viva! campaigners at Bath freshers event
Viva! campaigner talks with student at Plymouth freshers fayre event
Students engage and queue for free food at Viva!'s Bristol freshers event

About the author
Fiji Willetts

Fiji joined Viva! As a Schools and Universities Campaigner in August 2023 after volunteering in their campaign - The True Costa Dairy. She went vegan at the age of thirteen after her family adopted a flock of chickens and she realised the immense suffering that farm animals like her hens were subjected to. After this realisation, she stopped consuming all animal products and has followed a vegan lifestyle since.

Her role encompasses creating and launching campaigns aimed at school and university students with the aim of raising awareness and increasing the number of students adopting a vegan lifestyle.

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