PETA paying students to evangelize for veganism on campus

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is currently hiring students to advocate for the vegan lifestyle on campus.

Through the PETA Campus Representative Program, a project of the organization’s youth arm, students will be paid up to $2,000 per year (or $1,000 per semester) to host events promoting veganism, hand out flyers on animal cruelty, and organize film screenings on the moral consequences of eating meat.

Successful applicants will also receive training from PETA on becoming an effective ambassador, and will also be invited to week-long training retreats held during the summer break to refine their activism skills.

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Since it launched in 2013 with just four campus representatives, the program has grown tremendously, PETA Director of International Youth Outreach Ryan Huling told Campus Reform, saying the program has already hired 108 representatives so far this year, and is actively seeking more.  

Campus Reform spoke with two current student reps, both of whom explained that promoting veganism is extremely important to create a better society.

“It is extremely important to promote veganism to college students because they're at a pivotal cognitive stage in their lives,” said Resanna Li, a junior at the University of California-Irvine who serves as a PETA representative.

College students are perfect targets for vegan activism, she said, because “their brains are still in the [process] of learning and their environment of being away from family allows them to make their own choices,” rendering them “more open to learning about the positive effects of veganism on their body and their environment.”

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During her time as a PETA Campus Representative, Li has hosted numerous events to promote veganism on campus, including “vegan bake sales, boothing during holidays to offer vegan samples…and having showings of documentaries.”

Likewise, Ashley Gray, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology also told Campus Reform that she has hosted numerous events for PETA.

Last year, she hosted a panel discussion on vegan fashion, among many other events, and just last week hosted a campus viewing of Cowspiracy,  a film about the farming industry’s impact on the environment.

Gray explained that the campus representative program is an excellent way to help turn students vegan, saying, “a lot of students our age want to be involved in [being vegan], and change the world. It's such a good way to get involved and start young.”

Students learn about veganism, and it “opens up a whole new world for them,” she added.

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While Gray was merely a vegetarian when she began work with PETA last year, she credits the ambassador program for turning her vegan. “I had no idea I’d be so passionate about it,” she noted, adding that she no longer eats animal products of any kind.

PETA has representatives across 108 campuses including Harvard University, UCLA, Yale, Columbia University, and Texas A&M University, but is also using targeted social media advertisements to recruit from other schools, too, such as Princeton, Brown, and Dartmouth universities.

With the program, the hope is ultimately to help students make “more informed decisions” about what they eat. Through education on animal rights issues, PETA hopes that more people choose the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, Huling told Campus Reform.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen