The Vegetarian Resource Group's Runner-Up Scholarship

By Laura McGuiness

Thank you to a Vegetarian Resource Group member who has helped us award an additional college scholarship. See past winners in previous Vegetarian Journals online at

When in high school, Laura McGuiness from California wrote: "I have always adored animals. After reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, specifically the chapter on how the animals were treated in the slaughterhouses, my compassion for animals prompted my decision to become a vegetarian. When I was 10-years-old, my mother did not take me seriously. Now nearing my 18th birthday, I have been a vegetarian for the past seven and a half years.

I decided to begin volunteer work with an organization committed to rehabilitating animals from the wild, to help educate others about the importance of treating animals humanely ... My commitment to supporting wildlife has also overlapped my volunteer work with my school activities; as a vegetarian for the past seven years, I felt it necessary to create the James Lick Garden Restoration Program to teach fellow students how to maintain a healthy vegetarian diet that respects animal life. I enjoyed watching the kids get excited about their plants and go around trying all the fruits and vegetables they had grown. Watching people who had previously scowled at the thought of vegetarian food realize that vegetables can actually be good was extremely rewarding to me.

During high school, I started adding vegetarian sidebars to my holiday columns of the school newspaper. Instead of talking about the traditional Christmas ham or the Thanksgiving turkey I gave other advice. Eager to introduce others to my diet, I started bringing in vegetarian food: matzo ball soup, vegan marshmallows, brownies, vegetarian bacon, falafels, tuna noodle casserole without the tuna...

Writing is my second passion. I love to read and write. Literature is a part of my life I could never live without. And I know that I could use my gift of literature to teach others about the importance of my first passion, animal rights. Reaching these goals would be my idea of the perfect life."

Laura is now attending the University of California at Berkeley, of course still vegetarian, and volunteering writing and editing for The Vegetarian Resource Group.

To see additional scholarship winners and information about the next contest, go to

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