July 7,2009
Sonja Helman (410) 366-VEGE
Jeannie McStay (410) 366-8343

Illinois Student is Awarded $5,000 Vegetarian Scholarship

The Vegetarian Resource Group is honored to award Ryne Poelker, 2009 graduate of PORTA High School, with a $5,000 college scholarship for his work in promoting vegetarianism. Ryne was chosen for this scholarship because of his hard work in organizing and taking part in food drives, events, and demonstrations related to vegetarianism.

The beginning of Ryne's freshman year in high school signaled change. After being assigned to write a paper on how he thought animals should be viewed in society, he discovered what went on behind the scenes of the animal foods he ate. From that point on, Ryne never ate meat again, and the next year he became a vegan. Merely changing his diet didn't feel like it was enough, though, so Ryne started to organize demonstrations and outreach projects.

Ryne has organized vegetarian food drives from which all of the proceeds went to The Phoenix Center- a shelter for people who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. He also started an animal rights group at his high school that hosted vegan potlucks and discussions on related issues. This group worked with the Petersburg Vegetarian Association which resulted in even larger vegetarian gatherings.

Ryne wants to continue advocating for vegetarianism, animal welfare, and other issues that are important to him throughout his college years, and the rest of his life.

A vegetarian does not eat meat, fish, or fowl. A vegan is a vegetarian who does not use other animal products such as eggs and dairy. For more information on a vegetarian diet, visit The Vegetarian Resource Group at or write to The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

The Vegetarian Resource Group is a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about vegetarianism. VRG publishes the quarterly Vegetarian Journal, and sponsors two annual $5,000 scholarships for graduating high school seniors who have promoted vegetarianism in their communities. For more information on the scholarship, visit