FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nina Casalena: vrg@vrg.org
(410) 366-8343

July 2015

STUDENTS WIN $20,000 IN VEGETARIAN SCHOLARSHIPS FOR COLLEGE

The Vegetarian Resource Group is proud to present Chloe Falkenheim, a student from Virginia, with a $10,000 college scholarship, and Jairo Javier and Andrew Puccetti, students from Illinois, with $5,000 college scholarships. These three students have demonstrated a passion for vegetarianism, and have spent their time throughout high school advocating for animals and living healthy lifestyles.

Chloe Falkenheim became a vegetarian at the age of 9, when she realized after reading Charlotte's Web that meat came from animals with precious lives. She recalls that during high school, she felt lost about how to make a difference in the world with regards to environmental consciousness and animal rights. So Chloe founded a vegetarian club at her high school. She met with the school food service directors, who agreed to add falafel, bean wraps, couscous salad, and tomato sauce (instead of meat sauce) to the school menu. They designed a labeling system to facilitate eating vegetarian and vegan in the cafeteria. She brought in speakers and successfully advocated adding plant based nutrition to the health curriculum. Her club has given out 2,000 food samples and grew plants such as basil and broccoli, which they delivered to the cafeteria to be included in the school's meals.

Chloe then created Vegetarian and Vegan Youth, a national nonprofit organization with the goal of empowering youth around the world to make healthy choices by learning more about meatless diets, and to also become effective spokespeople for vegetarianism. Beyond college, Chloe hopes “to have a career that addresses multiple world challenges. She stated, “I would like to improve the food system and food policy to make healthy, sustainable food cheaper and more abundant … Vegetarianism already encompasses so many social justice issues that I care about – the environment, human rights, hunger, health, and animal.”

One of Jairo's Javier's references stated that, “Jairo has been a vegetarian in a community where vegetarianism is rare and not easy.”

Jairo wrote: “I live in a Mexican/Latino based community. Some find it surprising because the Mexican culture is full of spices and meat … I ran an after school club called Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals my freshman year. We made sure to be recognized in school by requesting a veggie burger for our lunch menu. We talked to the lunch personnel until we got it established. I have also been a major part in my school's community garden.” Jairo helped with the setup of the garden and became the Garden Team's student president. He stated, “I teach people how easy it is to get a decent snack and meal out of the garden.My biggest success is my delicious ceviche, in comparison to its counterpart. Everyone loves it and are surprised that is vegan.”

Jairo said, “I made a decision to major in business management in college. With a bachelors degree in business, I will know the ins and outs of owning a business and open my very own vegan restaurant. It will be named El Vegan. With this alone I will show the mouth watering food that is offered and therefore contribute to my community, with a healthier outlook. I love community service. I like knowing that I have an input in the structure of my community. The more people see how we can help each other out, the less violent our streets will be. The path to equality and peace is through service and understanding.”

Andrew Puccetti has been conscious of all living beings since he was young, but he chose to become a vegetarian when he was in eighth grade. He took a school field trip to a farm, and there, he bonded with the animals and couldn't imagine someone killing them, let alone eating them. There, he decided to speak up for animals because they are unable to speak for themselves. Andrew was motivated to create Live Life Humane, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating young people about animal cruelty and inspiring them to make a difference.

Andrew stated, “I have chosen to dedicate my life to helping animals. I plan to get my undergraduate in biology and then apply to veterinary schools … There are also not too many vegan veterinarians and I would like to set an example for that community … ”

The Vegetarian Resource Group is a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about vegetarianism. VRG sponsors annual scholarships for graduating high school seniors who have promoted vegetarianism in their communities. For more information on the scholarship, visit https://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm The next deadline for graduating high school seniors is February 20, 2016.

To find out about vegetarian and vegan restaurants in your area, go to
http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

For information on the number of vegetarians in the U.S., see
http://www.vrg.org/blog/2015/05/29/how-often-do-americans-eat-vegetarian-meals-and-how-many-adults-in-the-u-s-are-vegetarian-2/

or

http://www.vrg.org/blog/2014/05/30/how-many-teens-and-other-youth-are-vegetarian-and-vegan-the-vegetarian-resource-group-asks-in-a-2014-national-poll/

To find out answers to teen frequently asked questions, visit
http://www.vrg.org/teen/

And a multitude of vegetarian recipes are at
http://www.vrg.org/journal/CookingAndRecipes.htm

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 vegetarian diets, visit The Vegetarian Resource Group at www.vrg.org or write to The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

TO PRESS: If you do not want to receive these email alerts for the media, please email vrg@vrg.org and ask to be taken off the media list.