The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on June 27, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

Riley Howard

Riley Howard became vegetarian after her sister started ordering vegan literature from PETA. In sixth grade she began bringing pamphlets to school to distribute to students during lunch times. Riley became vegan in eighth grade. She started an animal rights club in high school, which organized campus screenings, bake sales, and vegan potlucks during school. Riley stated, “I’ve found a lot of success modifying my advocacy…I used to show cruelty investigations, but I saw how much more harm that does than good. Instead of having members walk out in the middle of meetings, people stay the whole time, engage in conversation, and perform social media outreach.”

In January of her junior year, she went to Chicago for a month to intern with Mercy for Animals, jumping between office work and outdoor leafleting. She did another internship with them in Los Angeles.

In 2015 at school she organized a screening of Cowspiracy for 200 members from the local community. “I talked to athletic coaches and got them to agree to cancel practice for the screening. Students brought their friends and family.”

She currently had her school agree to add more vegan items to the menu. “They bought a rice cooker, through which they provide self-service rice, quinoa, and other whole grains. They have started offering nutritional yeast and vegan dressings in the salad bar. They’ve agreed to provide a daily vegan cooked meal. Now they sell veggie burgers, portabella sandwiches, vegan grilled cheese, and various vegetables and rice dishes. They also sell vegan sorbet, which has been a huge hit.”

Riley was an apprentice crew leader for the Student Conservation Association in Texas. “I made quite a few vegetable rice/quinoa dishes that were a big hit among all the crew members…I made sure to make food for the group that was not only vegan but tasted good to nonvegans.”

Riley is also a gifted artist. Her work can be found at

One reference stated, “Riley does not simply think outside the box; she affirms that there – is in fact – no box. After thirty years as an educator, I have learned that I have not seen it all, because I have never before experienced Riley Howard. Quite simply, Riley gets it. She gets life’s complexities and its redemption. She gets the purpose of compassion. Riley is helping the environment, animals, humans… all those in need.”

The deadline for the next Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship for graduating high school seniors is February 20, 2017. For details, go to

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