Hometown: Independence, Mo.
Major/minor: Anthropology, with a self-designed food studies minor
How she was drawn by the “Beloit charm:” Beloit stuck out to me, especially when I visited on Presidential Scholars Weekend. I remember seeing little sweaters on trees… it was part of the Beloit charm. Everyone has a quirk.
On the Beloit experience: I like that you can really do what you want with your Beloit experience. If you have an idea, there are always people who will get interested in it.
On making the most of her interests: I’m interested in anything food-related. I’m in the slow food club and started the vegan co-op. I’m a vegan baker at Commons. Last year, I also was a member of the Beloit Student Congress food committee.
How Beloit was a welcoming environment: I’ve been a vegan for four years and was briefly a vegetarian before that. At first it was because of animal rights issues, but something sparked my interest in learning more. My family has been supportive of it, and [though they’re not vegan] they enjoy eating vegan meals. Coming from the Midwest, especially Missouri, I had more of a hard time. I like that a lot of people here are very open to [being vegan]. There’s always a vegan option at Commons.
[Rachel M]On studying food in class and beyond: Last semester, the vegan co-op worked on a local farm in exchange for vegetables. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that this spring, too. I’ve been volunteering at Caritas [a local food pantry]. I’m also in the Duffy Community Partnerships program this year, and I did my literature review on federal food policies and the rise of nonprofits. I haven’t determined my project yet, but it will be food-related.
On her role in the vegan co-op: At first it was a little bumpy trying to figure out financial things and the logistics of planning [a co-op]. I was the leader and driving force. Now, it’s definitely become everyone putting in the same amount of effort. We’ve grown from seven members last semester to 11 this semester. For me, it’s a community thing. The vegan co-op [which meets for dinner Monday-Friday] is like a family dinner where we share our days.