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Vegetarian Club hopes to expand influence

If you’re looking for a new activity to participate in after school, Vegetarian Club welcomes newcomers with open arms.

April 4, 2022

If you’re looking for a new activity to participate in after school, Vegetarian Club welcomes newcomers with open arms.

Long-time vegetarian and advisor for the club, Joseph Mickeliunas, started the club this year after being asked by students. The club already has 18 members and is growing quickly. The name of the club may sound exclusive, but this is not the case.

“We are open to all. Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian and curious carnivores are always welcome,” Mickeliunas said.

The club began as some friends, including one of the leaders, Maria Hernandez, were sharing some of their favorite vegetarian recipes. “It’s often really hard to be able to find good vegetarian options, so we decided to create a space that was helpful and where anyone would be able to do so,” Hernandez said.

Sustainability is a main topic of discussion inside the club’s meetings. They use meetings to spread awareness, whether that be through discussing restaurants and recipes to try, making posters or brainstorming their involvement within Central and the community. They’ve had group meetings at Modern Love and have hung posters around Central.

The community created within the club is also important to its leaders. Being a part of a community that you can relate to is important, but Vegetarian Club hopes its effects branch out even farther.

“We also hope to be a place for those who want to learn more about the environment and how what we eat plays a big role in our surroundings. We can also be a place for a student or family who wants a ‘Meatless Monday’ recipe to help cut down on how much meat they consume,” Mickeliunas stated.

In the short time the club has been here, they’ve already made a difference, but a goal of theirs is to see changes within lunches. “We’re hoping to open up the conversation about more sustainable eating practices in Central. We would love to see more vegetarian and sustainable options in school lunches,” Hernandez said.

There is a large population of non-meat eaters at Central. If you are a part of this community or interested in learning more feel free to email Maria Hernandez, Alice Larson or Mr. Mickeliunas. They also have an active Instagram that everyone should look into, @chs.vegetarians.

The club may be new, but they are deeply rooted and committed to making real change not only within Central, but within the Omaha community as a whole.

“There are wonderful alternatives that can be just as, and in my opinion, more delicious than eating meat,” Mickeliunas said. “Omaha has seen a lot of growth in plant-based options at restaurants that are fully vegan. Most grocery stores now have aisles with plant-based options that are easy to cook. Being a vegan or vegetarian used to mean eating a side salad, but now the menu options have made dining out much easier and tastier.”

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