Wisdom From FGCU
Through consistent tabling, frequent letters to the editor, vegan “feed-ins,” and plenty more, Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) animal rights group, The Power of One, is making quite a buzz on campus. This year’s president, sophomore Regina Bale, was kind enough to spare some time from her busy schedule of classes, photography, work, and vegan-people-making to share her group’s wisdom and experience. Regina believes that everyone is on the path to animal rights, just in different spots along the journey, and has offered herself as the tour guide, mentor, advisor, and vegan-cupcake baker. She’ll meet people where they are, inform them, facilitate meaningful change, and show them fun along the way.
How did you first get involved in animal rights? What motivated you?
I started thinking about the moral and ethical values I thought I had and started putting them into practice (e.g., if I don’t believe in hurting a defenseless creature, why do I eat meat?). As I moved around and entered college, I found a way to share my ideas and insights by joining The Power of One Animal Rights Group, which for me was a way of finally walking the walk instead of talking the talk. What keeps me involved and taking officer positions (treasurer, fall ’05; vice president, spring ’06; and president, fall ’06) is that I am doing this to help everyone on the path to animal rights.
What are some of the victories that you’ve had, big or small?
Vegan options in our dining facilities! A big win. More awareness of animal issues and the vegan/vegetarian population on campus. Being invited to speak to future teachers about humane education, being invited to classrooms to give lectures on animal rights, and being visible on campus so that if someone sees us, they often have questions to ask. Also, our Resident Housing Association has worked with us to provide vegan options at its events so that compassionate eaters are not left out and meat-eaters can give veganism a try for an evening.
What’s the funniest/most ridiculous excuse anyone has ever given you for eating meat?
What would we do with all the cows if there was no factory farming?
What’s your favorite veg food?
Any vegan ice cream. It gets hot and that is something I had been missing from childhood, so I must have vegan ice cream.
Why do you think it’s so important to start a campus animal rights group?
So many people are on campus, and they are in a place of exploration and learning, so why not explore and learn about animal rights as well?
What else are you involved in at school? Do you belong to any other clubs or have other leadership roles?
I am a resident assistant for an apartment-style housing building where all the programs I put on are vegan, and I spread the word to all my coworkers, housing staff, and residents while working. I often wear an animal rights sticker to work. … I am also the person you call on campus if you need to find a restaurant with good vegan options.
What are your plans for the future?
This summer I will be working as a camp counselor spreading compassion to the kids and my coworkers. I will also be a PETA intern, which I am very excited about. I will then return to school and continue my work with housing, and I will take the position as president of The Power of One. That is as far into the future as I would like to delve right now.
Increase the effectiveness of your activism by starting a group on your campus today! Don’t forget to check out peta2’s Mini-Guide to College Animal Rights Activism for tips and tricks on how to be the best activist you can be.
Are you are a college student in the United States or Canada? Check out the Leadership Program to learn vital activist skills and earn college credit for the work you do to save animals.
Want to be our next Star Activist? Sign up for the Street Team now, and tell us what you’ve done to help animals in your community.