Vegan Club conducts first meeting of the semester


Chloe Williams

Members of the Southeastern Vegan Club stand in front of the Katrina Memorial Fountain during their first in-person meeting since Hurricane Ida. From left to right: treasurer Hannah Heinz, president Tyler Daspit, vice president Katie O’Pry, member Sandipa Pandey.

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Southeastern’s Vegan Club held their first in-person meeting since Hurricane Ida at the Katrina Memorial Fountain. 

The Vegan Club tends to do most of their meetings online but recently have started to hold more in-person events. President Tyler Daspit and Vice President Katie O’Pry were present, along with their treasurer Hannah Heinz and one of their members. 

In the meeting, Daspit and O’Pry mainly discussed plans for the current semester, such as getting volunteers and help to sell food at the local Reconnect Farmer’s Market in downtown. 

“I think it would be a great opportunity to show others that vegan diets are not restrictive and can still taste yummy while being healthy,” O’Pry said.

Daspit also mentioned the Reconnect Farmer’s Market and said that he looked forward to serving vegan chicken and sausage gumbo at the market. 

When co-founders Daspit and O’Pry look back on their journey to veganism, Daspit recalled the moment he decided to go down the vegan road.

Daspit said, “My vegan journey started after deep thought in my parent’s beautiful backyard. I saw the beauty of nature and decided that it was my duty to respect all sentient beings.”

The couple decided to start the Vegan Club on March 25, 2020 when Daspit met a few other vegans on SLU’s campus. O’Pry concluded that they needed to create a community on campus for fellow vegans to get together, feel supported and strive to obtain vegan options on campus, such as in the Mane Dish. 

Along with their growth of the Vegan Club, Daspit and O’Pry said they want to let others know the benefits of veganism. 

O’Pry said it’s not simply a change in diet. “Being vegan is so much more than a diet – it is a lifestyle. I went vegan once before Tyler and did not stick to it due to lack of support and stigma from my family,” O’Pry continued, saying that being vegan requires work, support and dedication.

Daspit agreed and said that he loves being vegan because of how pure he feels on a vegan diet knowing that he is not consuming animals. 

Other benefits that Daspit mentioned included less sick days, more energy, less acne, having your body produce its own cholesterol and several others.

O’Pry stated, “The benefits are endless. Of course, if you are not eating a variety of food it is easy to become nutrient deficient, but most people, vegan or not, are deficient in some nutrients. Health is my passion and it is a huge component to why I promote veganism: cardiovascular and blood health, better energy levels and overall improved wellbeing. The difference you feel within your first week or so of going vegan is significant and astonishing.”

The Vegan Club is always growing on campus and Daspit added that they are always looking for new members. They do not even have to be necessarily vegan, just people who are interested in the lifestyle or willing to help out their cause. 

For more information on the Vegan Club and their upcoming plans, check out their Instagram page @southeasternvegans.