Tips & Tools for Youth Advocacy

How to Raise Awareness About Farm Animal Issues in Your School

Students eating in a cafeteria

Tips & Tools for Youth Advocacy

How to Raise Awareness About Farm Animal Issues in Your School

Whether it’s starting a club and inviting local activists to come speak to your class or encouraging plant-based meal options in your cafeteria, there are many ways to raise awareness about farm animal issues in your school. Here’s a handy guide to getting started!

Start a School Club

Starting a school club is a great way to get other classmates involved and aware of farm animal issues. Here are eight easy steps you can take to start your very own school club:

  1. Ask friends to help you get the club started.
  2. Identify a teacher to act as your advisor/sponsor.
  3. Find out your school’s procedure for starting a school club and seek formal approval.
  4. Find a place to hold meetings.
  5. Get the word out about your club.
  6. Hold your first meeting and plan your club’s goals and activities.
  7. Take action!
  8. Keep recruiting new members.

Fun School Club Activities

Ideas for activities that your school club can host are endless! Here are a few suggestions of what you and other club members can do:

  • Host a vegan bake sale or other event as a fundraiser for an organization or sanctuary working to help farm animals.
  • Host a movie screening that educates other students on the issues your club is focusing on.
  • Use your club as a platform to get other students involved in introducing more plant-based options in your school cafeteria. Find more info on adding plant-based options to your cafeteria menu.
  • With the help of your faculty advisor, you can use your club as a way to invite local activists to come speak to your class. You can invite speakers who cover topics ranging from plant-based eating to vegetable gardening to animal protection. If your school is in the NYC/Philadelphia metropolitan areas, the San Francisco Bay Area, or the Los Angeles area, you can book a Farm Sanctuary speaker to come to one of your classes.
  • You and your club members can hand out pamphlets at your school or in your community. Order pamphlets from Farm Sanctuary!

Encourage Plant-based Options in Your Cafeteria

Increasing plant-based options in your school cafeteria is a great way to encourage classmates to try vegan/vegetarian meals. It also makes a huge difference for animals when your whole school gets to choose a more compassionate meal option for lunch instead of one containing animal products.

Learn more about implementing change in your school cafeteria.

How One 7th-Grader Started a School Club

Youth Leadership Council Member Sienna

By Sienna

7th grade, Easton, PA

Getting Approval
If your school is anything like ours, starting a new club will require a teacher sponsor and your principal’s approval. Lucky for us, both happened immediately. My friend Darby and I selected a teacher who we had a connection with. She’s not vegetarian or vegan but she’s warm, kind and open-minded—three traits necessary for this type of club.

Next, we drafted a short presentation to give the school a sense for what we were striving toward: goals, values, potential activities, and first meeting agenda. The fun part was coming up with a club name, logo, and tagline. We landed on Compassion Crew: Saving Animals Is Our Thing. We reviewed everything with our teacher and then sent it to our principal. It was approved that day!

Getting Started
Darby, our teacher sponsor, and I had to figure out ways to promote our club so we could get students interested in joining. We created flyers, which we left in our school’s main office, and had the first club meeting information as part of daily morning announcements. We also used social media, specifically Instagram (give us a follow at @compassioncrew1). We met with the assistant principal and he approved all promotional activities.

Right after students began hearing about the club, they approached us to get more details and to see if they had to be vegan or vegetarian to join. We assured them everyone was welcome regardless of where they are in their journey toward living a cruelty-free life (we learned this from Gene Baur). Our club mantra is to educate and not shame anyone for eating meat, and we want every person interested in joining our club to feel confident they will be accepted and supported.

Our club mantra is to educate and not shame anyone for eating meat, and we want every person interested in joining our club to feel confident they will be accepted and supported.

Making Progress
Darby and I were extremely excited for our first club meeting, and came up with many great ideas for activities. We showed Their Future in Your Hands, a short film about the cruelty animals face in our world and then had a group discussion to see what resonated most with club members. We are tapping into local speakers to come talk to the group, too. Local vegan chef Jamie K. of @save_the_kales is going to show us how to make vegan nachos.

At every meeting, we plan to give members a small sampling of vegan food prepared by us. (For the first meeting, we baked chocolate chip cookies!) We plan to hold a vegan bake sale, where all our club members can bake vegan desserts and we can sell them at different school events, such as our annual musical and school dances. This provides funds for our club and for Farm Sanctuary, while also letting people experience delicious vegan food.

We’re exploring a community film screening and hope to visit a local farm animal sanctuary so students can meet the animals and fall in love with them as I did. We believe it’s important for kids to interact with the animals who make up their meals. It’s the most effective way for kids my age to make the connection.

The most important thing to remember when starting a school club is to keep an open mind and to refrain from any judgement of non-vegans. As Gene Baur says, “Nurture even small positive steps, as these tend to empower people and build momentum toward bigger steps.”