Listen to Kai Meassick speak about how she had to adjust her diet after becoming a student at UW-Madison.
Senior Kai Meassick had been a vegan for six years prior to college. But she called it quits after becoming a student at UW-Madison.
Meassick says there are many challenges of being a vegan on campus. Her main priority is to do well in school, and finding the time to plan and cook vegan meals is too time consuming with the pressures of being a student.
“If it’s something you are incredibly passionate about, you can make it work. But academics is my first priority so I had to choose am I going to do well in school or am I going to spend two hours a night cooking. I came to the conclusion that at this point in my life, it was no longer viable and that I needed to make an informed decision to change my diet.”
In the dining halls, Meassick says that there is little variation in the vegan options that are served. Many dishes have meat and dairy products in them, and can even be disguised into foods such as the broth in soup.
“There are not a lot of options, if you go into a regular dining hall, I mean this is Wisconsin, everything is covered in cheese. All the major stations there is pizza, and cheeseburgers and pasta with alfredo sauce and cheese curds, there is dairy products everywhere, but when you really look for it they have the exact same thing every day but they never really change it up, whereas regular food there was always a choice.”
Obstacles like time management, affordability and scarcity of options have driven Meassick away from being a vegan as a student, but she still believes in the ethical reasons behind veganism such as animal mistreatment and proper nutrition.
“It’s not that I didn’t believe in it and it’s not that I still don’t believe in it, it’s so difficult. You have to have the time, the energy and the money and if you don’t have one of those it just becomes increasingly more difficult.”
Although Meassick has given up veganism in college, she says that she is likely to become vegan again after she graduates from UW-Madison.
Photo by Heather Dane