Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Sustainable food nonprofit Plant Futures establishes chapter at Northwestern

Sarah Serota/The Daily Northwestern
Sirvinskas spoke to interested students at the club’s first meeting on Wednesday.

Weinberg senior Sam Rappin said he became familiar with plant-based eating practices while studying in Copenhagen, Denmark. His experience abroad led him to establish the Northwestern chapter of the Plant Futures Initiative, a sustainable eating organization with more than 50 chapters nationwide.

Rappin, the chapter’s acting president, said the sector of plant-based foods and sustainable eating is rapidly growing. While there are campus clubs related to the subject, Rappin said he could not find one solely focused on the food portion of environmental activism.

“We need to tackle climate change,” Rappin said. “And the students — our generation — are the ones that need to get on top of it.”

Rappin has been working with Plant Futures’ Community Relations Manager Eric Sirvinskas to bring the chapter to campus.

While establishing the club, Plant Futures tried to identify NU’s pain points around sustainable eating and avoid becoming redundant with other campus organizations, according to Sirvinskas.

“There’s Cats Who Compost, (so) we don’t want to be doing compost workshops,” Sirvinskas said. “There is a gap in (the) needs of students.”

During the club’s first meeting, Sirvinskas said the organization’s major goal is to create a community that promotes plant-based initiatives, fosters ethical leadership and provides career development opportunities for students.

Currently, Plant Futures is part of the Associated Student Government’s Sustainability Committee. SESP senior and ASG Food Sustainability Subcommittee Co-Chair Lauren Walcott said talks about bringing the national organization to campus began last year.

Walcott said emphasizing inclusion within sustainable eating is important.

“Putting an emphasis on food is huge,” Walcott said. “There’s a lot of students with dietary needs, and they go to events on campus or the dining hall and they can’t find food to eat.”

While still in the developmental phase, Rappin said the club plans to host events in the fall, such as speakers, field trips, sustainability education and networking events. He said he hopes the club will be able to host one event before the end of the school year.

As the club expands, Sirvinskas said he hopes NU’s chapter of Plant Futures goes beyond the traditional activities of a club.

“The University can slowly adopt a course or create some sort of structural gathering that pulls students from all majors,” Sirvinskas said. “Half the battle is students are so busy, and it takes a while to set up this infrastructure, but I’ve worked with students at close to 50 different schools and they all want this.”

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