“Sometimes, I have to cope with eating the exact same three days in a row”: Vegans talk about their experiences in Germany and at Morningside

Whether for climate change, animal welfare, or health reasons – more and more people decide to cut meat products off their diet, and many even choose to go vegan.

A vegan diet is defined as a diet that “excludes all forms of animal exploitation,” meaning it doesn’t involve meat or any other products derived from animals, such as anything that contains milk or eggs.

The number of vegans around the world is constantly increasing. However, there are certain regional differences when it comes to veganism. For example, it’s considered to be far more popular in Germany than in a lot of places in the United States.

“People in Germany are more open to the subject, more informed, and more advanced than here,” says Lisann Evert, a German student here at Morningside University in Sioux City, Iowa. “The meat consumption is definitely higher, especially more thoughtless. It’s not like people don’t care at all. They do care if they drive past an animal transporter, but when the food is on the plate, they don’t think about the animals at all.”

Evert came to the US from Germany this fall. She has been following a vegan diet for about one and a half years. “Germany offers a lot of plant-based options. Supermarkets are full of vegan products. Pudding, yogurt, milk, cheese, sausage, schnitzel, gyros – there are substitute products for everything,” Evert describes. 

Germany is rated the fifth-best country for vegans in 2021 by Chef’s Pencil. Even though Germany is well-known for its schnitzels and sausages, it also leads in the production of meat substitutes and plant-based food. With close to 10% of the population considering themselves vegetarian and about 1.6% vegans, the country has the highest rates in Europe – and the numbers increase rapidly.

Conny Wagner lives in Berlin, the city that was named the vegan capital of the world in 2017. She turned vegan in March 2019. Yet, it’s not like she wasn’t confronted with prejudices or misconceptions at all. 

“It was obviously an extreme change for my family and friends. I constantly heard questions like “what can you even eat now?”, “where do you get your protein?”, and “isn’t it unhealthy to not eat fish or eggs?” Thank God I was able to clear up these things,” Wagner says.

In general, though, she believes it’s easy to live vegan in Berlin. Many restaurants offer vegan meals. The selection of vegan products is constantly increasing, and you can buy them in almost every store.

At Morningside, on the other hand, things look a bit different. For Lisann Evert, keeping her diet balanced and diverse at the same time is harder now. Even though she acknowledges that big markets here have some vegan products, she complains about the lack of options on campus. 

On good days, she can eat a healthy vegan diet in the cafeteria, knowing her body is getting what it needs. On other days, not so much. “Sometimes, I have to cope with eating the exact same three days in a row,” she notes.

Jil Hellerforth, another German student, agrees. “It’s hard in the cafeteria. Often you can only eat a salad with oil. It’s not enough to have some plant-based milk. You can’t keep a diverse, healthy diet,” she argues. “Cheese, milk, or eggs – they put some kind of animal product in everything. They could easily make more vegan food, but they just don’t think about it,” she adds.

Hellerforth is in her second year at Morningside. The past year, she has tried talking to the university and convince them to offer more vegan meals, but since nothing has really changed, she stopped trying. Now, she mostly buys food on her own and prepares it in her residence hall or in her friends’ houses off-campus.

Besides that, Hellerforth states that the mindset of students here is very different compared to back home. According to her, there are prejudices in both places, but there are more people that are not informed about veganism or don’t understand it at all around here. “They say: “well, if you don’t eat meat, I’ll just eat twice as much,” and stuff like that.”

On the contrary, there was a huge demand for more vegan food by Berlin’s student population, of which 13.5% are keeping a vegan diet. As a result, Berlin university canteens will go almost meat-free in the future with a 68% vegan menu and only one meat option four days a week.

Clearly, even though veganism is on the rise all over the planet, being a vegan is definitely easier in some places than it is in others – and Morningside obviously has a long way to go.

Going down to Olsen Stadium in the Morning

I go to the stadium every day. Normally, I go down there at 5:30 pm for practice. At that time, it would be very humid down there, and about 45 people, coaches and other players, would be there with me. While we put our gear on, the football team would slowly finish their practice and leave. When we’re cooling down after practice, the men’s soccer team would come down and start their warm-up. There would be a lot of noise all the time – soccer balls getting kicked, people talking.

Then, the other day, I went down to the stadium in the morning before class. The place didn’t look much different, but it felt different. Unlike most afternoons, it was still cold, even though the sun was already up. I’d say about 45 degrees, which is very low compared to the 73 degrees we had later that day. Even though I was running on the track, I was freezing more than I was sweating. My nose hurt a bit from breathing the cold air, but I enjoyed it because it felt fresh instead of humid and sweaty. Another thing I found very unusual was the silence. There was only one other runner down there. Apart from the wind blowing through the stadium, I didn’t hear any noises, in contrast to all the noises when there are other people down there. It’s funny how similar and different a place can be at the same time when you visit it under unusual circumstances.

The experience of Eating a Monster Buddy

Loud rustling of plastic. Something cold and soft inside the bag. Before you open a pack of monster buddies you can only hear it and feel the gummies a little bit. You can’t smell, see, or taste the candy. Not yet.

Then, your other senses come into play. You stick your nose into the slightly opened bag and smell a mixture of fruits, sugar, and chemistry. It smells unhealthy. As you look into the bag you see little gummies in the form of monsters in a variety of colors, from blue over orange and red to green. You take one out and start to squeeze it. You take some more and start to play with them. You notice they’re elastic and sticky. The gummies themselves don’t make much noise, just the bag. The only thing left to do is to taste them – they taste like they smell. Very chemical and fruity – like trash.

first draft #2 assignment

Veganism at Morningside vs. Veganism in Germany

Whether for climate change, animal welfare, or health reasons – more and more people decide to cut meat products off their diet. In fact, many even choose to not eat any animal products at all and go vegan.
However, there are certain regional differences when it comes to veganism. Whereas there is a big variety of vegan options in some places, it is very hard to find vegan products in others. For example, how is it to be vegan here on campus compared to Germany? Let three people tell you about their experiences.

A vegan diet is defined as a diet that “excludes all forms of animal exploitation,” meaning it doesn’t involve meat or any other products derived from animals, such as anything that contains milk or eggs.

Germany was found the fifth-best country for vegans in 2021 by Chef’s Pencil. In addition, four German cities secured a top 15 spot in the city rankings. Even though Germany is well-known for its schnitzels and sausages, it also leads in the production of meat substitutes and plant-based food.
With close to 10% of the population considering themselves vegetarian, and about 1.6% vegans, the country has the highest rates in Europe – and the numbers continue to increase. From 2016 to 2020, the number of vegans has doubled.

Conny Wagner lives in Berlin, the city that was named the vegan capital of the world in 2017. She has been following a plant-based for number years.
Experiences

In the US, the number of vegans in the population has increased drastically over the past years. Nevertheless, Iowa belongs to the least vegan-friendly states in the US. Number of restaurants with vegan options

Experiences of two students from Germany, comparing being vegan here at Morningside with being vegan back at home in terms of options and other people’s mindsets

Of course, it is hard to compare options in a school canteen to food in Germany as a country. However, about 13.5% of Berlin’s students are keeping a vegan diet, according to statistics. As there was a huge demand, the city’s universities will go almost meat-free in the future, with a 68% vegan menu and only one meat option four days a week.

Experiences You Only Make in Criminal Justice

From conversations with a serial killer, over corruption in sheriff departments to crazy prison stories – Former correctional officer and now Criminal Justice Professor John Gonsler talks about his experiences in a room full of college students.

Gonsler agreed to talk about his experiences in front of a very curious journalism class on Tuesday. Though he admitted being a little shy, he willingly answered everybody’s questions and definitely made for a good interviewee.

“I thought it was cool. I thought it was interesting,” one of the students said.

Gonsler is teaching in his third semester at Morningside University in Sioux City, Iowa but his career began long before that. After getting his bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University he worked for the Genesee County Sheriff department in Flint, Michigan for about two years before he quit. Why? Because the sheriff was “dirtier like a pig’s dick”.

According to him, it was a very corrupt department and not representative to that extent. However, “there are corrupt cops in not corrupt departments,” he says. “If I was in a different department, I would’ve been a corrupt cop.”

Gonsler then talked about his time as a correctional officer in a medium security prison. He found out pretty soon it wasn’t for him either. Yet, he made some remarkable memories, which telling by the interested look on their faces, some laughs here and there, and the many questions, the students clearly enjoyed to hear about. “I liked the stories about when he was a correctional officer,” one of them commented.

When asked to tell an interesting story about this time, Gonsler answered: “I was there for six months and I could write a fucking book series on interesting stories. Do you want violence, do you want rape, do you want disgusting? It’s gonna have to be a little bit more specific than that.” In the end, he decided to tell them about a prisoner holding baby birds as pets and boiling them in a hot pod because they needed a bath.

After that job, Gonsler decided to stop working in law enforcement. Instead, he went back to college and did his master’s in Anthropology at Indiana State University. Since his master’s thesis was about serial killers, he reached out to some of them.

Ted Kaczynski, also known as the “Unabomber”, actually wrote back to him. “I was probably the only person that was happy to receive mail from him,” Gonsler joked.

Well, those are the kinds of experiences you can make in criminal justice.

My last Conversation

My last conversation happened over breakfast in the cafeteria this morning. I talked to some guys, mostly Brazilians but also another German, of the soccer team about their plan to go to Chicago for Thanksgiving. It ended pretty quickly because I was heading to class. I still ended up being late, but what else is new?

News Comment #6

‘It was scary at first’: social media users on the Facebook outage

By Clea Skopeliti and Rachel Obordo (The Guardian)

The article addresses the worldwide Facebook outage this Monday. For the most part, three people comment on the outage and the impact it had on them.

The topic is very news-worthy, given that it is related to a recent event impacting people all over the world.
I like that the authors introduce the issue they’re talking about by summarizing what happened at the beginning. Thus, everybody can understand what the people whose stories are depicted in the article are referring to.
In general, I found the article to be very unusual, considering that quotes make up for almost all of the text. I, personally, think it’s too much quoting. Instead, the authors should have paraphrased what the three individuals said and picked out some good quotes. I simply didn’t enjoy reading an article written in that style, even though I understand that other people might.
What I liked is the shortness of the article, and, especially, that differing points of view are reflected. Two of the three people have been negatively affected by the outage, but not for the same reason, and one person even found a lot of positives in it.

News Comment #5

Greta Thunberg on world leaders’ climate promises: “Blah blah blah”

By AJ Dellinger (Mic)

The article addresses the speech Greta Thunberg gave at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan this Tuesday. The author summarizes her most important statements. Furthermore, he explains why she said certain things by giving some background on climate action and broken promises by politicians in the last years.

I think the topic is very news-worthy, given that the speech is a very recent event and climate change has a major impact on humanity nowadays.
What caught my attention first is that the story doesn’t have a classic lead. I noticed this in another article by Dellinger that I commented on a few weeks ago, as well. Since his articles tend to be pretty short and most readers might take the time to read the entire text, it’s not a major problem, in my opinion. The introduction was still written interestingly and got me to read the rest of the article.
Another thing I noticed is that Dellinger does a good job of picking quotes since Thunberg chose very unique words in them that can’t really be paraphrased accurately (“blah, blah, blah”), or they strongly reflect her main message and her attitude on the topic. I liked that he also explained a quote which’s meaning wasn’t completely clear.
Like Dellinger’s other article, this one contains a lot of subjectivity. He mostly covers one side and even claims the view of critics to be wrong (“Now, some people (who are wrong, but still) might try to make the case that[…]”).
Overall, I enjoyed reading this article.

https://www.mic.com/p/greta-thunberg-on-world-leaders-climate-promises-blah-blah-blah-84564022

Cooper Christian’s Unusual First Year of College

Cooper Christian started going to college last fall. Covid-19 has been around for about one and a half years now and has certainly had an impact on his college experience so far.

Cooper Christian is a Sophomore at Morningside University in Sioux City, Iowa. His decision to go there wasn’t really influenced by the virus since he made it in December 2019, a few months before the Corona virus hit the world.

Christian wasn’t really scared of the virus in the first place. “It sounded like a common flu,” he says. After he ended up getting Covid himself and not experiencing any severe symptoms, he didn’t worry about it at all anymore. 

That was before coming to Morningside. Therefore, it didn’t really impact his social life. Whereas other students preferred to stay in their rooms, Christian still wanted to go out and not let Covid hinder his college experience too much.

However, his college experience was affected by it in some ways. Christian is from a small town in Iowa, where people didn’t have to wear masks or do social distancing. When he came to Morningside that changed.

“Last year, it was weird,” Cooper states. “You had to wear masks all the time, wherever you went, which was just weird,” he explains. The university operated on “Level Orange” in Christian’s first year. Classes were cut in half or held online.

Many students, including Christian, seem to find online classes difficult. According to Christian, it was “hard to pay attention during an online class, like, I would just play xbox or something.”

His second year of college tends to be a bit more normal since the number of Covid cases has decreased, and Morningside is now operating on “Level Green.”

News Comment #4

How America’s hottest city is trying to cool downCan trees help save Phoenix from extreme heat?

By Joss Fong (Vox)

In this article, Joss Fong addresses how the city of Phoenix, Arizona, is trying to lower temperatures in the city by planting more trees and, especially, spreading them equally throughout the city. Furthermore, she explains three ways in which trees can help to cool the area around them down. She also elaborates on why Phoenix is trying to lower the temperatures by talking about current heatwaves.

The article’s lead is a little too long, and the sentence structure is very complex. It does summarize the most important information of the article, though. I’d say the topic is newsworthy because it is about recent developments and has a big impact on people living close by. However, there are important news values that the article doesn’t cover, such as human interest and conflict. That is why I can imagine that many people outside of Arizona are not very interested in it. However, it might be very appealing to the majority of readers, including me, because it is very short. The author only mentioned relevant information, mainly “how do trees help?” and “why is help needed?” She should definitely avoid including herself in the story, which she does in the last paragraph. In addition to the article, there is a short video, which provides some additional information on the topic. That is what I like most because having visual material is always refreshing, and the video itself is very well done, in my opinion. I honestly really liked the article, even though I mentioned some aspects that are not ideal.

https://www.vox.com/videos/2021/9/20/22683888/sonoran-desert-phoenix-tree-equity