Illustration by Louise Leong.


“I am not a nugget.”

Beginning the week of Earth Day, PETA2 — PETA’s youth division — has shipped packages of stickers containing this slogan alongside a picture of a cartoon chick to more than 100 college campuses nationwide, including UC Santa Cruz. The organization’s goal for the “Million Sticker Mania” campaign is to spread more than one million stickers across the United States.

PETA2 college campaigns and outreach manager Ryan Huling said in an email that this campaign was a fun way to bring attention to a serious issue.

“Every person who sees a sticker and considers going vegan could save more than 100 animals a year by simply leaving animals off their plate,” Huling said. “The campaign is a fun and lighthearted way to talk about a more serious issue, and students walk away with the important message that eating meat means eating someone, not something.”

Huling said the campaign has been very successful so far. He has received overwhelming positive response from colleges across the nation about the effectiveness of the Million Sticker Mania campaign.

PETA2 coordinated with Banana Slugs for Animals, an animal rights organization at UCSC, to spread the stickers around campus.

Virginia Hanrahan, a second-year environmental studies and business management economics double major and member of Banana Slugs for Animals, said the campaign was all about spreading awareness.

“Hopefully people will look at [the stickers] and draw the correlation between the cute little chicken and the food they eat,” Hanrahan said. “It’s really to get people to look into it and make a change in their lives.”

Hanrahan has helped pass out the stickers at Meatless Monday dining hall events and tabling. She said the UCSC dining halls have been helpful and cooperative with the campaign.

Scott Berlin, director of dining and hospitality services on campus, said in the seven years he has worked with the dining halls at UCSC, there has been an increase in vegan and vegetarian options available to the students. Huling said across the nation, vegans have drastically increased in numbers.

Berlin said the UCSC dining halls respond to students and their eating habits, and often work with sustainability groups and Banana Slugs for Animals on their meal choices.

“I think it’s the combination and the collaboration,” Berlin said. “Student groups work on the educational piece, and then dining halls offer alternatives from a culinary standpoint to make vegetarian and vegan options taste good.”

Hanrahan said education was a main reason why the Million Sticker Mania campaign was brought to UCSC. She said she believes change is made at the level of a person deciding to become vegan and to positively impact the environment and animals’ lives.

“If these million stickers are passed out and make it around,” Hanrahan said, “I think it will definitely raise more awareness and make people think about their diet and what they support.”

Hanrahan said with less and less students eating chicken and meat products, the dining halls would have to respond. That is exactly what the dining halls at UCSC have been doing, Berlin said.

“It’s really all about what our student needs are and what the student wants are,” he said. “So if more students were inherently eating vegan, then we would respond with more options for them. They would speak with their fork from that perspective.”

Berlin went on a vegan diet in March to see what it is like for students who are vegan to eat at the dining halls. He said he has really enjoyed working with Banana Slugs for Animals on this campaign because of the educational message that they spread to the student body about eating habits.

“It’s educating students to make an informed choice,” Berlin said. “We can give you options, but you really have to make your own choice.”