Candlelight dinner promotes vegetarian ethics

Robin Evans, president of R.A.V.E. (left), introduces the guest speaker Susan Kosche Vallem, social work professor, at R.A.V.E.'s candlelight dinner for vegetarian awareness month. — Emily Novotny/TRUMPET

Wartburg College’s October candlelight dinner was hosted by student organization R.A.V.E. (Raising Awareness on Vegetarian Ethics).

The candlelight dinners happen once a month expect for April and May and have been around for about 30 years. The idea of having these dinners came from the dean of faculty at that time, nutrition adviser Jill Everding, dining services said.

“It’s a place where faculty, students and staff can come together and have a formal meal to start conversation about things going on around campus,” Everding said.

There are about 12 to 14 faculty and staff that attend and they are chosen by the hosting organization, Everding said.

“The faculty and staff sit with different students and it’s an opportunity to get to know one another,” she said.

Having the dinner is an opportunity for the hosting organization to promote their group and different issues within as well, Everding said.

At the beginning of the school year student organizations are sent out dates for the candlelight dinners and if they want to participate they can chose a date that works best for them, Everding said.

While this year 75 students, faculty and staff signed up for the candlelight dinner that is not out of the ordinary. The Heritage room where the dinner is held can hold up to 85 people, Everding said.

“If you hear that the candlelight dinners are in the 70s that is in the highest,” Everding said.

Most students don’t know what the candlelight dinners are and what they do which is why the hosting organization is responsible for promoting it and getting student interest, Everding said.

October is vegetarian awareness month which is one of the reasons why R.A.V.E. wanted to host this month’s dinner along with promoting the organization as a whole, Robin Evans, president of R.A.V.E. , said.

“It’s a way to promote the vegetarian lifestyle,” Evans said.

R.A.V.E. has about 12 continuous members that meet once a month to plan the group’s upcoming events, Evans said.

This month’s candlelight dinner has a vegan menu along with a non-vegan menu for students, faculty and staff who do not want to eat the vegan food, Evans said.

“We are having tofu for the main dish and steak and shrimp for people who don’t eat vegan,” Evans said.

Some people may be confused as to what vegetarian and vegan is and why people chose that lifestyle.

“Some reasons include health, animal rights, environment and taste preferences,” Evans said.

Vegetarians eat some animal products like eggs or dairy while vegans eat strictly no animal products at all, Evans said.

Evans said that while R.A.V.E. is a new organization, the group is doing what it can do promote their topics and issues and having this candlelight dinner will help achieve those goals.

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