Tag Archives: dinner

Where Are the Vegans?

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I’d like to think that we’re on the right track when it comes to sustainability. San Francisco offers its residents boundless opportunities to think green and act responsibly — I won’t deny that. But lately I’ve noticed a pretty disturbing anti-environment mindset when it comes to one issue in particular. The dismissal of vegan ethics has got me a little irritated, truly bewildered, and totally sad for the future of the Earth. It’s really not possible to talk about sustainability without considering the amount of damage the meat and dairy industries do to our precious planet. When factory farming accounts for 65% of nitrous oxide emissions (which is the greenhouse gas with the most global warming potential by far, according to the Humane Society) among many other environmental atrocities, it just doesn’t make sense to eat a cheeseburger and call yourself eco-friendly.
I’ve heard all the justifications for animal byproducts in the book. People usually tell me they could never give up insert-animal-product-here, that they don’t like vegan food, or that being vegan is just another hipster pretension. But rest assured, there’s a solution for all of these suspicions. Going vegan is not only entirely possible but endlessly beneficial – for the environment and yourself, too!

We all have our vices. Before veganism I was a self-proclaimed Nutella fiend, and I’ve known people to have pretty serious relationships with cheese. But I firmly believe that for every meat-filled or dairy-laden addiction there’s a veganized version to take its place.

I’m not kidding, have you tasted pizza made with Daiya cheese? Or SF-based Wholesome Bakery’s freshly baked cookies? You’d be amazed at how innovative vegan companies are getting – they’re churning out delicious substitutions for non-vegan favorites left and right. So you might as well opt for the less destructive version, right?

There’s a significant amount of eateries in the city that cater to vegan and environmental ethics – try Gracias Madre on Mission and 18th for the best vegan Mexican food ever, Source in SOMA for amazing vegan macaroni and cheese, and head to the Ferry Building for Pepples’ vegan donuts. You’d never be able to tell the difference, and contributing to vegan-owned establishments helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserves water and land in astounding numbers.

Because our society projects meat, egg, and dairy consumption as a norm, it’s rare that we reevaluate our intake at all. But the facts are there (check out www.veganoutreach.com/whyvegan for more information). What we really need is a change in perspective.

It may seem trendy to adopt a vegan diet, but when there’s so much at stake and there’s concrete evidence for the meat and dairy industries’ environmental destruction, it’s far more than a hipster fad or fashionable diet. The vegan ethic promotes compassion over egotism, awareness over blindness. Going vegan is an act of (dare I say?) social justice, environmental consciousness, and protest against destructive and normative ideals.

Delta Zeta Hosts Dinner, Raises Funds For Lymphoma, Leukemia

Delta Zeta Sorority held their third annual “Ali’s Way” dinner last week, benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in honor of Ali Facella, a member who lost her battle to leukemia in November of 2006.

“She had a neat personality,” Delta Zeta Alumna Jacqueline McCawley said. “She was always enthusiastic and she was just one of those people that had a great sense of humor; one of those sisters that everyone loved.”

Five months after being diagnosed in June 2006, Facella lost her battle with leukemia, a blood cancer caused by an abnormal increase of blood cells (usually white blood cells).

Her passing “came as a shock,” McCawley said, “no one really expected it.”

Roughly 100 people attended this year’s dinner, including Delta Zeta alumnae who knew Facella during her treatment.

Guest Speaker Heidi Wolcott spoke on behalf of LLS, providing information about the organization’s commitment to blood cancer research and patient services. Wolcott is the Special Events Manager for LLS’s Team In Training (TNT), a program that offers sports training for people participating in marathons, bike rides, and mountain hikes.

Last year Delta Zeta raised $1,300 that went directly to LLS, which donates money to researchers in pursuit of a cure. Since LLS was founded in 1949, it has contributed over $680 million to blood cancer research. LLS also provides financial aid to those living with blood cancer.

The organization estimates that 900,000 people have been diagnosed with blood cancer.

For the past two years, the benefit dinner has placed more emphasis on their late sister, but Delta Zeta philanthropy chair Minoti Mehta wanted this year’s dinner to have the same somber atmosphere, but focus on how people could get more involved, she said.

Spokesman for the National Bone Marrow’s “Be the Match” Program Jerry Quintana also presented at the dinner, providing information on how to become part of the bone marrow registry, which helps those seeking a bone marrow donor.

One form of treatment that leukemia patients undergo is allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, a procedure that transplants stem cells from a genetically-compatible donor, which may not always be the patient’s relatives.

“A lot of people simply died because people were not willing to donate bone marrow,” Mehta said, “[Be the Match] can get people to directly help.”

Be the Match compiles a registry of 7 million people willing to donate bone marrow if a DNA match is made with a patient. Quintana said that leukemia patients first look within families for a match, and if it is not possible, the program is their second option.

Quintana said that 4,000 people search for a match every day.

“It’s such a great thing because you’re saving somebody’s life,” Quintana said, “and [the program] is the last resort that they have.”

Delta Zeta designated a table for guests who wanted to register with the program that night, which included filling out an application and giving a sample cheek swab, a process that Quintana says takes only 40 seconds.

Registration was also available online, and anybody between 18-60 years old could fill out the online application and send a cheek swab through the mail. Quintana said the potency of bone marrow is best in people who are in their 20s and 30s.

During Facella’s 5-month battle, she was looking for a donor because her siblings were not a match, McCawley said. Facella did not continue attending school that fall semester, but when she spoke to people, she gave an update on her new treatments and mentioned she was going to beat cancer.

“She always felt like something could be done,” McCawley said.

When Facella began losing her hair, McCawley said she would post new pictures of her different colored wigs on Facebook. According to McCawley, “she always had tenacity.”

The USF community has supported Delta Zeta’s efforts since their first benefit dinner in 2006.

“I think it’s our continued effort to bring awareness and how it affects a lot of us,” McCawley said. “We do it for Ali, but also in recognition of everyone else that [has] fought the battle.”

ISO Discusses Injustice, Shares Food and Music

On Thursday night, McLaren Hall was home to USF’s second MELA event, where six USF clubs each brought a different social injustice to the forefront of discussions among the hundreds of students in attendance.
The Indian Student Organization (ISO) spearheaded the event that featured  traditional dances and music, South Asian food and speeches by USF students and professors. The ISO’s main issue was the pollution in India.

“We want to inspire people to join a cause and find something they care about,” said co-president of the ISO Priya Sajja, who said the ISO got the idea for their cause from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”

“We want to create awareness about the South Asian community at USF,” said senior Ravi Sandhu. Sandhu, who was the DJ of the night, is the former president of the ISO, but has since passed on the title and is still a member.

After roughly an hour of socializing during which students had the opportunity to visit each group’s table and learn more about specific causes, the first speaker of the night, USF Professor Taymiya Zaman, stepped to the podium to speak about her life as a Pakistani-American.

“Do I find it difficult to be a woman in Pakistan? Not really,” said Zaman, as she discussed the prejudices she and her family have battled in the United States, from airport security to the questions about her appearance. The roughly 400 students in attendance went from a loud, talkative crowd to a silenced group as Zaman passionately tackled U.S. foreign policy and the use of the words “extremists” and “terrorists.”

“Those extremists’ groups provide healthcare for people that U.S.-backed regimes do not provide,” she said.
The other five groups who shared social injustices were the Muslim Student Association, Back to da Roots, Invisible Children, School of Americas Watch and Not For Sale.

“There has been a 20-year-long war on children in Uganda,” said freshman Maggie Kennedy, whose Invisible Children group focused on the suffering of children in northern Uganda.

Kennedy has been studying this issue since high school, and traveled to southern Uganda two years ago as part of a humanitarian mission. Kennedy and her group were not allowed to enter northern Uganda though.
Invisible Children is a nationwide group that was started in California. There is a branch of the organization in Kampala, Uganda, the nation’s capital.

After two separate musical and dance performances, one by USF sophomores Ravi Amarawanza, Marina Liu, and Sarah Reinheimer that featured South Asian music performed on the sitar, drums and flute, and a separate Hawaiian Ensemble dance, the final speaker of the night approached the podium. USF senior Erin-Kate Escobar, a Jewish-American student, spoke about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The issue was the focus of the Muslim Student Association. Escobar talked about being Jewish and recognizing Jewish and Israeli injustices, as well as Jewish-Americans being major contributors to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which seeks to maintain and strengthen the American-Israeli relationship.

“In terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, I have no resolution for you tonight,” she joked with the crowd, giving those in attendance a bit of comic relief in between her speech and a poem she wrote about how she feels being a Jewish-American.

“I am from the flesh and bones of the colonized and the colonizers,” she told the crowd. Escobar also gave information about “Abraham’s Vision,” an organization that explores social relations within and in between Jewish, Muslim, Israeli and Palestinian communities. Escobar went on a trip with the group last summer to the Middle East, where they explored just alternatives to the status quo in the Middle East. She encouraged other students who identify with any of their communities to do the same.

The MELA event grew this semester from the previous one held, with more clubs and more students in attendance.

Sajja said, “We want to try and get other clubs involved, and more students to come every time.”

BSU Hosts 1300 Fillmore Owners at Black History Dinner

BSU Diner

Black Student Union President Courtney Ball and Politics Professor James Taylor share a laugh at BSU”s Cultural Awareness Dinner last Thursday evening. (Melissa Stihl|Foghorn)

When most people hear the word “February,” they think about Valentine’s Day, flowers, and hearts. However, February is also Black History Month, a time for all races to come together to appreciate the history and the future of African-American people.

Each year at USF, the Black Student Union  holds a variety of entertaining, educational and culturally enriching events in celebration of Black History Month.

BSU Vice-President of Internal Affairs, Halimah Najieb-Locke said, “Black History Month is a time for all of America, and the world, to reflect on the influence African Americans have had on this country’s development and the key role we play in the direction the world is going.  It is also a time to pay our respects as a people to those who have passed who were in the struggle to gain our rights as a people.”

On Feb. 26, BSU held the 2009 Black Cultural Dinner as the final event of the Black History Month celebration. The event was very popular among USF students; members of BSU had to bring in additional tables and chairs during the event because of the large number of attendees.

Politics Professor James Taylor gave an overview of the San Francisco Fillmore District and the rich history of politics, culture, and jazz that thrives in the Fillmore. The dinner was comprised of warm spinach salad, catfish po’boys, buttermilk chive mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and USF alumnus Preston Walton’s personal recipe for chicken and andouille gumbo.

After the delicious feast, Managing Partner Monetta White and Executive Chef David Lawrence of the restaurant 1300 Fillmore spoke about their experience doing business in the historic Fillmore neighborhood. They held an open discussion forum describing the current environment of the Fillmore District and the revitalization of the area.

Junior psychology major, Elizabeth Quintero, who attended the Black Cultural Dinner, said, “I have lived in the Bay Area my whole life and always known of the crime in the Fillmore District, but after today I am glad to have been informed of how things are changing and being revitalized in such a historic area.”

White and Lawrence’s restaurant gives back to the community through community service. They use their upscale restaurant to disprove the negative stereotypes of the area and help return the Fillmore to its roots and times of prosperity.

Lawrence describes his cuisine as “soul food made in a French technique.” He treated all members of the audience to a delicious dessert of caramelized apple bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream and candied pecans.

Junior Johnny Barajas, who attended the event, said, “The event was put on well and gave a terrific and in-depth overview of Black History Month. I will definitely attend next year.”

After the event concluded, Najieb-Locke said, “I would like to say that Black History Month is not just a time to pay homage to our forefathers, but a time to gain inspiration from their strength and move forward in our futures as powerful men and women who can effectuate important, and irreplaceable change to this world.”

Enjoy Thanksgiving Before Looking Ahead

By mid-October Christmas commercials invaded our airwaves and San Francisco started putting up Christmas decorations. There was the occasional advertisement for Halloween candy, but since Halloween ended, Christmas is being drilled into our minds as if it will be here in three weeks.
I’m getting excited for the Christmas spirits to come out, the trees to be lit with bright lights, and presents to be given.

But there is one holiday between now and Christmas that seems to be over-looked and used only as the holiday to get ready for Christmas. That holiday is, of course, Thanksgiving.

A lot of people think of Thanksgiving as the Christmas warm-up, but it is so much more.

This is the only time of year when people are brought together for no religious or gift-giving purpose. The only purposes of this holiday are for families to come together, eat a lot of great food, and embrace what they are thankful for. Why muddle this positive family bonding moment with the acknowledgement of another holiday?

Besides, at Thanksgiving your main focus is eating with your family. During Christmas there are relatives coming in and out, presents to open, and possibly snow shoveling to take care of.

At Christmas the food gets lost in translation, and you can’t enjoy it as much. Also, there is no football game to watch when everything is over.

Christmas is my favorite holiday because of the cheer it spreads and the joy it brings to others, but Thanksgiving is the clear runner-up.

Although there is a lot of food eaten, the Thanksgiving meal is usually the only one of the day. The food is probably freshly made by the family and Thanksgiving is only once a year.

If you are watching your weight maybe you can run the Turkey Trot Road Race that takes place in most towns or cities so that you can burn the calories you will gain by dinner.

Some families’ tradition is to go out the day after Thanksgiving to do all their Christmas shopping because of the great sales. But Thanksgiving is not the holiday promoting consumerism.

It is the pressure that Christmas puts on Americans to have the best presents and the most presents as possible underneath the tree on Christmas morning.

Thanksgiving does remind us that the Puritans took land from the Native Americans. But the story of Thanksgiving is what we celebrate. Thanksgiving epitomizes American tradition.

No other country can celebrate this tradition because it is celebrating America’s history of the Puritans coming together with the Native Americans to share their food as people of the new land. Thanksgiving is better than people make it out to be and should not be hidden in the shadows of anticipation for Christmas. It should be celebrated and acknowledged as the holiday it is rather than be used as a holiday to get ready for another.

Erika Heyer is a junior politics major.