I contribute to a larger community through compassion and making value-based decisions
A little over 3 years ago, I made the decision to become a vegetarian. As hard as it sounds, it was a breeze for me. My sister opened my eyes to the world behind factory farm walls and I was horrified by what I saw. I have watched countless videos pertaining to factory farming, animal welfare, and the food crisis currently taking hold of our country. Below is a photo that began to put my thoughts into perspective.
Upon seeing this photo, I knew that becoming a vegetarian was something that I could be proud of, as I knew I was contributing to a community that could not speak for itself. I wanted to become their voice and advocate for their rights and protection.
After doing research, I found that Chipotle shared many of the same values as I had. Their fight for sustainable farming and food with integrity really struck home. They fight for animals that should be able to live like animals, with proper food, water, and shelter. No chemicals, no additives, no horomones. Just free living. Here is a link to a video that expresses some of my views on why I am against factory farming. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHos
Along with watching videos and talking to friends and family about my beliefs, I chose to write papers in high school and college on my stance behind animal right and the meat industry. Attached is a research essay I completed for my Honors Rhetoric class this past spring quarter. Rhetoric Research Final Essay.docx
My sister is also involved in a pit bull rescue organization. Her organization goes to different kill shelters and rescues pit bulls and other bully breeds on death row. Occasionally, she will go on puppy mill raids and determine whether or not the dogs there can assimilate into regular society. Although it is a very hard setting to be in and witness, I find worth and meaning to it, as I am giving these dogs a second chance at life that they may not have gotten. Because of this, I volunteer at PAWS Chicago as well as PAWS in Tinley Park, where my family adopted our dog, Stretch.
On occasion, I will also help to take care of the foster dogs my sister cares for while she finds them forever homes. While it is sad to see them come and go, it overwhelms me with happiness as I see these dogs find a home they deserve.
One other thing that I enjoy to do is to talk to the animal rights activists that are sometimes on DePaul's campus. They pass out these pamphlets
http://www.veganoutreach.org/cc.pdf to students and try to inform them of the horrors of the meat industry. Another way I make value based decisions is by not supporting companies or products that test on animals, such as Aveeno, Johnson & Johnson, L'Oreal, Estee Lauder, Herbal Essences, Maybelline, Secret, and many more.
Over the summer, I volunteer a few times at a farm sactuary in rural Illinois. On the farm, the owner rescues animals from abusive farms where they are starved and neglected. At her farm, she gives them acres upon acres to roam and live like actual animals. She not only rescues farm animals, but camels and alpacas as well.
Over the past 3 years, I have learned more about vegetarianism than I could ever imagine. Sometimes when I make these value-based decisions, it's a little difficult. When I had to stop using products made by Johnson & Johnson, it cut a lot of things out of my life that I would never have thought of. I do get a lot of flak for being a vegetarian. On social media sites, many friends that I follow talk about how they could never understand why someone could be a vegetarian, how you could give up meat, why it is such a big deal, etc. It's hard to be a nonconformist and not fit into the status quo. But I know that what I am doing benefits the greater good, which makes everything I do well worth the sacrifice.
One way I use value-based decisions in my role as a CQM is by watching what I say as to not offend anyone. Many times I have fallen victim to someone's careless words, which they wouldn't know offend me. I have found myself talking to some of my students about my beliefs on vegetarianism, and in return they have told me some of the values they hold close. With new knowledge floating around the classroom, we were all becoming more aware of the problems in our society. By learning from others and giving new knowledge back, we were able to begin to make more value-based decisions in our lives. One thing I learned from a student was that when recycling, you should remove the cap of the bottle because it's not recyclable and is dangerous for workers if the bottle explodes. By not removing the cap, the entire bottle is unrecyclable. If we can reach the larger community and educate them of something small enough to keep in mind on a daily basis, we can help make recycling more effective.
When thinking about a future career path, I am focusing on becoming an Account Manager for an advertising firm. One item on my career wishlist would be to work at an advertising firm that focuses on collaborating with clients that support sustainability and animal rights. An Account Manager acts as the liasion between the agency and client, making sure the client gets what they want and the agency satisfies all of their needs. I would want to make sure the client has a clear idea of what they want the final product to look like, while the creative and media teams keep the clients values in mind. I also want to keep making value-based decisions when collaborating with clients over what their company stands for and how they want to be seen by consumers.
My goals are to continue with my vegetarian lifestlye, educate and inform others on my values and why I stand by them, and to continue to be involved in organizations and groups that support animal rights and welfare. I want to someday become a member of my sister's pit bull rescue team and train and foster dogs so they are ready to find their forever home. I will also continue to make value-based decisions that further my intentions and goals for my future.