With an offer of a free dinner and movie screening, it seems that getting a crowd these days amidst the economic downturn is easy.
Despite being held on a Sunday, the NUS Food Fiesta 2009 by NUS group, Students Against Violation of the Earth, was visited by more than 200 students and members of the public.
Held on March 15 at the University Cultural Centre, the event was an initiative by SAVE to raise awareness of the benefits of vegetarianism on global warming.
The mini exhibition, featuring a vegan dinner, movie screening and a question-and-answer session with guest panellists, was to initiate a discussion on the ways reducing meat consumption can contribute to a decline in global warming.
Kavanaugh Livingston, an exchange student from John Hopkins University in the United States, rated the event positively.
“It has a nice, cozy feel. It is very well-set up and the guides are well-informed on the issues,” Livingston said.
Koh Ting Ting, NFF 2009 project director and a freshman who is studying nursing, said she received plenty of encouraging feedback about the exhibition.
“I’ve received many good comments from people so far. Most of them are compliments about the food, but a couple of people were also really impressed by the creativity of the exhibits”, said Koh.
Chen Zhirong, a second-year science student and vice chairperson of SAVE said the audience was receptive to the content and engaged in meaningful discussions with the exhibition guides and panellists.
Chen said, “We will be having more innovative events in the future to catch others besides the Sunday crowd to spread our message.”
Even though NFF 2009 attracted a larger than expected crowd, Koh said there was still a lot to be done in terms of raising awareness as there is insufficient emphasis in the mainstream media on link between diet change and climate change.
Koh said, “We have been brought up from young to appreciate meat but we must learn to look beyond and realise the truth of the situation.”
Livingston concurred with Koh, and added that “more publicity was required to get the information further out to the general public and raise awareness further.”
One issue raised during the question-and-answer session that generated interest among the audience was the prospect of opening up more vegetarian stalls in NUS canteens.
Chen said SAVE will be conducting a survey to address the issue of whether there are sufficient vegetarian food options on campus.
The results of the survey can be implemented in proposals presented to the Office of Estate and Development.
NFF 2009 was organised by SAVE’s Food-for-Thought committee in a joint collaboration with the NUS Centre for the Arts and Office of Environmental Sustainability as part of the 2009 NUS Arts Festival.