Thrive on Plants (TOP), a club with a mission to promote health, sustainability and respect to all lives through a plant-based diet, is focusing on two big projects this year. First, club president Uma Rye Graham is looking to create a positive change in the environment by reducing the ubiquity of animal products in Bozeman. “We are trying to advocate for the reduction of meat on the plate and promoting the increasing of plant-based foods because it’s much more inclusive to have a realistic goal of mitigating some of our impacts instead of asking somebody to make drastic life changes. Even just one day a week of cutting out meat and dairy means huge improvements in reducing carbon emissions and water usage,” Graham said.

Asking people to completely cut meat and dairy out of their life is a big step. Instead, Graham focuses on what the club can do to reduce the suffering of animals. This year, TOP is backing up the “Students Against McDonald’s” movement called the “I’m Not Lovin it” campaign. It aims to urge McDonald’s to treat their chickens better by adopting a more humane welfare standard. This campaign will help reduce the suffering of nine billion chickens a year by providing them enough space to move around and access to fresh water and a good diet.

Big chains like Sonic, Starbucks and Burger King have already joined the campaign, and if McDonald’s complies, many other companies will likely follow in its footsteps. “We’re not asking people to not eat meat, we’re just asking that animals are treated with a little more dignity before we consume them,” Graham said. The second big project the club is focusing on is the Plant-Rich Project. The club won a grant through MSU to provide a more sustainable alternative to foods that commonly contain animal products. That includes everything from soy cheese and meat-less hotdogs to rice milk and tempeh burgers.

The club is thankful for what MSU has contributed so far with providing more plant-based options on campus. Miller Dining Commons and the Rendezvous Dining Pavilion have vegetarian and vegan options at most stations.

TOP just celebrated their one-year anniversary and performs outreach activities to get students involved and puts on internal discussions so that all members and supporters are up to date on new research and trends happening. The club meets every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in Jabs Hall Room 204. Please email or follow Thrive on Plants MT on Facebook for any questions.