While University of La Verne has diverse clubs that cater to student interests, a new club called Reaching Out for Animal Rights’ main ambition is to serve the animal community and bring awareness.
Founded this semester by freshman criminology major Leah Parkhurst, the club’s mission was to educate students about the welfare of animals.
There are about 20 active members.
“We are an animal rights club and our goal is to raise awareness and promote a cruelty-free lifestyle,” Parkhurst said.
“We mean a lifestyle that doesn’t involve eating meat, going to the circus or wearing fur,” she said.
“I feel bad that as a superior species, we treat other species like dirt. We forget sometimes that we’re animals, too,” she said.
Parkhurst, who is also the club’s president, was inspired to start the club after watching a video on a fur trade factory.
“I was really passionate about it and couldn’t believe other people didn’t know about this,” she said. “The club means a lot to me and I thought other people might be interested.”
Parkhurst’s enthusiasm and passion for the club motivated freshman biology major Amber Parra to join the club, where she currently serves as the vice president.
“I think so far the club has been a success,” Parra said. “A lot of people this semester were interested and I want to see what we could do for upcoming semesters. Hopefully I’m still here and I get to help more, we could do a lot.”
While several members joined because of ROAR’s mission to help animals, freshman psychology major Destinee Sales said she joined because of the vegetarian/vegan promotion Parkhurst discussed.
“I know that when Leah talked, she was advocating vegan and vegetarian options in Davenport and I’m vegetarian so then I thought that was cool,” Sales said.
Because the club is new it has only organized a few events this semester.
“The big thing we did this semester was have a truck come and tell people about the club,” freshman psychology major and ROAR member Ashyln Cross said.
The interior of the truck had televisions showing short films about animal cruelty and each student who supported the event by watching the video was given $1.
“It’s a newer club so I want to see it grow and see where we can get with it and see if we can have our goals met,” Sales said.
Parkhurst plans to continue the club next year and expanding the group’s events in hopes of raising more awareness within the La Verne community.
“I know we want to go Christmas caroling later next semester. We also want to volunteer by walking dogs and pet sitting for the community,” Parkhurst said.
Karla Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.