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ABOUT VSA UTRECHT

Founding of our community

 VSA Utrecht was started in July 2020 with one goal: to build a supportive community for vegan-minded students. We never expected the overwhelmingly positive response we received! VSA Utrecht is now an association with approximately 100 members and has multiple committees. We are proud to call ourselves an inclusive and welcoming community to everyone, no matter your current lifestyle!

Monthly newsletter

Not only for our members, but for anyone interested in being up to date about our events, vegan news, and inspiring columns written by our members: you can sign up for free to receive our monthly newsletter!

Why veganism?

You can eat plant-based for many different reasons. In short, we stand for animals and the environment.

  • The environment: The meat, dairy, and egg industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all transportation combined. Switching to a plant-based diet is the best thing you can do for the environment. If you want to learn more about the impact of animal products on climate change, please watch the documentary Cowspiracy.
  • The animals: We can all agree that killing and harming conscious beings is bad. But somewhere along the way, we lost that connection with the animals we consume. If you want to learn more about what actually happens to animals in animal agriculture, please watch the documentary Dominion.

How veganism?

Going vegan might seem like a daunting task at first. What do I eat? Can products made from plants really be as tasty as meat, dairy, and eggs? Here are a few resources for you to check out:

  • HappyCow – A website and app showing you vegan restaurants in your area
  • BonusVegan – A website that shows you what vegan products are discounted right now
  • Vegan Challenge – Take on the challenge to go vegan for 30 days, with free recipes and help
  • Our mini VSA cookbook! – 13 recipes from VSA members to get started with

We have weekly events in and around Utrecht. Our events are centered around veganism, vegan food, sustainability, animal rights, and equality. 


Meet the board!

2023 – 2024

Elena Sophie Zech

𓆏

President 

I am an international sustainability student at Utrecht University from Austria. Plants and animals are my obsession. What better way to express this than through veganism? I love my association and all the good friends I made, it honestly changed my life for the better. This is why I am giving back this year by working behind the scenes. Apart from that, I love artsy stuff and books, as well as cooking and eating some good food. I’m so excited to grow our community and share the love!

Jonathan Venema

˙ᵕ˙

Treasurer 

Since my birth I have been a vegetarian, now seven years vegan and for 21 years living as Jonathan. I understand the struggle to find like minded people and a community for people who have a heart for animals and nature. That’s what I want to create in the VSA. Focused on members’ cohesion and the effect we can have on the outside world; I want to go above and beyond as the treasurer for the next board year. I am really motivated and want to make the VSA an association we can all be proud of!

Christina van Beek



Secretary

I’ve been vegan for two years. I started doing animal rights activism in early 2023 and now volunteer a local organizer for We The Free. I find VSA Utrecht to be a wonderful association filled with people who stand for compassion and respect for all sentient beings, finding community in one another. As secretary, I am the members’ general contact person, so don’t hesitate to contact me! My ambition for this year is to campaign for fully plant-based catering on university campus! Let’s work towards a vegan future together, and have some fun too!

Steven Bensdorp

☯︎

External Affairs

After a board year as the treasurer of VSA Netherlands I am now returning to VSA Utrecht for my second board year. I have learned a lot during the last two years and I am eager to apply it all! My main priority will be to strengthen the position of the VSA within Utrecht and the broader student community, so that we can cooperate with more associations! Besides that I will also focus on the activist side of our association as well as the unique culture that we are slowly developing.


2022 -2023

Luīze Ancāne



President 

I’m a twenty-one year old Cultural Anthropology student. I love reading, and (when I have the money) pole dancing. Oh, and I worship Taylor Swift and adore oat milk lattes with caramel syrup. For two years now I’ve been very passionate about veganism. I’ve done my fair share of activism, and I want to keep on spreading the vegan message as much as possible. Joining the board of VSAUtrecht offers me a chance to do this, and to be hands-on with decisions that impact the community. I hope to help our small, Utrecht based, veganminded community grow and improve.

Leon Borgdorf



Secretary 

My name is Leon
and I started my PhD at Utrecht University about the ethical and societal implications of genome editing in so-called farm animals in December 2021. I joined the VSA this year and was already part of the most recent podcast episode, the board game club, and the Summer Committee. As a board member, I want to contribute to forming a strong vegan community at the university to do fun stuff together, inspire each other, and fight for animals at the university and in the city.

Anni Auvinen



Treasurer 

I will start my second year at Utrecht University,
studying economics and business economics. Originally, I am from
Helsinki, Finland, but like most international students, I have lived all over the world. I have been vegan for three years now, and I would never consider going back to eating animal products. I am forward-thinking, full of ideas, and I have plenty of opinions, and I cannot wait to help make Utrecht more vegan-friendly and expand the word of veganism.


2021 – 2022

Maya Schaap



President 

Maya (25) is studying to become a clinical psychologist. Besider her studies and presidency, she keeps busy with dog- and babysitting, doing yoga, playing boardgames, and escaping into nature whenever she can. She has been vegan since spring 2014 and even though the societal change will always be too slow for her liking, she feels hopeful by how much has already has changed since then. Her favorite vegan quote? “It costs us so little to go vegan. It costs animals so much if we don’t.”

Marleen van Kempen



Vice President 

Marleen (24) is a clinical neuropsychologist to be. Currently, she spends her gap year working and travelling, doing a pottery course and being VSA Utrecht’s vice president.
She has been vegan for over 2 years and hopes more and more people will adopt this loving lifestyle. She aspires to create a warm and welcoming vibe in VSA Utrecht for anyone wanting to connect to like minded people <3  Her favourite vegan quote? “My food is grown, not born.”

Dieuwertje Janssen



Secretary 

Dieuwertje (24) graduated from her Masters in Nutrition and Health, and is currently working as a research assistant. She has been vegan for over six years, and she hopes to see the community of vegan students grow even more in Utrecht! She hopes veganism will become more accessible and approachable for everyone, getting rid off the extremist image that others may have of veganism. Her favorite vegan quote? “Eat beans, not beings.”

Steven Bensdorp



Treasurer 

Steven (23) graduated as a historian and is currently studying to become an elementary school teacher. He works at the service hub of Bol.com and does an internship at the Nijekroost. He has been vegan for over two years and firmly believes a vegan Netherlands is possible in his lifetime. In his free time he loves to read and play boardgames. His favourite vegan quote? “The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny.”


2020-2021

Sandra Eindvall



President 

Sandra is a Graphic Design student from Sweden. She is currently doing an internship at Lazy Vegan in Amsterdam. Her dream for this association is to mainstream veganism and to create the coziest community in The Netherlands! Pasta is her favourite food.

Sophie Croon



Vice President 

Sophie is a Medical Master student from the Netherlands. Her dream for VSA is to connect with people from all the other VSA’s and have events together! Her favourite food is sushi.

Kelly Leewis



Secretary 

Kelly is a Journalism student from the Netherlands. Her dream for VSA Utrecht is to one day get our own location! That way VSA can make veganism more visible and accessible for students. Thai curry is her favourite food.

Sara Hageraats



Treasurer 

Sara is a Medical Master student from the Netherlands. Her dream for VSA is to create an open-minded and inclusive community where everyone feels welcome <3 . Her favourite food is peanut butter.