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Meet Adam Kelliher, an Agent of Change at Langara College

By: Alana Ridge

I am constantly amazed and inspired by the passion and dedication of the next generation to make a difference in this world. This week, we are hearing from a Canadian student named Adam Kelliher who studies at Langara College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Adam founded the Langara Environmental Club and was instrumental in bringing Meatless Monday to campus. Thank you, Adam, for all that you do to protect the planet. ~ Alana

To begin, thank you to my formal instructors at Langara College for teaching me the academic side of environmentalism, and another thank you to the Vancouver community members who have taught me the practical side of environmentalism during my hundreds of hours spent volunteering. You have all been important in the contribution to Meatless Monday on the Langara campus because of the confidence, pride, and wisdom you’ve helped me discover.

I joined the academic circle wanting to save the polar bears in 2012. I studied hard, and vigorously volunteered with a handful of environmental organizations in the city. These experiences indirectly taught me campaign strategies. I also learned directly from the numerous workshops and conferences I attended. Two years into my studies, the most crucial turning point for me was realizing my new found credibility and capabilities; I founded the Langara Environmental Club reflecting my personal values: healthier food on campus; more wildlife; healthier, arts-based social engagement and educational opportunities. I lead the group of students on my personal mission to alter campus food options for the better.

The truth is that I, other students, and faculty had ineffectively complained about the campus food offerings for some time. “Ineffectively” is a key word because now when I want a change, I tell the right people. Bickering and venting to friends is not as immediate and effective as addressing my concerns to the appropriate “authorities.” “Authorities” has been and currently is the most frequent dilemma: When I have a concern, to whom do I actually express it? I have often metaphorically referenced the maze of “people in power” as a struggle to jump through hoops.

“Brainstorming is elementary; acting on fantasies is testing.” However, the reward of completing an initiative like Meatless Monday, once materialized, is what sets apart the “walkers from the talkers” and leaves a traceable trail of commendable, recognizable, and distinguishable achievement for my resume.

I am grateful for Anna’s help in bringing healthier food to campus. I am currently vegan in diet and deed. Moving forward, I wish to focus my efforts on educating our campus about animal agriculture industry and its impact on the environment as well as the unnecessary cruelty being inflicted on animals.

Pragmatically, that means on campus I am already targeting the vending machines, indulging in larger scale non-violent direct action through the use of three-dimensional art, focusing on campus wildlife, and open to meaningful conversations about ecological footprints.

In summary, I MUST acknowledge Riz and Robert of Chartwells, BC, for surprising me with their astounding will to cooperate and help make the campus a healthier environment for all of us at Langara.

Thank you to all,

Adam Kelliher

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