Alexandria Beck has accepted a summer internship at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC, a nonprofit organization that promotes a vegan diet and alternatives to animal research.
Left, Beck with family pet chicken.
Photo courtesy of Alexandria Beck.
May 20, 2014
By Rita Cook
At the Green Source DFW awards held in March, one young college student stood out, even among the many veteran environmental activists in the crowd.
Alexandria Beck, the youngest honoree at the Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership awards, beat out a roster of worthy competitors to win volunteer of the year for her work with the University of North Texas group Mean Greens for Animals.
Right, Alexandria Beck won the Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership volunteer award in March. Photo by Libbie Simonton.
The 22-year-old Beck founded the student animal activist group in 2013 to provide resources and networking opportunities for people interested in reducing animal suffering and to call attention to the environmental, ethical and health benefits of reduced meat consumption, vegetarianism and veganism.
Beck says she will continue to work in animal activism after graduating this month with her bachelor's degree in communication studies with a minor in Spanish.
“This summer, I will be serving as the Communications Fellow for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC,” she said. “My fiancé and I are moving there at the end of this month and plan to live there for a few years. After the internship, I hope to find another job in animal rights. I would love to work for PCRM, the Humane Society of the United States, Hampton Creek Foods or any other organization that reflects my values.”
Beck said she believes animal rights is the next big social justice movement.
“It's so important for the future of the environment, human health and for the animals, of course,” said Beck. “I feel like it's my responsibility to educate others and help change public opinion regarding the way humans interact with other animals."
Beck’s compassion for animals dates back to her childhood growing up in Flower Mound. As a 16-year-old Flower Mound High School student, she became a vegetarian. Then she adopted veganism when she 20 after taking a Contemporary Environmental Issues class at UNT.
“We read articles by Peter Singer and Tom Regan, and I realized that my actions would more clearly reflect my values if I went vegan,” she explains.
Since Mean Greens for Animals launched in September, Beck said the group has distributed hundreds of vegan food samples and literature, encouraged many fellow students to go vegetarian, participated in the DFW Walk for Farm Animals, brought Peta2’s Glass Walls Tour and FARM’s 10 Billion Lives Tour to campus and screened Speciesism: The Movie.
In addition, the group lobbied in Denton for a bill that would make the buying, selling and possession of shark fins illegal in Texas and staged a protest at Southwest Airlines headquarters for its partnership with SeaWorld.
Above, Alexandria Beck talks to students about how they can reduce their meat consumption. Courtesy of Beck. Right, Mean Greens for Animals convinced UNT to boycott battery cages. Courtesy of Farm Sanctuary.
However, the group’s legacy in its inaugural year is its success in changing UNT policy. After gathering 500 signatures, they convinced the school's dining services to switch to buying cage-free eggs for all of its dining halls.
Beck says over the past two semesters, she discovered that animal activism is her truly her calling.
“I couldn't imagine doing anything else,” she said. “I have learned so much about myself, my relationship to violence and the impacts my actions have on others since transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. I have also learned how to be an effective animal advocate and the importance of encouraging people to make changes they are comfortable with, no matter how small.”
Beck’s commitment has already garnered notice within the animal rights community when she was honored at the Humane League’s Humane Hearts fundraiser recently.
“Without a doubt, Alexandria deserves the recognition she is getting for her work at UNT,” said Ethan Dussault, Texas State Director for the Humane League. “She has been a practical, effective and powerful voice for change. We benefit, animals benefit and our planet is better off when we have people like Alexandria stepping up in our communities.”
Rita Cook is an award-winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press. Contact her at email@example.com.
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