Two student clubs, Ewha Cats and Solchan took up the gauntlet to raise awareness on animal rights. From May 7 to May 11, the two clubs ran a week-long Life Chapel, presenting on their respective club activities. Ewha Cats, a club attempting to protect stray cats on campus, emphasized the necessity for harmonious coexistence of humans and animals. Subsequently, Solchan, a club promoting vegetarianism provided a factual overview on the rationale for vegetarianism. In addition to chapel presentations, the two clubs organized offline booths directly outside chapel, and continued online activism and held events inciting student participation.
The Ewha Cats' chapel presentation on stray cats gave a detailed rundown of the club’s aims and activities which manages the welfare of the stray cats on the campus. “We decided that participating in the chapel, would be a terrific idea to reach to more Ewha students,” said an Ewha Cats member. “Starting fall semester of last year we contacted the chaplain. They took our offer positively. This allowed us to cooperate with the animal rights & vegetarian club, Solchan in putting together this week’s Life Chapel.” she continued.
The main activities of Ewha Cats can be summarized by the running of awareness events on cat protection, investigating of stray cats, corresponding necessary care and provisions for cats in need, and running of feeding stops. As such, the projects run by the Ewha Cats are substantial in both their depth and breadth in ensuring the best of stray cat welfare.
“We sell souvenirs twice a semester as a fundraising event basing our products on the cats on campus comprising from badges, eco bags, watter bottles, stamps, stickers to mirrors,” stated a member of Ewha Cats. They further maintained that they do not stop at simply making and selling these products.
“We include detailed storytelling on each of the cats featured on the products, and provide information on how the selling of goods provide realistic assistance for the cats. Funds raised from the profit allows us to supplement feeding stops, pay for treatment and operation of the cats,” they explained.
Solchan takes a different approach to protecting animal rights, by starting with the inquiry on our relative discrimination of certain animals.
“Some animals such as cats and dogs which have been historically domesticated are the subject of adoration and empathy,” a member of Solchan stated. “However, this is not the case of all animals. Traditionally farmed animals such as pigs and cows are mostly seen as a source of food, not receiving the same amount of attention nor care from humans,” the club members explained. Therefore, Solchan finds in vegetarianism, a life philosophy that is both eco-friendly and healthy. The club is attempting to spread the idea and create a wider vegetarian community in Ewha by running experimental events such as “Ewha 2018 OneDay Vegan.” The underlying idea being that if three people who have one vegetarian meal a day come together, a full vegetarian will form. Moreover, Solchan is attempting to facilitate vegetarianism for novice vegetarians by producing a map of vegan restaurants in the Ewha/Sinchon area, scheduled for completion by the end of the semester.
Both clubs put an enormous focus on information dissemination by means of their social media outlets. These outlets include Everytime, Facebook, Instagram and even their Naver Café in the case of Ewha Cats. During the Life Chapel week, the two clubs published daily card news ‒ a short, simplified series of news or factoids presented in the form of illustrations and slides.
Student opinion on the life chapel was largely positive. “Life Chapel widened my perspective on the protection of animal rights,” stated Yun Hyerin, a freshman in the Division of International Studies. “Truth be told, it is not a topic we come across easily, but it is inspiring to see such an organized effort to protect, promote and research on animal rights.”
Moreover, the selling of certain products by Ewha Cats was met with heightened interest as students inquired about the stickers that are to be sold at the student festival taking place from May 15 to May 17.
“The effective placement of the booths directly outside the chapel was a strategic success, as it was hard to miss,” said a student from the Department of English. “It could really be felt that these two clubs were being creative in their approach. I cannot think of more diversified and effective ways to inform the student body about their causes,” she exclaimed. The consensus has been that the effective organization and delivery of information has been memorable, where some students even expressed regret on the temporary nature of such campaigns.