Wisconsin is known for three big things: beer, burgers and cheese. Any dairy enthusiast would jump at the opportunity to gorge on the vast assortment of fine dairy products that Wisconsin offers. Many who do enjoy devouring these goods are very vocal with their praises. However, many students at Lawrence University are lactose intolerant and cannot begin to match their peers’ enthusiasm.
Recently, it has come to the school’s attention that an unofficial lactose intolerance support group has been formed at Lawrence University. Members gather weekly to discuss the difficulties that come with dietary restrictions. Different events put on by this group have involved cooking classes for the dairy avoidant, oat milk production sessions and cow tipping. On top of being a support group, the group is taking action to improve the lives of those with dairy intolerances. The group is waiting for recognition from LUCC, but campus life has voiced their fears of having to deal with the logistical nightmare of filling out insurance forms for cow tipping trips. It is uncertain if this group will find a place on the Lawrence campus.
Proud co-president, Anna Cohen, commented on the importance of starting a dairy-free group, “People here suffer from lactose intolerance. Down in the corner store, there is no option to buy lactose free ice cream. You have to buy those ice pops and no one wants to cut your tongue on that.”
While Cohen asserted that ice pops were dangerous, it is a little known fact that dairy products are an equally dangerous treat. Co-president Miriam Thew-Forrester said about her negative experiences with ice cream, “I once was trying to eat Ben and Jerry’s and I cut my tongue on glass in the ice cream. I was trying to eat a bowl of ice cream and there were shards of glass in it and I now have a scar on my tongue. It was really traumatizing.” Miriam is now a vegan as a result of her trauma.
When asked why they wanted to start this support group, Thew-Forrester said, “I want to feel like I’m not alone in my struggles. I need to speak up for those harmed by ice cream. But more than that, it’s a resume thing. I want to do as many things as possible to get a good job, you know? That’s why I want LUCC recognition.”
Cohen elaborated on Thew-Forrester’s first statement, “I think that it’s really important that we recognize how many people are suffering with this issue on campus and it’s not just isolated to Miriam and me. We’re all in this together and we’re trying to make real change here. It’s hard enough being lactose intolerant in general, but when you’re surrounded by ‘cheese-heads’ it sometimes feels downright impossible. We’re trying to change this dairy deep state.”
“The DDS as we like to call it,” Thew Forrester said.
When asked about the group’s future plans, Cohen said, “Students at the beginning of the year should be given a supply of lactate. Each student should have three per day for their time at Lawrence. If they don’t use them, they can pass it on to their friends or donate it to lactose intolerant people in need.” This plan may cost thousands of dollars of the school’s budget, but the presidents of this support group remain hopeful that sympathetic alumni will rally and donate even more to support their cause.
Thew-Forrester concluded, “I’m a vegan.”
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