Bringing soy milk to Huron High School


Mike Devries visits the SAV Club in the Huron High School library to discuss plans to improve the labeling of plant-based options and introduce vegan options in AAPS lunches. From left to right, Arav Bhojani, Mike Devries, Max Samaha, Zoe Zhang, and Serena Chang

Jamie Tang, Staff Writer

The Sustainability and Veganism Club (SAV), which meets every other Friday from 3-3:45 pm in Huron High School library, is proud to announce that they have brought soy milk to Huron High School lunches. Last year, the SAV Club reached out to Victoria Davis, Director of Chartwells Food Service, asking if it was possible to incorporate soy milk into school lunches. After discussing the challenges considering the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) support for the dairy industry, Chartwells Assistant Manager Mike Devries stepped in. 

On September 23rd, Devries visited the SAV Club in the Huron High School library. They discussed plans to improve the labeling of plant-based food and offer vegan options in school lunches. They concluded that while it is not yet possible to provide soy milk for free, Chartwells could offer it as an item to purchase. The vegan options at Huron High School would serve as a model for the Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS). 

Last week, Huron High School released the first batch of chocolate and vanilla soy milk, and it sold out within two days. As a result, Huron High School ordered double the amount of soymilk. The batch is expected to arrive next week. Junior Mariam Nassuna was one of the Huron students who tried vanilla soy milk. 

“The taste is similar to almond milk—very light. It doesn’t make me feel as bloated as chugging regular milk,” Nassuna said. “I would definitely try the soy milk again.”

According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, thirty to fifty million Americans are lactose intolerant, which is one of the reasons why Zoe Zhang, founder of the SAV Club, believes soy milk is in the long run. After all, soy milk is also a good source of plant-based protein, magnesium, and iron, not unlike dairy milk, and is versatile in the kitchen. 

“The rise of soy milk is not only a trend but hints at a fundamental shift in accessibility to those who need it,” Zhang said.

Besides celebrating the soy milk triumph, the SAV Club is fundraising for a tower garden and volunteering at the local animal rescue Starry Skies. Nonetheless, Zhang has not forgotten the humble origins of the SAV Club. Founded in 2020, the SAV Club grew from a four-person club meeting on Zoom at the height of Covid-19 to welcoming over thirty dedicated members. Zhang is thankful for the support of her members and club advisor, Ms. Colby, for sharing her passion. Zhang would also like to thank her mom, her greatest supporter, and Mr. Devries, who brought the SAV Club dream to Huron High School. 

“I couldn’t be more proud and happy about our progress,” Zhang said. “Thank you for helping us show the AAPS community the power of the plant-based community.”