From March 24 to 26, Harvard hosted the 2017 Ivy League Vegan Conference—and there wasn’t a sign-wielding animal-rights picketer in sight. “We really are focusing not on trying to convert or influence people’s personal ideologies,” says Nina Gheihman, a Ph.D candidate in Sociology and co-organizer of the conference. Instead, the conference presented itself as a platform for educational outreach and academic dialogue, attracting an audience less radical than one might expect: Students, academics, vegans, and non-vegans were all welcome at the event. “‘Vegan’ is… not necessarily the best word because it does have this activist association,” Gheihman says. “The reason we use the word ‘vegan’ is because it’s just the most familiar colloquially. It’s a mouthful to say ‘plant-based’ or ‘bioethics.’” For Gheihman, “veganism” is an easily accessible term to describe the intersection of many related fields—among them sustainability, environmentalism, animal rights, and food security. “The purpose of the conference is to open up a dialogue about the potential power of plant-based diets to address the heaps of global issues,” she says.