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A Game Changer for One Family  

When Sophie Rodner ’21 watched The Game Changers in science teacher Jeff Dyreson’s class, her life changed, as did that of her mother and younger sister Grace. The 2018 documentary is about athletes who follow plant-based diets. 

“[Sophie] was really inspired by it,” Grace, a junior, said. “She made our whole family watch the movie. And my mom and my sister were thinking, “What if we tried a vegan diet for a week?’ And then they never stopped. ... They said, ‘This is working, and I feel good.’” 

Grace said she “dabbled” in a plant-based diet, but once she watched the movie Cowspiracy, she became a vegetarian. Then she watched Dominion, and she became a vegan in her freshman year. 

Grace said she noticed that when people talked about why they switched diets, they often cited watching a plant-based diet advocacy documentary. She thought that could be an effective way to spread awareness. Thus began her campaign that challenges people to watch a documentary. Her campaign is at

The website, which she built in the summer of 2023, includes movie choices, testimonials, recipes, and tips on taking small steps toward plant-based eating. The website seeks to “spread awareness about the environmental, ethical, and health benefits of plant-based diets.” 

As an environmental proctor and recipient this year of a Gilchrist Environmental Fellowship — which provides support to a project such as Grace’s — she has brought her campaign to campus. On April 26, The Game Changers was shown. On Friday, May 3, James Wilks, the narrator from The Game Changers and a former professional mixed martial arts fighter and Navy SEALS and U.S. Marines trainer, will answer questions via Zoom in a forum at 6:30 p.m. in the Lyon's Den (third floor above the SNUG).  

After the Q&A, complimentary plant-based cuisine will be provided by Soulfully Vegan, which operates two food trucks and a restaurant in Berlin, Conn. Soulfully Vegan is one of several local businesses that have worked with the Innovation Trimester (I-Tri) program this year. I-Tri students, all seniors, step away from their regular classes and daily schedules in their final term to offer solutions to challenges faced by local businesses and nonprofits. Jen Solomon, who directs the I-Tri program, connected Grace with Soulfully Vegan.   

Grace’s website says that if the challenge of watching one of the documentaries “leads to even a single individual being inspired to take one small step toward eating more plants, like committing to ‘Meatless Mondays’ or choosing to order the roasted veggie bowl over a hamburger, then this project will have been a step in the right direction for our planet.” 

 “Meatless Monday” is one baby step. And there are many more. 

“If people feel inspired, there are a ton of small steps they can take,” Grace said. “And the recipes [on the site] are important. My mom helped with that because she is the one who makes these delicious recipes. It is important to show that plant-based recipes can be yummy and give you all the nutrients.” 

one movie for the planet website

When asked if she feels physically different now that she is vegan, Grace said, “Personally — and I think this is true for my mom and my sister — we haven't seen any huge changes, but I think that says something in that we are not these anemic, frail people. That was a concern because my sister swims in college [at Swarthmore], and I am a soccer player here and play year-round, and I feel perfectly fueled and energetic.” 

And energized to educate. 

“Once you’re knowledgeable about this topic and once the awareness is spread, everything else follows,” she said.   

Not long ago Grace could not have envisioned having a passion for plant-based eating. 

“Truthfully, as a kid I was a big meat eater,” she said. “I only became a vegan freshman year. It just all happened so quickly but all felt so natural, too.”  

Although she was apprehensive about public speaking, she has learned to advocate for what she believes. A video on her website shows Grace presenting information about plant-based diets and her program to fellow e-proctors about a year ago, confirming her progress as a public speaker. As her website says, “Inspiring change. One movie, one meal at a time.”   


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