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The ‘freshman fifteen’: Fact or fiction?

A number of students have complained about not being informed about what is in the foods they are eating in Palms and Hopper Dining.

Some students are finding it hard to make healthy choices under non informed circumstances.

“At Valdosta State University I’ve gained five pounds in two months,” Peter Akiti, a VSU freshman, said. “I do find it hard to make the right choices.”

Most students agreed that being provided nutritional information in the dining halls would help them lead a healthier lifestyle.

“It would make me think twice about getting some foods,” Nathaniel Wondimu, a VSU student athlete, said.

The nutritional information was taken away from the dining halls about two years ago around the same time the resident dining halls underwent new management.

Pete Harkness was the director of operations on the transition team, and is now the resident district manager of VSU dining.  According to Harkness, the information will be back– however; there is a lot the dining team must do before they can provide reliable nutritional information.

“It is not an easy process, not a process that can be completed over night,” he said. “We hope to have it completed next semester.”

A few of the things the dining team is working on regarding posting nutritional information in the dining halls includes: getting the entire staff through a training program called BalanceYou, educating the cooks on following recipes and training the sever staff to follow portion controls.

There are still ways students can get help with eating healthy in the lunchrooms until that information is available.

“On our DineOnCampus website there are many different options to help avoid the freshman 15 like reviewing nutritional information,” Harkness said. “There’s probably 15 different links on the homepage—the DineonCampus website is really informative.”

Students can also make an appointment with Sean Egan, VSU dining executive chef. Egan is in charge of designing the menus for both dining halls. Egan’s information is also available to students on the DineOnCampus website.

“Our executive chef, he will actually walk you through the facility, he will point out different things that are healthy and he will even review the menu with you so that you can make a dining plan for yourself,” Harkness said.

The dining staff’s goal is to provide the best service for all of their customers, so suggestions, complaints and compliments are encouraged.

Students can go to any dining center and ask to speak with the manager or supervisor.

There are also ‘youfirst’ boxes in all of the dining centers that students can drop opinions in as well as a customer questionnaire on the DineOnCampus website.

“You can’t compare to Mom’s cooking all the time, but the more we can please and the more offerings we can offer the better it is for everyone,” Harkness said.

Students can check out the website by going to www.dineoncampus.com/valdosta/


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