Project Proposal -Healthier Options in Our School's Cafeteria
by victoriasalomon on November 14, 2017 - 4:11pm
Mission Possible: Healthier Food Options
Our team’s project is to offer healthier food options in the school’s cafeteria, without taking away the current options. Why we wish to do this is because we believe that students who spend varying hours of their days in school deserve to have access to healthy and good food to fuel their bodies[K1] [S2] and minds. Providing ourselves with the right kinds of fuels will have positive effects in all areas of life. Though, we’re specifically focusing on academic life.
What’s missing, we’ve found, is the lack of options for the students and the lack of emphasis towards the healthier options, though minimal, that are offered. In our cafeteria, we noticed that certain elements of it that stood out.
Firstly, the salad bar. It is filled with more carbohydrates, such as pasta salads, [K3] than green salads. Providing different vegetable toppings to a simple lettuce salad, offering healthy dressing choices, are simple and efficient ways of improving the quality of the salad bar. This is a section of the cafeteria that is placed directly in the middle of the area. Every student walks past it and looks at it, but if nothing is appealing or eye-catching, what’s going to make them want to pick a salad?
This leads into the next point we noticed about the cafeteria. The presentation of the unhealthy options, in comparison to the few healthier ones offered.
After briefly discussing with a cafeteria worker last week, she told us that their most popular food was poutine, and that it completely surpassed fruit, in sales. A part of this is due to the quality of the presentation of the food. The items that the students want have more emphasis put towards them. The problem, is that those are all unhealthy options! Full sections of the cafeteria space is dedicated to unhealthy food options, whereas there are only minimal fruit options placed on a small table? Slight stylist changes, changing the position and the organization of the fruit in their baskets, can make quite the difference in catching the eye of hungry students.
Another way to discourage people from going towards the unhealthy food options would be if we were to tax the junk food. Placing it at a higher price, explaining to the consumers why the prices have been heightened, will hopefully steer them towards other foods.
Our final point is the transparency of the foods and what exactly is in them, in terms of ingredients.[K4] The students deserve to know what they are putting into their bodies. Perhaps seeing the listed ingredients can steer them towards choosing available, healthier options. The baked good section of the cafeteria has their ingredients listed on the side of the display case.
After researching some of the names of ingredients, as I didn’t recognize them, many of them were preservatives with chemical names. Though, I was relieved to see that almost all of them were safety approved, there was one found in a few of the baked goods, diglycerides, which is less safe. It is not something that someone should be ingesting regularly, yet it is being offered in our school’s cafeteria! The baked goods are the most obvious with their ingredients, yet other menu items such as the poutine, the pizza, they aren’t. If people could see what kind of preservatives, what kinds of questionable ingredients went into the production of what they were consuming, we hope it would encourage people to buy healthier options.
The issues we’ve seen are adequate reasons to support our demands [K5] in wanting healthier food.
We want to achieve our goal of offering the above food solutions by offering a petition [K6] for students to sign, asking them if they would like to have affordable, healthy food options in the cafeteria, without taking away any of the current options. This will hopefully show their want. Each teammate will receive a copy of the petition and will go around the school collecting signatures, for the duration of a week. We are also considering making an online petition that can be sent school-wide to students through omnivox for further coverage. We will also be meeting with the cafeteria staff and the food committee, to see how feasible everything is. Our solutions could vary from a better presentation of healthier options[K7] , offering healthy and simple foods, and taxing the junk food so students will be more compelled to select the healthier food.
Our timeline of tasks, including meeting with staff and researching solutions, takes us to the end of November, while allowing us the wiggle room needed in case we encounter any speedbumps along the way. (We would like to first pass around our petition at the beginning of November, then meet with the staff to hear their suggestions, before offering ours. After that meeting, we will schedule another meeting towards mid-November, to show our response to their suggestions.) This is our tentative breakdown:
Week of October 30th-November 3rd: Collect petition signatures from students and compile the data, so we will be ready to meet with the cafeteria staff. Some day this week we would like to schedule the appointment with the staff, though it will not be this week.
~November 8h: Around this day, middle of the next week, we would like to meet with the staff. This is during free block, so though it will work for us, it might not be an adequate time slot for them. That is why it is tentative. We want to show them the petition signatures and tell them the things we’ve noticed in the cafeteria that could potentially be changed, including taxing junk food, all while remaining respectful. We want to hear if our solutions are not feasible to them, so that we can improve on them. Or if they say that some of them absolutely will not work, we will devote our time to the ones that can. By the end of this meeting, we would like to schedule another meeting with them, later on in the month.
~November 15th: This is Wednesday of the following week. We would like to meet with Champlain College’s food committee, to hear what they have to say as well. We are going to find the names of the people we need to contact, and schedule a meeting with them to also tell them of our petition and potential solutions. It is tentative as well, because we might also want to meet with them sooner.
~Week of November 20th: This week will be our second and final meeting with the cafeteria staff. We will return to them with our revised solutions, information from our meeting with the food committee, and talk in depth and very seriously about what can be done, concerning the school’s cafeteria.
In terms of dividing up the project, a lot of this project will be done as a collective group effort, in terms of research. It is an element that we will all put effort into. Katie will be actively updating the project log throughout the upcoming month. Victoria will be getting in contact with Dave Persons about advertising our project and will create the catchy ad. Alexanne will be getting in contact with the food committee as well as finding appropriate times to schedule meetings. Melodie research simple, healthy suggestions that we can provide to the cafeteria as well as how much of a tax we could put on the junk food. Ariane will research further into the potential impact of our project, and what kinds of food providers we would need to get in touch with. We would say that it’s realistic. Without research, there should be about 10 hours needed. The potential impacts of this project are a healthier student body, as well as being more educated and aware in terms of what they consume. Students can still choose to pick unhealthy options[K10] but they will be made less available, and the healthy options will be there for them as well. We hope the petition results will be conclusive in the fact that it’s wanted.
No funding is needed as of right now, as our project is very research based. If funding is needed, it will not exceed the $50 we are granted. Advertising will also be inexpensive, as we will contact Dave Persons about displaying our project on the screens around the school as well as on the omnivox homepage. We need to respect the rules set by the cafeteria staff, the food committee, as well as any other representative who tells us the constraints they face when providing healthy food. We most definitely need support from the student body. Anyone that we could need to contact, we have access to the ways to contact them.
Petition for Healthy Options in the Cafeteria
As concerned students at Champlain College, we demand that the cafeteria offer healthier and affordable meal and snack options in order to help students maintain healthy bodies and minds.
At present, the cafeteria serves primarily unhealthy foods such as poutine, chips, and pizza. While those do taste delicious, they do not help us succeed at college. Also, the salad bar is filled with more carbohydrates, such as pasta salads, than green salads. While it is in the middle of the cafeteria, there is nothing appealing or eye-catching about it, rendering it pretty much invisible to most people.
PLEASE SIGN this petition if you would like the cafeteria to have healthier, affordable, food options. Keep in mind that we DO NOT want to remove what the cafeteria already has, we simply want to add to its menu. We will use these signatures to show the college and cafeteria staff that our message represents the student population. We need your support! Thank you.
*We had pictures but they did not seem to be posting.