Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of Dec. 4:
1. Violation of takeout policy leads to dining hall ban
Taking an extra piece of fruit or filling up a bag with cereal is often done in college dining halls. Students don’t see an issue with it, arguing that they pay for a meal plan so why can’t they take some food home with them? For college dining programs, the practice is theft and causes increases in costs. So UCLA has adopted a new policy this year that will ban students from a dining hall if they violate the takeout policy (taking extra fruit or a serving of dessert out of the dining hall, for example). Students would not be banned from all dining halls, just the one in which they were caught. Dining Services said they are sympathetic to students who are food insecure and said they would be willing to work with them to gain access to programs on campus that help. “The reality is, we don’t want to ban anyone from the individual dining facilities, but we do want the enormous removal of items to stop,” said Josh O’Connor, assistant director of leadership and involvement, in an article on the Daily Bruin. “Every time there are items removed from a dining facility, they’re only hurting themselves and the other residents that live on the Hill.”
2. A quarter of nurses in UK are obese; some blame hospital food
One in four nurses in the UK are obese, and hospital food is to blame, according to a newly released study. The survey looked at 1,500 healthcare workers between the ages of 17 and 65 over a five-year period. ““Lack of availability of healthy food options on hospital sites – especially overnight – and time to be able to eat healthily may play an important part in explaining the differences that we see between these groups,” the author of the study said to a local paper. An NHS England spokesperson told the paper: “We want healthy food to be an easy option for hospital staff, patients and visitors, which is why NHS England has told hospitals to clear sugary drinks and snacks and fatty foods from shops, canteens and vending machines and is providing extra funding for those that do so.”
3. Farm-to-school programs reduce waste in schools
That’s the result of a newly released study by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The researchers found that students eat 37 percent more vegetables and 11 percent more fruit in schools with a farm-to-school program. “These results indicate that sourcing produce locally has a positive impact on the consumption of vegetables and fruits,” Jaclyn Kropp, an associate professor of food and resource economics and lead author of the study, said in the release. “Further research is needed to determine if it is the quality of the products, product freshness or simply promotion of these products in the school cafeterias that is driving the behavior changes.”
Read more: Farm to School programs limit plate waste, study says
4. District’s new unpaid meal policy increasing debt
As so-called “lunch shaming” becomes a larger problem, Edmonds School District in Washington decided to do away with serving alternative meals to students with unpaid meal accounts. Instead, in a pilot program initiated this year, all students will receive the reimbursable meal. While it might help with “shaming,” it certainly is causing a hit to the bottom line. Currently the unpaid meal debt is at $28,000, but the district says that could balloon to more than $106,000 by the end of the school year. The debt has increased by $3,500 each week under the new policy.
Read more: In the school lunch line, self esteem can be expensive
5. College pub can’t sell alcohol
When the new retail outlet at the University of Albany opens next year, it won’t be selling alcohol. The sports venue was originally designed as a pub, serving beer and wine. The university’s leadership overturned the serving of alcohol, something the director of campus auxiliary services called disappointing.