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 Aug. 22:
1. Student drops out of college over “unhealthy” meal plan
I can already hear the groans and the word “millennials” coming out of many of your mouths. But before you strike judgment, see if this could apply to your dining operation. One student at Belmont University in Nashville has dropped out of school over what she calls an “unhealthy” college dining experience. The college requires students to have a meal plan, and the student didn’t feel like the food offered was healthy. The student follows a FLOSN (fresh, local, organic, seasonal and non-GMO) diet. She claims she was unable to follow that diet by eating in the school’s dining program. The department denied her request to not have to purchase a meal plan, and the student decided to drop out of Belmont. Sure, this student has a very particular diet and regardless of the validity of her statements that she couldn’t eat healthy food in the dining program, this is still an issue I feel many of you could face—if you aren’t already. We saw something similar a few years ago with gluten and Lesley University, which went all the way to the Justice Department. The outcome at Lesley was that food allergies are treated as disabilities. Perhaps the dining program at Belmont could have had the student speak to the disabilities office to work out her issues, and perhaps this move was suggested. This may seem like a one-off situation, but as people become more educated about food and have stronger opinions about what they should and shouldn’t be putting into their bodies, it’s something dining programs should be aware of.
2. Parent unhappy about school breakfast, takes to social media to protest
Another week, and there’s another social media post with upset parents regarding school meals. This time it’s about breakfast in a Hawaiian high school. The parents said the meals were “unacceptable” because they were not large enough. The meal in question was a scoop of rice and one ham link sausage. The Department of Education said the meal met all federal guidelines and that students were also offered milk, juice and fruit.
Read more: Some parents say ‘unacceptable’ breakfast served at public schools
3. University offering new scholarship for food
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about food insecurity as a problem on college campuses. Many have started food banks or similar programs, but one college is now offering a scholarship for food. Two students at the University of New Mexico will now receive the scholarship, which will provide a full-year meal plan. The scholarships are need-based and a partnership between the Associated Students, Chartwells and UNM Food Services. Students must demonstrate a need and must be full-time students to receive the scholarship.
Read more: New scholarship to provide food for Lobos
4. UCLA student dining services employee demands equal pay to full-time employees
One student at UCLA is demanding equal pay to work in the dining services department with her full-time compatriots. The starting wage for full-time employees is $16.32. It is $10,50 for students, although the Daily Bruin says student workers often do the same work as full-time employees, something university officials say is untrue. The student met with dining services to express her concerns; however, the department said it had no control over student wages.
5. Purdue to keep dining program self-op
Purdue University will not be outsourcing its dining services program. Earlier this year the university hired a consultant to study its dining program and recommend changes to help with an increasing on-campus population. Outsourcing had been suggested as one option, which prompted a student campaign called Save Purdue Dining. "We run a very efficient and well-run dining operation here, so at this time there's no need to outsource dining," Bill Sullivan, Purdue's treasurer and chief financial officer, said in a JConline story.