5 things: Oregon cuts free meals for student employees

This and more are the things you missed for the week of Nov. 7.

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 Nov. 7: 

1. Oregon cuts free meals for dining hall workers

Dining hall employees at the University of Oregon will now have to pay for their shift meals. Student employees are now charged $1 for the meal, and next term it will increase to $3. Many students aren’t happy with the change, saying this equates to a cut in compensation. Tom Driscoll, director of foodservice, told the Daily Emerald that the free meals had been subsidized by room and board fees paid by students living in campus dorms, and that they felt this change was fairer to all students. Driscoll said cutting the free meals allowed housing to not increase the price of dorms as much.  

Read more:  UO eliminates free shift meals for dining hall workers, students protest

2. Can games encourage kids to eat healthier in schools?

That’s exactly what researchers at Utah State University are testing with a program called the Fit Game, which rewards schools that eat healthier. Here’s how it works: students are provided with stories that promote healthy eating in a fun way. For example, they learn that sweet potatoes make you strong, so if the students eat sweet potatoes, the heroes in the fictional game would be given a virtual sweet potato cannon to help against the “bad guys.” Researchers are taking photos of school lunch trays both before the game and after to see if students ate more fruits and veggies after the game took place. If students eat at least 60 percent of the base consumption of their vegetables, the heroes move onto the next level in the game. 

Read more: USU researchers testing game to encourage healthy eating in schools 

3. Union expects Harvard contract to serve as standard for others

With the end of the Harvard foodservice strike, Brian Lang, president of UNITE HERE Local 26, has told Bloomberg BNA that he believes the negotiated contract will serve as the “standard” for other dining services contracts at colleges. In the Harvard contract, workers receive a $35,000 annual wage, no increase in out-of-pocket health insurance costs and a stipend if they are laid off during the summer months. There is some debate, however, as to how much impact the negotiated contract will have nationwide. Some say the influence will be felt mostly in the Boston region, perhaps at Northeastern University this spring when the Local 26 will begin talks to replace an expiring contract for foodservice. 

Read more: Harvard Food Workers Contract May Serve as ‘Standard’

4. Concordia College hopes to reduce plate waste by 50% by 2020

Plate waste is the new “it” topic in foodservice, and Concordia College is hoping to do its part to reduce the problem by launching the Taste Not Waste campaign. The campaign, led by two professors and being run with the help of dining services, aims to educate students on plate waste in the hope that individuals will do their part to find a solution. The university generates 9,860 pounds of plate waste per month at one dining hall alone. 

Read more: New initiative aims to cut plate waste in dining services

5.  NYC schools cut pizza after another green slice emerges from manufacturerStudents at NYC public schools saw pizza taken off the menu for the second time this school year after another batch of green slices of pizza were found in cafeterias. Education department officials said the green slices posed no health risks and did not contain mold, but said the item would be removed from the menu until “all concerns have been addressed.” This isn’t the only manufacturer-provided food to cause issues for the district. Chicken tenders have also been pulled after bones were discovered in the meat. 

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Pizza cut from NYC public schools again after another unsightly slice surfaces

Bonus: SNA looks forward to working with new president, Congress

Contact Becky Schilling at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @bschilling_FM

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