SALT LAKE CITY – Nutrition for many college students is a low priority especially during finals week according to the Union Programming Council (UPC).
In an effort to combat this, the UPC is providing students with a healthy breakfast on Wednesday, April 24 in the Union at the event Food for Finals.
The UPC is a program with seven student directors that work with the A. Ray Olpin Union to create a friendly home away from home environment for students. Together these two boards plan activities and events geared toward helping students feel comfortable in The Union throughout their time at the U of U.
One board within the UPC is the Community Service board which has taken on the task of educating students about healthy nutrition in college.
When the To-Do lists get too long healthy eating can get pushed aside, and breakfast is often the first meal to take a hit.
Skipping breakfast has a negative effect on the body for multiple reasons. One reason being that when breakfast is skipped the body goes into starvation mode and metabolism slows. Another reason is that without fuel the brain has a more difficult time functioning and focusing.
The UPC provides Food for Finals at the end of every semester. Heather McElroy is the UPC Director over Food for Finals and has enjoyed providing a free breakfast for students during finals week.
“Finding time for breakfast in the morning can often be a hassle, and we hope this event can take away that burden,” said McElroy.
Chartwells, a food supplier for schools, prepares the food for the event. There are also items donated from Coke and Einstein Brothers. The menu for this year’s event includes eggs, bacon, bagels, breakfast potatoes juice and coffee. UPC anticipates feeding approximately 450 students this semester at Food for Finals.
In the past, the response to Food for Finals has been phenomenal; students eat it up, literally.
“It is such a neat idea because everyone is living at school during that week anyway so eating breakfast at school is convenient. Also it makes you feel like the school does cares about you,” said Marie Davies a senior studying elementary education.
Alyx Williams is a member of the UPC Service Committee and is one of the directors working to help with student education on nutrition. Students are busy and in the midst of everything the average university student is involved in, Williams noted that nutrition often gets pushed aside.
“A lot of students get used to eating poorly because it’s cheap and easy to make. What students don’t realize is that eating Top Roman everyday is eventually going to have a really big toll on their body. I think it’s important for students to realize that it matters what they take into their body,” said Williams.
There may be many students who want to be healthy but feel that healthy eating habits require money and time. Often the lack of appropriate knowledge on healthy meals that are available and how to prepare them is what keeps students from better nutrition.
This year the UPC started an innovations board on their website titled, Feed U Corner. Recipes are provided for meals that are simple to make as well as frugal friendly. Each week this board offers a different healthy meal option for students. Williams is the creator of this program and hopes to help students understand that healthy options are available.
“We’re trying to change the perception that it’s impossible to eat healthy unless you’re rich and have a lot of time on your hands,” said Williams.
Feed U Corner also literally feeds students for free once a month by showcasing recipes featured on the innovations board. This was the inaugural year of Feed U Corner and Williams felt that it was a good start but they still have many students to feed and educate.
To learn more about the UPC’s effort to increase awareness of nutrition on the U of U campus visit their website at http://www.upc.utah.edu/communityservice.