How the university could improve our health

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The Riddell Centre, home of rodents and bad burgers. Kate Thiessen

Stop serving slop

If a Cougar or Ram athlete lives on campus then the biggest danger to their health isn’t the chance of a concussion, the mental health strains of being an athlete and an academic, or the ice that tends to pile up on campus in the winter months. The largest pitfall for those on campus is a lack of affordable and heatlhy food.

There are items such as the Good Food box – check out web writer Julia Peterson’s recipe online for a good opportunity to take advantage of the program – but a campus where Coca-Cola is cheaper than milk isn’t one that’s ready to have a serious conversation about students’ health.

During reading week, no Chartwell’s food outlets (outside of the overpriced grocery store imitator that is the C-Store) were open past 6:30 p.m. and the campus-wide email announcing these hours wasn’t sent until the break had started. The grocery store outlet costs three times as much for regular items. A (faulty) argument can be made that the convenience of student housing means the harsh increase in cost is justified. However, a campus who prices poor students out of healthy food options in the name of justified convenience while also removing the only medical supports available is one that lacks a distinct sense of care.

Beyond the steadfast refusal to accept healthy alternatives that was the close-but-no-cigar switch away from Chartwell’s, Student Affairs, as of press time, still has not signed their agreement with Chartwell’s. Rumours continue to swirl of more health violations in relations to non-halal food being labelled as such (the Carillon has yet to confirm these), but those who wish to look at the violations that have plagued the entire campus in previous years that aren’t of the religious variety, check out http://healthinspections.saskatchewan.ca/.

URSU often draws my ire, but their tender for the food service contract modelled an opportunity for student engagement, student jobs, and the removal of the prison food provider that appeared to temporarily lay off many of its lower level employees during the winter reading week. Chartwell’s has seen many of a firing and resignation since they almost lost in the contract talks last year. How they returned is a mystery to everyone outside of student affairs, but the question remains: why do campus figures like Harold Reimer refuse to acknowledge that students can’t be toyed with just because they are more likely to be healthy than their aging counterparts. Going in a different direction, like establishing a nursing clinic, would mean a tangible step forward if it had actually, you know, happened. Instead, any commitment to student health is mired in bureaucracy that undoubtedly will lead to long and drawn out consultancy projects that do little more than worsen our diets and piss us students off beyond repair.

I think I’ve finally figured out why we don’t have a nutritionist program. For KHS to offer such a program, they’d have to actually look at the diabolical food being offered to students daily.

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