From June 22-25, 2016, Lebanon Valley College’s EAT Research Group traveled to the University of Toronto-Scarborough to present their research at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS) and the Canadian Association of Food Studies (CAFS). The conference attracts close to 400 global scholars who represent disciplines as diverse as anthropology, history, nutrition, geography, journalism and agricultural science.
Sean Curry ’16, Sarah DiMaggio’17, Ryan Goernemann ’17, and Kristin Robeson ’17 were among the very few undergraduates selected to present their research alongside professional academics and graduate students. They presented their research in an organized panel entitled “Transforming Student Dining Through Nutritional Interventions,” which highlighted the coordinated efforts of the E.A.T. Research Group to transform the dining experience of students on the Lebanon Valley College campus. This year, all four student projects focused on the nutritional well-being of student diners and aimed, though various programs and interventions, to transform and shape the conditions in the dining hall to promote healthy eating.
Sean Curry’s project, “A Healthy Eating Dining Hall Intervention,” proposed to improve the availability of healthy food choices in the LVC dining hall through the use of a healthy eating logo, and to inform students of what constitutes a healthy food option. The successful outcome for participants in this intervention was measured as an increase in the consumption of foods that have been designated as healthy options.
Sarah DiMaggio’s project, “Eating to Perform: Improving Student Athlete Nutrition at Lebanon Valley College,” organized a long-term plan of action that will allow Lebanon Valley College to better meet the nutritional needs of its student-athletes, as these needs are not currently being met. The project included focus-group research with student-athletes to identify obstacles, and consultation with Metz and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to propose long-term changes.
Ryan Goernemann’s “Tasting Food for a Better Tomorrow” chronicled his work as the director of LVC’s “Taste Lab,” an experimental research area where students have the ability to taste, compare, and rate foods prepared by Metz Culinary Staff. The Taste Lab seeks to answer the fundamental question of how to empower student choices and preferences to ensure the food served in the Lebanon Valley College (LVC) Dining Hall is healthier, more sustainable, and more pleasing to students.
Kristen Robeson’s project, “Dining Hall Orientation,” proposed a new component to the traditional first year student orientation program that occurs at the beginning of the fall semester. After conducting baseline research about student dining hall knowledge, she proposed a four-part orientation sequence that will introduce students to the Metz staff, educate them about the healthy and sustainable options in the dining hall, and prepare them to make better dining choices during meal time.
The EAT Research Group was able to conduct its research and make the trip to Toronto due to the generous support of Metz Culinary Management, the Arnold Grant program, and the Office of Academic Affairs.