Oregon State University provides students with free nutrition resources through campus clubs, classes, and meals, but students are also encouraged to educate themselves about nutrition to support their own success.
Studies have shown College students on average struggle to get the right nutrients and adequate amounts from food, although nutrition is critical to student success.
David Dallas, assistant professor of nutrition at OSU, notes that there is a wealth of nutritional information available, but it is not always factual.
Dallas recommends that all students take charge of their nutrition education, whether that is by taking a course if possible or using the university’s on-campus resources.
One of these resources is OSU’s free Student Health Services appointments with a registered dietitian. According to the nutrition page on their site, tThese services focus on nutrition, physical activity assessment and self-guided goal setting. The dietitian will not ask students to make changes that they are not looking for themselves, but rather will help organize student goals into small, measurable, and achievable goals.
“I would highly consider the nutritionist on campus as a great resource… it was so easy to make an appointment,” said Tana Blodgett-Roush, public relations manager for the OSU Nutrition and Diet Club.
Blodgett-Roush, a pre-dietetic student, said she understands the importance of good nutrition in student life and the importance of being able to access credible information.
“It’s very difficult to be your best if you don’t have the bare minimum,” said Blodgett-Roush.
According to Blodgett-Roush, there are ways other than SHS to access reliable general nutrition information on campus as a service designed specifically to help students.
The university accommodation and catering services offer individual advice with its dietitian as well as menus developed with nutrition in mind thanks to their internal team.
“The nutrition team works closely with the culinary team at UHDS to ensure restaurant and cafe menus are balanced and meet a variety of dietary concerns or preferences,” said Kerry Paterson , director of residential restaurants and catering. “They look at our food supply for allergens and mark the allergens in our menu system.”
In addition to personalized advice and the creation of nutrition-conscious menus, UHDS also seeks to teach students how to make the right choices for themselves and lead their healthiest lives possible.
Throughout the year, the nutrition team holds events to educate students, such as general tips for finding the food choices best suited to their environment, specific nutrients to benefit, or even classes in cuisine focused on creating a well-balanced meal.
Paterson said the university recognizes the importance of these resources to student success.
Paterson said that for many students, this is the first time they will be making independent meal choices and nutritional decisions. The university knows how overwhelming this process can be and, therefore, have tried to make it simpler with labels inside all food centers.
“There’s so much we don’t know, there’s tons and tons of room to learn about nutrition,” Dallas said.
Blodgett-Roush’s personal hope is for the Nutrition and Dietetics Club to provide a one-stop-shop of nutritional support on campus for students to clearly see and access easily.
UHDS is actively working on adding a new dietitian to its staff as an interim dietitian to work for Corvallis Public Schools. SHS also continues to support these nutrition initiatives through its own recruitment efforts, as the university prioritizes student health and success.