The students at the University of La Verne indulge in a variety of cuisine at the dining halls on campus.
Davenport Dining Hall and Barbara’s Place both offer many dishes provided by the management company, Bon Appétit.
Students are able to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at either dining hall, and many students living on and off campus rely on them for all three.
However, neither of the eateries list nutritional facts about the meals offered, and many students feel their meal choice would be altered if those facts were posted.
In fact, 11 out of 15 regular student eaters at Davenport and Barb’s feel like listed nutritional information would affect what they eat on campus.
“I feel like we just eat whatever is put in front of us,” said junior marketing major Alex Atkinson. “But if the facts were presented we would all reconsider what we ate here.”
Bon Appétit does post nutritional information on its website, but no one out of the 16 people knew this information was even available.
Neither restaurant has posted or informed eaters about the facts online, according to the students questioned.
“I think it would definitely help me if they were posted here,” Jatori Young, a business major, said. “Sometimes I’m just hungry and I’ll eat whatever is available, and then I will feel bad about myself after, wondering how many calories I just ate.”
The cafés offer many healthy variations—grilled chicken, fresh salad—and occasionally special vegetarian options.
But there are also unhealthier options like pizza, hamburgers, fries, ice cream and burritos.
All 15 students asked thought there should be a balance between good and bad food groups in a young adult’s life, and that they should be more aware of calorie intake.
“This is the time in our lives when we should be getting used to checking calories,” said photography major Brittney Slater-Shaw. “Our eating habits now shape how we eat in the future.”
Justin Alarcon, executive chef for Bon Appétit, values nutrition and encourages students to eat healthy. He attempts to educate students about health by providing weekly pamphlets on certain foods.
“Calorie counting isn’t a perfect science,” Alarcon said. “It’s kind of a double-edge sword, I think it is all about common sense and setting guidelines for yourself.”
Alarcon believes that nutritional facts posted in Davenport or Barb’s would not do any harm but he also believes it depends on the person.
“If you watch what you eat now then you would probably read the facts, but if someone doesn’t care they wouldn’t even look,” Alarcon said.
If nutritional facts were posted at Barb’s or Davenport, weight gain may be avoided according to Patti Nonemaker, ULV academic adviser, who warns incoming freshman about the “freshman 15,” a theory that college freshman gain 15 pounds within their first year.
“I think for certain people it will definitely help,” Nonemaker said. “But for those who are going to eat bad they will still eat bad; if the calories or nutritional facts were posted it might change their mind.”
Each student surveyed agreed that fellow students find nutrition important on campus; 10 out of 15 students wish nutrition facts were posted next to the menus in the dining halls.
“Nutrition affects me, so I assume it affects everyone,” Nonemaker said. “Some of the items served are very high-carb, they’re not light and very high in calories, they’re not necessarily bad but it’s good information for our students to know.”
Karleigh Neff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.