Blog 8 – Meeting Resistance

With anyone seeking to make a change, there will be opposition and resistance. Therefore, resistant is expected when I address the lack of vegetarian options in the Longwood dining hall. Initially the resistance will come from the Director of Longwood Dining, because he is the person I will first contact. I predict that he may not be very apt to accepting my idea. He may feel threatened or even a little embarrassed to admit that he isn’t providing enough of a nutritious food selection for the vegetarians and vegetable lovers of Longwood University. Acknowledging this as an issue may distort his reputation, therefore, he may respond with something along the lines of, “Kim, I appreciate the time and commitment you put into researching vegetarian foods at Longwood University. I will consider this proposal for next year. Thank you and have a nice day.” This response addresses my proposal yet, gives the vibe that he is respectfully rejecting my idea.

The next resistance I anticipate to encounter is the resistance from the food supplier, ARAMARK. ARAMARK has the potential to respond in two ways.  The first response could be that the vegetarian food is sufficient for the student and faculty; the second being that no one has expressed the desire for more vegetarian food. However, this simple assumption could be countered by a survey of the students and faculty of Longwood. A survey could be sent out to the students via email, as well as placed at the entrances of the Longwood Dining hall. I project that this survey will prove that the Longwood community does have a need/desire for more vegetarian foods. If that isn’t enough data, I could point out a survey previously conducted by ARAMARK itself that concluded, “nearly one-fourth of all college students are actively seeking vegan/vegetarian options”. Another potential reason for resistance  is the additional money and work/training this would cause. More money would be needed to purchase the additional ingredients and vegetables needed for the vegetarian meals. However, I believe the main component of the resistance will come from the additional work. In order to incorporate the vegetarian meals, new recipes would have to be developed and selected, the chefs would have to be trained to cook them, and the fresh vegetables and foods would have to be monitored through storage.


   Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) published an article on their website commending George Mason University on their variety of vegan and vegetarian foods. This change was brought on by a vegan student activist who sat down with the head chef of their dining hall and discussed the option of additional vegetarian and vegan foods. Students provided potential vegan recipes the dining hall could implement in hopes of persuading the dining hall to incorporate these meals. They were successful in their attempts, proving that there is currently a demand for vegan/vegetarian foods in the college population. One more interesting fact I discovered was that GMU provides a list of the vegetarian foods that can be found at the various eateries on campus.

All of the resistance points I mentioned are plausible and possible reasons for rejecting my proposal, however, it is important to also identify the benefits of this change. I agree, initially the dining hall and ARAMARK may not see immediate results for their extra money and work, however it is important to examine the long term benefits that might arise. This addition will not only increase the satisfaction and health of the vegetarians of Longwood, but also the overall campus. This increased satisfaction will cause more students to purchase and utilize their meal plans even after they move to off campus housing. Longwood is also expanding as a school and accepting more and more students each year. By accommodating the various students’ diets, this will encourage students to incorporating this factor when choosing schools.

Huling, R. (2010, September 2). George Mason University Students Score More Vegan Options. In People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://www.peta.org/mediacenter/news-releases/George-Mason-University-Students-Score-More-Vegan-Options.aspx

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Blog 7: The Solution

Throughout my blogs I have described the multiple reasons as to why the dining hall at Longwood is inadequate for vegetarians. The many reasons included the rising rates of vegetarians and people who prefer vegetarian dishes, the limited resources to vegetarian food in the Town of Farmville, and the limited nutritious vegetarian choices provided at the Longwood University Dining hall. In conclusion, the students and faculty of Longwood University should be provided with the foods they want to eat.

I believe the major cause of the deficiency of vegetarian food in the dining hall is the lack of awareness. This lack of awareness encompasses a multitude of categories of vegetarianism. One includes being oblivious to the fact that vegetarianism is currently on the rise, especially in college students. Another includes not possessing the knowledge of the nutritional requirements a vegetarian diet entails. The third is the increase in obesity in college students contributed to the unhealthy food consistently supplied in the dining hall. These three reasons are pressing issues in college campuses around the country that need to be addressed. A simple solution to these problems involves increasing the vegetables and fruits in the campus dining hall.

The solution to my problem depends on how receptive the Director of Longwood Dining is to my memo and proposal. Initially I will email the Mr. Avent with a brief description of my proposal, my memo, and attached my proposal to the email. If he is receptive and supportive of my proposal, we will then approach ARAMARK with my proposal of adding two main vegetarian dishes to the “Good 4 U” section. However, there is a chance that Mr. Avent does not wish to recognize this as a major issue and comes up with some excuse to disregard my proposal. Therefore, I will turn to the students and faculty of Longwood University in hopes to gain their support so that ARAMARK and Longwood University will acknowledge this issue. I would like to provide the consumers of dhall with surveys that addresses if they are a vegetarian, if they would prefer and utilize additional vegetarian dishes in the dining hall, and if dhall is currently meeting their needs. These surveys can be placed at the entrances of the dining hall as well as distributed via email and social media to students of Longwood. When analyzing this data, I will determine if the results match up with my assumptions. If so, then I will present it to the Director of Longwood Dining as well as ARAMARK.

There is always going to be a potential for resistance if you wish to change something. The main resistance I believe I will encounter is resistance from ARAMARK. This could include resistance due to the fact that they don’t believe this is an issue at all and are content with the food they currently provide the students, the lack of money, the additional training the staff would have to undergo, as well as the development of new vegetarian recipes. Although this addition of vegetarian food would be modification on the dining hall and ARAMARK’s part, I believe it is important to point out the main benefits of this change. One of the benefits would be an increase in satisfaction of the dining hall for accommodating various consumers’ diets, as well as providing more choices to eat. Another benefit would be improving the overall
health of the campus as a result of the increased nutritional options. The last benefit I will mention is the increase in students and faculty who will utilize the dining hall, as well as an increase in students purchasing meal plans. As a student who lives off campus, I don’t have a meal plan because the food at the dining hall doesn’t fulfill my dietary wants and needs. However, if there were more vegetarian options provided, it would give me a cheaper and more accessible way to eat healthy.

Blog 6 – Narrowing the Problem

The town of Farmville provides very little opportunity to purchase healthy foods. It is grossly over run by cheap, convenient fast food chains. This makes it especially difficult for students and faculty with a vegetarian and vegetarian-inclined diet to eat the foods they want and need. With Dorrill Dining Hall being the main source of food for the students and faculty of Longwood, you would think that they would recognize this and provide everyone with well-balanced, healthy options. This is not the reality of the dining hall. As I have mentioned before, the dining hall provides a limited selection of vegetarian foods; including one main vegetarian dish and two or three vegetarian side dishes in the “Good 4 U” section, as well as the salad bar.


The Vegetarian Journal published a study in which various questions were asked regarding eating habits of meat. This telephone poll concluded that a high percentage of adults have a vegetarian and vegetarian-inclined diet. These adults recommended that restaurants modify their food selections to accommodate their diets. This study shows that more and more people are preferring vegetarian dishes in their everyday lives. Most people believe that cheese pizza is an adequate example of a vegetarian food because it lacks meat. Cheese pizza would technically follow the guidelines of a vegetarian food; however, there are certain nutrient such as protein and iron in meat that vegetarians must replace with other foods. Therefore, the Longwood dining hall should be fair to vegetarians and provide them with the food they require to have a healthy diet. This change will require the dining hall to supply more nutritional vegetarian dishes in the “Good 4 U” section as opposed to the inadequate selection they currently provide.

I also believe that the reason the vegetarian selection is so restricted is due to the lack of awareness of the prevalence and knowledge of vegetarianism. As I mentioned before, more people are converting to a vegetarian diet as well as preferring these meals in their daily lives. If the dining hall or ARAMARK knew this, they may be more willing to supply the consumers with the vegetarian foods they want and need. I recognize this unawareness is an issue; this is part of the reason I chose this as my proposal. I strongly believe that everyone should have access to a variety of healthy foods that pertains to their diet.  By notifying the dining hall and ARAMARK might enable them to add more vegetarian foods in the dining hall.

The dining hall and ARAMARK need to be knowledgeable about the nutritional contents of a vegetarian meal, as well as the prevalence of vegetarianism.  This lack of knowledge may be contributing to the limited vegetarian foods on campus. Once they gain this knowledge, they may be more apt to modify the food selection for vegetarians. Even though I personally am not a vegetarian, I still enjoy eating vegetarian meals and believe that all students and faculty that eat at the dining hall could benefit from this change.

Stahler, C. (2012). How Often Do Americans Eat Vegetarian Meals? And How Many Adults in the U.S. Are             Vegetarian?. In Human Reseach. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from            http://www.humanresearch.org/content/how-often-do-americans-eat-vegetarian-meals-and-   how-many-adults-us-are-vegetarian

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Blog 5 – Solidifying the Issue

We are seeing more and more adults and teenagers transition to a vegetarian lifestyle in the recent years. Many people adopt this diet because they want to be healthier, lose weight, or discourage animal cruelty. Unfortunately Longwood University hasn’t recognized this increase in vegetarianism. At the dining hall there is a section called “Good For You”, that consists of one main vegetarian dish and two or three side vegetarian dishes. In addition to that, the dining hall has available a salad bar and the unhealthy choices of pizza, grilled cheese, and french fries. This is a huge problem for the vegetarians. The dining hall is the main source of food for students attending Longwood; therefore, the dining hall should provide the food that students need. If any changes were to be made, the stakeholders include the vegetarians that eat at the dining hall, the student and adult workers of the dining hall, the food supplier, ARAMARK, the student health clinic, and the Director of Longwood Dining. All of these stakeholders hold different perceptions on the issue of vegetarian food in the dining hall. In my previous blogs, I did not include the Director of Longwood Dining; however, I have added him because he holds direct control over the dining hall. Sharing these concerns with the Director of Longwood Dining would be a step towards improving the vegetarian options at Longwood University. This issue may not be apparent to the Director of Longwood Dining, therefore, bringing it to his attention will allow him to be knowledgeable of this issue.

    As I mentioned before, Vegetarianism is on the rise. Many people may not follow a strict vegetarian diet, but practice a vegetarian-inclined diet. This entails eating many fruits and vegetables with occasional meats such as chicken or fish, excluding red meats. Providing additional vegetarian dishes at the dining hall will allow people with a vegetarian and a vegetarian-inclined diet to eat the types of food they desire and need.  It will also increase the overall health of the population eating at the dining hall. Proper nutrition can improve a student’s physical, mental, and emotional health. It can benefit them by promoting rest, exercise, and allow them to be more alert and oriented. Upon my research, it has been proven that vegetarianism is more common in females than in males. Seeing as Longwood is made up of mostly females, this addition to the “Good For You” section will be utilized as well as appreciated. A quote from the Longwood Dining hall website states, “We make customer service a top priority. We seek opportunities to thrive on innovative ideas. Our goal is to constantly and consistently exceed expectations” (2013). Based on this quote, the dining hall should not have a problem recognizing the issue and finding a solution.

Longwood Dining Mission Statement (2013). In Longwood Dining. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from             http://www.campusdish.com/en-US/CSMA/Longwood/ContactUs/MissionStatement.htm

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Blog 4 – Vegetarian Needs

Vegetarianism in general is on the rise, especially in young adults attending college. In my research there has been a recent demand in the increase and availability of vegetarian foods at University dining halls. As I mentioned in a previous blog, nearby universities including James Madison University, George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University have been adapting their food selection to cater towards the vegetarians attending the dining hall. Longwood University is slow to this change with their limited vegetarian selection at the Dorill dining hall. Not only is there a limited selection of vegetarian food, but most of the food provided doesn’t offer the adequate nutrients in which vegetarians need. ARAMARK is the food supplier that not only operates Longwood’s dining hall, but also serves over 600 institutions across North America. ARAMARK may be resistant to this change because it would cause the staff to develop new vegetarian recipes that fulfill the nutritional requirements for vegetarians as well as training for the staff. Longwood University may not see the lack of vegetarian food as a problem because there are no actual statistics for how many vegetarians are currently at Longwood University. But, there are studies that show that more and more adults are adopting a vegetarian life style. Recent statistics show that 3.2 percent of adults follow a vegetarian diet and 10 percent of adults follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. With this significant increase, Longwood University is unable to ignore the increasing demand for vegetarian dishes.

Each student who lives on campus is required by Longwood to purchase a meal plan. This meal plan consists of a certain number of meal swipes into the dining hall, as well as bonus dollars that can be used at the Student Union, Chick Fila and Moe’s. These four options provide little choice for adequate vegetarian dining, therefore if students expect to cook meals at home they must venture into Farmville and spend their own money. The town of Farmville consists of 2 grocery stores, 5 restaurants, and 10 fast food restaurants. This overabundance of fast food restaurants will draw in the college students due to the convenience and cheap food available to them.

A study conducted at Jordan University surveyed 1,209 students and concluded that 23.9% of students were vegetarian, the majority of these students being female. Females are more likely to be vegetarians because they tend to be “more concerned about their body shape and weight control than males. Also, females overall appear to be more concerned about the financial and moral aspect of meat consumption” (Suleiman, A.A. et al, 2009, pg. 238) This information is relevant to Longwood University because the student body is made up of 33.5 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females. With females making up the majority of the school, the addition of vegetarian foods will most likely be consumed. By incorporating more nutritious vegetarian foods at the dining hall, Longwood can increase the student’s satisfaction, acknowledge and provide a variety of foods for the vegetarians of the campus, as well as, increase the overall health of the campus.

A survey of 1,209 students was conducted at Jordan University to determine the prevalence and reason for vegetarian students attending Jordan University. This study is titled, “Vegetarianism among Jordan University Students” written by Ahmad Suleiman, Omar Albogai, Sameer Kofiahi, Abid Augsteen, and Khader El Masri and published in the Journal of Biological Sciences in 2009. Although this study did not take place in the U.S., it still contains relevant information from credible sources such as the US Department of Health and Human Services. The main focus of the study was to determine the prevalence rate and reason of vegetarianism. The method of data collection included a cross sectional study that consisted of 2 different questionnaires. The first one refers to personal information about the students such as demographics, sex, weight, height, etc. The second questionnaire refers to vegetarianism, what specific things the student eats such as eggs, dairy products, or chicken. The results of this study showed that 23.9 percent of the overall students were vegetarian, 27.3 percent of the females and 17.5 percent of the males were vegetarian. The common factors that are associated with being a vegetarian include, “being a female, younger age, low family monthly income, nonsmokers, physically active, vitamin-mineral supplement user, and a normal BMI” (Suleiman, A.A. et al, 2009, pg. 239). This study recognizes that the results of this study may vary when comparing it to different countries due to the different religions, beliefs, and economic status. The limitations include the small sample size, the cross-sectional design, and the self reporting questionnaires.

 

Colleges and Universities (n.d.). In ARAMARK. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from http://www.aramark.com/industries/collegesanduniversities/

Longwood University (2012). In College Compass. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from .( http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/longwood-university-3719)

Suleiman, A.A., Albogai, O. K., Kofiahi, S., Aughsteen, A. A., & El Masri, K. (2009), Vegetarianism among Jordan University. Journal of Biological Sciences, 9(3). 237-242.

 

 

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Blog 3 – Who’s Involved?

The Dining hall at Longwood University provides little options for vegetarians, or vegetable lovers, as described in my previous blogs. I have mentioned some solutions to this problem that other schools have implemented such as Meatless Mondays. It seems simple enough, provide a couple more vegetarian dishes and the consumers will be happier and healthier; however, these simple changes involve more than just the students and faculty who eat at the dining hall. In order for this proposal to be implemented, multiple stakeholders would need to be involved. The stakeholders include the population utilizing the dining hall (students and faculty), the workers of the dining hall, ARAMARK (the food supplier), and the student health clinic at Longwood University. This shift to provide healthier food choices at the dining hall effects each stakeholder in a completely different way.

The consumers that utilize the dining hall would benefit greatly from this change. This would provide them with a variety of fruits and vegetables, allowing them more options to eat healthy and make smarter choices. Healthier diets will not only improve their physical conditions, but also their mental and emotional health. When discussing the “adequate” food selection at the dining hall student said, “They mainly have junk”, and “The vegetarian options are not only poor quality and bland in taste, but the selection is limited. You’re best option is a salad”. This short video also reinforces the benefits of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet while limiting the intake of red meat.  http://youtu.be/-Na6u09GzR0.

The Dining hall has staff that is made up of student and adult workers. The responsibilities of the dining hall staff are to properly store, prepare, cook, and serve the food. They are required to monitor how long a food has been stored and determine the proper cooking regulations to ensure correct handling of food.  The usage of additional vegetables and fruits will require more strict examination of the food products.

ARAMARK is a huge company that provides food services and management to various institutions including universities, schools, hospitals, and correction facilities. ARAMARK is utilized in many other universities as well, including The College of William and MaryThe University of Virginia,  and Virginia Commonweath University. If the dining hall were to incorporate more vegetarian dishes, ARAMARK would be the one to oversee and implement these changes. They would need to abide by their regulations but also adjust their usual management of food and the purchase of food to meet the demands of the consumers. ARAMARK also provides catering to various events held by Longwood University; therefore, those menus and usual dishes would also have to be altered. ARAMARK will have to collaborate with the students and faculty, as wells as the workers to execute this proposal.

The last stakeholder involved in this issue is the student health clinic. The student health clinic provides free services for the students of Longwood University. This clinic provides care ranging from seasonal allergies to management of depression and anxiety. Although Longwood provides these services, chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are on the rise. These common chronic diseases are significantly impacted by lifestyle choices such as diet. By providing healthier foods, fruits and vegetables, this will allow for the population to eat healthier foods and reduce the management and prevalence of these health problems. In a published literature review titled, “Vegetarian diets, low-meat diets, and health” it was found that by reducing the intake of meat, a person’s risk for developing various chronic disease is decreased. In this review it was concluded that, “Vegetarian diets are characterised by greater consumption of fruit and vegetables containing a myriad of phytochemicals, dietary fibre and antioxidants which may offer protective metabolic advantages for both cancer and CVD risk.” For most students, this is the only form of medical care they have access to at Longwood University.  The clinics are operated by appointment only, because of this, some student must wait a week before they are seen. Also when looking at a person’s overall health, nutrition is a big part of having an adequate immune system. If a person’s immune system is down, they are more susceptible to communicable diseases, especially upper respiratory problems. A college campus is a high populated area in which multiple people share this environment. Because of this, it is more likely for these diseases to spread rapidly throughout the college and affect more individuals. By providing healthy options at the dining hall, this will improve the overall health of the students. The Student Health Clinic will then be able to see a decrease in the number of students attending the clinic, allowing them to improve the quality of care.

The journal article that I used is titled, “Vegetarian diets, Low-meat Diets and health”, written by Claire McEvoy, Norman Temple, and Jayne Woodside. This literature review was published on February 12th, 2012 in Public Health Nutrition. This article examines the benefits and relationship of vegetarian and low-meat diets with a reduced risk of chronic disease. The authors identify the various types of vegetarianism but emphasizes on the importance of reducing the intake of red meat. The various topics discussed throughout this article include vegetarian diets and the prevention of chronic disease, vegetarian diets and the effects on cancer, absence of red meat and chronic diseases, and the various nutrients vegetarian diets provide. In conclusion consuming more vegetables and fruits with limited red meat is beneficial for reducing the risk for developing chronic diseases. However, it is not clear whether this is caused by the decrease of meat in the diet or if it is the foods that replace the meat that promotes health.

 

McEvoy, C., Temple, N,. & Woodside, J. (2012). Vegetarian diets, low-meat diets and health: a review. Public Health Nutrition, 15(12), 2287-2294. Doi:10.1017/S1368980012000936

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Blog 1 – Why can’t I eat what I want?

 Imagine you have just gotten off from work, you haven’t eaten since lunch time, and even at lunch all you ate was a cheap microwavable meal that did not satisfy you.  As you enter your house, your thoughts are concentrated on the amazing dinner you will soon eat. You walk over to your fridge, open the door, and the only contents of the refrigerator are three very bland, very boring dishes. This takes you a little by surprise, but you mosey over to the pantry, stomach rumbling, with hope in the back of your mind that something better will be waiting for you in the pantry. But when you open the pantry, you see yet again the same 2 plain dishes found previously in the refrigerator. I don’t know about you, but at this point in time…. I’m disappointed and aggravated by the limited options for food. First of all, I only have five dishes to choose from, secondly these foods are all boring, bland, and unappetizing. All I want is something delicious that will satisfy my hunger as well as my taste buds, however, there are no options available.

            This scenario is something that vegetarians face when they enter the Longwood University’s Dining hall. This dining hall solely consists of the “Good For You” section that contains three or four vegetarian dishes, the Salad Bar, which contains a variety of ingredients, and the constant yet unhealthy choices of pizza, french fries, or grilled cheese sandwiches. The limited choice of foods in the dining hall makes the horrible scenario I described earlier, a reality. According to the Vegetarian Journal, four percent of adult Americans are vegetarian, which equals to about 230 million Americans adults. It is estimated that 47 percent of American adults look for vegetarian foods, foods not including meat, fish, seafood, or poultry. This data was reported from a poll taken in 2012; therefore, this current data displays a high percentage of vegetarian and vegetarian-inclined diets. This increase is largely due to the desire to strive to be healthy, lose weight, and discourage animal cruelty. With this increasing vegetarian lifestyle, institutions such as college campuses may not offer enough vegetarian options for the faculty and students. The Longwood University’s dining hall just went under reconstruction to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, yet the food choice remains the same. There are many simple changes that could accommodate for the growing population of vegetarians or vegetable lovers of Longwood University. One of the changes that could be made is to incorporate vegetarian food into other stations of the dining hall. Another idea could be to alternate on different days between pizza and a vegetarian dish. These simple and easy steps can make a huge difference in the student and faculty’s lives at Longwood University. Providing more vegetarian options at the dining hall will not only benefit the vegetarians, but also provides healthier options for the school as a whole.

The article I referenced in this blog post was an article from the Vegetarian Journal published in 2012. The title of the article is “How Often Do Americans Eat Vegetarian Meals? And How Many Adults in the U.S. Are Vegetarian?” written by Charles Stahler. This article reflects the results of a telephone poll of about 2,030 adults over the age of 18. Various questions were asked regarding whether meat is consumed, what type of meat is consumed, and the frequency of which meat is consumed. The definition of a vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat, fish, seafood, or poultry. The results showed that based on the high percentage of adults with vegetarian and vegetarian-inclined diets, restaurants should modify their food to accommodate these Americans. The results also suggest that there is no specific gender, race, region, or age, in people who consume one or more vegetarian meals a week.  This article is very straight forward, providing the details of the poll conducted as well as clearly displaying the results. The author seems to suggest that based on the amount of people who consumer vegetarian meals on a regular basis, food suppliers or restaurants should tailor their food for vegetarians. By providing more vegetarian options for the general public, this will benefit the many vegetarians and vegetable lovers of the community.

Stahler, C. (2012). How Often Do Americans Eat Vegetarian Meals? And How Many Adults in the U.S. Are Vegetarian?. InHuman Research. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from http://www.humaneresearch.org/content/how-often-do-americans-eat-vegetarian-meals-and-how-many-adults-us-are-vegetarian

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