Almost 70 per cent of students want DCU Students’ Union to promote a healthier attitude towards food on campus, according to a survey carried out by The College View.
Welfare Officer, Lorna Finnegan is keen to plan a healthy eating campaign in conjunction with a mental health week in semester two as a result of these figures. Almost all of the 300 students who took part in the survey felt that eating healthier had a direct impact on their mental health and sense of overall well-being.
Many students complained that healthier food served on campus is more expensive than fat-laden, deep fried foods such as chicken goujons and chips.
A chicken fillet roll from Spar on campus is priced at €3.49 while a healthier option of soup and a sandwich or a vegetarian curry is priced at €5 on other menus around campus.
Students were impressed by free fruit and bottles of water being handed out by the SU during Mental Health Week. This is an initiative that they would like to see repeated more frequently instead of being “handed free pizza all the time”.
Finnegan acknowledged that in previous years “free pizza was handed out a lot more at events and students expected it”. Tighter budget restrictions mean that this year the SU is making a more conscious effort to cut-down on promoting pizza at events.
She also revealed that an idea of ‘No chips Tuesday’ was rejected by the campus restaurant as they feared that students who did want to purchase chips would be “turned away”.
She would like to see more “gluten free and vegetarian options for students to choose from on campus.
“Halal meals were introduced in the restaurant before and these were not a big success but more fresh salad and pasta options are definitely worth looking into.”
The Nubar has also launched a new sushi and noodle bar following talks with members of the SU about new menu options.
“The student advice centre provides leaflets about good brain food and chefdirect.ie delivers fresh meals straight to DCU for five euro which is a great option for students. However, when the option of fast-food is handed to you it is sometimes easier,” Finnegan pointed out.
Organising food demonstrations on campus to change student mentality towards healthy food is also an idea that Finnegan is keen to look into. Blogger, Avril Clarke who is the brain behind “Better than Noodles”, uploads three minute videos showing students “easy and healthy recipes such as soup that can be stored all week.”