By Natalie Finley
Editor’s Note: Natalie Finley is a current Howard University student.
Dear editor of The Hilltop,
Howard University currently has a contractual agreement with Sodexo Management, Inc. to provide dining services to faculty and students on campus. Students of Howard University, who currently have a meal plan need healthier food options in the Annex and Blackburn cafeterias. As a student of Howard University who has had a meal plan for two consecutive years, I have witnessed the lack of healthy options and ill quality of the salad bar that is available throughout the day.
For one: Pastas, burgers, hotdogs and other fried foods outweigh the vegetables dishes available. Often, healthy choices that Sodexo does provide, such as the salad bar, is not of good quality. For example, Kayla Johnson, who is a freshman at Howard University, is on an alkaline diet where she only eats fruits and vegetables. On August 25, 2016, Johnson walked in the Annex café for the first time and was baffled at the food choices that consisted of only hamburgers, spaghetti, pizza and the salad bar. The salad bar clearly had been out all day because the lettuces were a crusty brown on the edges and the tomatoes had a wrinkled texture. As a result, Johnson was forced to buy a salad from Potbelly. It can be a frustrating experience to know that Sodexo does not take the time to ensure they are meeting food quality standards and providing healthier options so students of Howard University can be in stronger physical health.
In addition, due to lack of healthier food options, students are often drawn towards dishes that contain more carbohydrates such as fries and pastas. This is a constant struggle that I had that resulted in my 10-pound gain. As a result, my weight gain had a negative impact on my academic performance by reducing the amount of energy I had to complete assignments. I noticed that when I did not enroll for a meal plan for the 2016-2017 academic year, I loss the ten pounds that I had previously gained.
For future references, Howard University should hold Sodexo Management, Inc. to higher standards by enlisting a requirement of the quantity and quality of vegetables provided to students everyday of the week. These standards should be written in the contractual agreement upon providing services to students.