Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

A big load of grease

You’d be hard pressed to find a freshman on this campus who isn’t worried about the “freshman 15,” referring to the weight many students are afraid of gaining during their first year of college.

I was no different, even if I was unsuccessful in preventing it. College is a stressful time, especially freshman year, and sometimes weight gain can be a factor of that experience.

The blame, of course, for weight gain almost always lies with the individual’s poor decision making, but not always.

I am, needless to say, referring to Bama Dining’s continued culpability in the weight gain of Alabama students.

If it isn’t dripping in grease, saturated in butter, loaded with calories and fat or simply unhealthy, you can bet Bama Dining isn’t serving it in the dining halls.

This year is my fourth living on campus, and I can tell you that nothing has been improved over the last three years. Dining hall food on this campus is as greasy, salty, fatty and high in calories as it’s ever been.

Tuesday morning I went to Fresh Food for breakfast and watched as the workers poured immeasurable amounts of melted butter onto the grill to make eggs.

I’m no food expert, but wouldn’t some vegetable oil spray – PAM, for instance –have been a healthier, more effective way to keep the eggs from sticking to the grill?

Vegetarian options, for those students who don’t eat meat, are similarly swimming in grease, fat and calories. My good friend, Susan Locklear, a vegetarian, told me that when she lived in Burke last year, it was difficult for her to find a decent meal without meat.

I’ve started paying attention, and Lakeside offered vegetarians two choices yesterday for lunch: broccoli quiche and fried egg rolls. I suppose you could add a salad to that and come out at just under 800 calories.

I’m not saying I think Bama Dining has it easy trying to meet everyone’s wants and needs with on-campus food options, but they could definitely be doing much better than they are.

I’m sure many of you have noticed their “you spoke, we listened” logo on signage they have in some of the Dining Halls, but exactly who they listened to baffles me.

Over the last four years, meal plan options have been steadily eroded as dining dollar options expand to fill the gap with overpriced high-calorie fast food. Meal plans haven’t been accepted in the food court (which might be a good thing) since Fall 2007, the same year that Lakeside Dining opened. Doster Café is now closed, but Stewart’s Corner and a new Buffalo Phil’s are ready to fill the void with even unhealthier food.

Lakeside’s dramatic removal of the ever-popular greasy spoon diner last year gave way to another “you spoke, we listened” idea – Maea, which, by all accounts, was a colossal failure. (I worked there for a while last year, so I was in a position to know firsthand.)

Replacing Maea, which, despite its numerous faults, served food that could be construed as mildly healthy, is Buffalo Phil’s. If there’s anything students don’t need, it’s another place to consume greasy, fatty junk.

At any rate, I’m not writing this to lay blame for everyone’s health problems on someone else. I don’t believe in that at all. If you want to make healthy choices about what you eat, you’ll either choose to find a way or you won’t. That’s not Bama Dining’s responsibility.

They should realize, though, that, given the choice, any four-year-old would choose to eat candy every day, but their parents usually set them up to make better decisions by limiting the amount they consume.

I’m not asking Bama Dining to act like our parents, but maybe listening to – and doing exactly – what students want might not be in the best interest of the students.

Since you’re so fond of listening to students, Bama Dining, listen to this. It’s high time you make some real progress in encouraging the campus to be healthier instead of paying lip service to that end.

Help students make healthier choices by offering more healthy options for them to choose from, and stop setting us up to fail by presenting us with fried meat, butter-soaked eggs, vegetables coated in grease and the like.

It’s time you take responsibility where responsibility is due, work harder, improve and be praised in kind.

More to Discover