Over the summer, Sodexo, ETSU’s new food service provider, made changes to the Marketplace and the way it functions.
Students, faculty and staff have a variety of dietary needs and preferences and Sodexo kept that in mind as they made their food choices, which included hiring a campus dietitian.
Along with making meal plans mandatory for on-campus freshmen, Sodexo extended the Marketplace hours and ensured that the health of the campus is a priority.
A love for food is one thing everyone has in common, and many are unaware that there is even a registered dietitian nutritionist on campus.
“The campus dietitian helps the culinary, management and marketing team to create a healthy and positive food environment for all students,” said Alexa Scully, ETSU’s campus wellness dietitian.
Scully is a registered dietitian nutritionist, who works closely with students and student athletes to promote a positive relationship with food, while keeping in mind the limitations and requests of those with dietary needs. She also works with disability services to ensure student needs are met.
The most common dietary needs and preferences, according to Scully, are students with food allergies and those who are vegan or vegetarian. Keeping these restrictions in mind, Sodexo has enacted a Simple Serving area in the Marketplace.
In the Simple Servings area, the food is prepared separately from all other foods. These foods are not prepared near and do not include the top allergens, as recognized by Sodexo: wheat, gluten, soy, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, cow’s milk and eggs.
Healthy, yet tasty meals for all has been another challenge facing university dining. Sodexo has implemented a program called Mindful, which showcases the healthiest options to the ETSU community. Each Mindful option has a green apple symbol marked on its nutrition label and must meet certain health criteria.
For student-athletes, there is also a program that promotes a performance plate. The performance plate uses a color-coded system to give the athletes what they need to achieve a balanced diet, that will help sustain their lifestyle.
To ensure that ETSU has appetizing food choices, testing is done through Sodexo at a corporate level, but ETSU’s certified master chef Jean-Claude Seruga performs testing of his own before implementing food into the menu.
Scully is working on strengthening partnerships with the Basler Center for Physical Activity, Student Health Services, Disability Services and the Department of Housing and Residence Life to better assist students.
“I am here as a resource and am more than willing and happy to help them,” Scully said.
Scully’s office is located in the Dining Office and her office hours are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. She encourages students to visit her or email her with any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.