SCSD Food Committee Seeks Student Input & Action
Published on 1/9/18
District News Corcoran High School Henninger High School ITC Nottingham High School PSLA @ Fowler
Henninger junior Nolan Spears noticed that some of his classmates were skipping lunch at school. Some would roam the halls, causing disruptions, while others would leave school to go to a corner store or fast-food restaurant to purchase a meal.
“I saw this as incredibly dangerous, both for them and the school,” Nolan explained. “When the opportunity came up to join the Food Committee, I jumped at it. I saw it as a way that I could help those people stay in school and help my friends be safe. I felt obligated as a Henninger student that if there was a way to help improve my school that I should do my best and work for it.”
In partnership with ACTS Youth Council, this year, the SCSD Department of Food & Nutrition Services sought high school students with an interest in helping to improve school meals and bring change to their school. A student leader from each school helps serve as a sounding board internally, meeting regularly with his or her peers and gathering feedback.
“From my classmates, I hear common things like: the food tastes bad, it's not fresh. The portions are either too big or too small and there is usually too long of a line to bother getting food,” Nolan said. His peers have suggested a bigger variety of options for vegetarians, a staff member to ensure that food is prepared appropriately, faster or additional servers and more.
Each quarter, the student subcommittees from each high school come together as a large group to share their insight. This winter, the full committee will visit With Love restaurant and in the spring they will venture to the Dewitt Wegmans and host a pot luck dinner at one of the high schools.
The Food Committee is a true community effort, with ACTS, With Love restaurant and Cornell Cooperative Extension joining in to work as partners and answer student questions. At the first full group meeting, the group worked together to identify individual and collective action steps and a time table.
At Henninger, for instance, students on the Food Committee have been making surveys for data collection to find out from more students what they want for lunch and their suggestions for improvements. They have also been recruiting additional students who have an interest in joining the committee.
“This group is inspiring,” Rachel Murphy, SCSD Director of Food & Nutrition Services, said of the Food Committee. “This entire initiative will require change: a change in operations, mindset and student attitude toward school lunch and about foods from different backgrounds. We are very excited to move forward to transform our program!”
“I just love hearing the ways others think to solve a problem and how we can all benefit and learn from it,” Nolan added. “I expect that this program will do great things for our school's future.”
The Food Committee is one of 26 projects funded by the SCSD Educational Foundation this year. Keep up the great work, SCSD Food Committee!