OSU gives students access to free nutrition services

Slides with information from Oregon State University’s Student Health Services nutrition website outline on campus nutrition information. Students are also encouraged to teach themselves about nutrition to support their own success.

Riley LeCocq, News Contributor

Oregon State University provides students with free nutrition resources through clubs, classes and on-campus dining, but students are also encouraged to teach themselves about nutrition to support their own success.

Studies have shown college students on average struggle to obtain the proper nutrients and sufficient amounts of food despite nutrition being essential to student success. 

David Dallas, an assistant professor in nutrition at OSU, notes there is a wealth of nutrition information available but it is not always factual. 

Dallas recommends that all students take education about nutrition into their own hands, whether that be through taking a class if possible or utilizing the university’s on-campus resources. 

One of these resources is OSU’s Student Health Services’ free appointments with a registered dietitian. According to the nutrition page on their website, these services focus on nutrition, physical activity assessment and self-guided goal setting. The dietitian will not ask students to make changes they do not seek themselves, but rather help organize students’ goals into small, measurable and attainable objectives.

“I would highly regard the nutritionist on campus as a great resource… it was so easy to set up an appointment,” said Tana Blodgett-Roush, the public relations officer for OSU’s nutrition and dietetics club. 

Blodgett-Roush, a pre-dietetic student, said they are aware of the importance of proper nutrition in student life and the importance of being able to access credible information. 

“It is very difficult to perform at your best if you do not have the bare minimum given,” Blodgett-Roush said. 

According to Blodgett-Roush, there are other ways beyond SHS of accessing reliable general nutrition information on campus as a service designed specifically to help students. 

University Housing and Dining Services offers one-on-one counseling with its registered dietitian as well as menus curated with nutrition in mind thanks to their in-house team. 

“The nutrition team works closely with the UHDS culinary team to ensure that restaurant and cafe menus are balanced and cater to a variety of dietary concerns or preferences,” said Kerry Paterson, the director of residential dining and catering. “They screen our food supply for allergens and tag the allergens within our menu system.”

In addition to personalized counseling and nutrition-conscious menu creation, UHDS also looks to teach students more about how to make the right choices for themselves and lead their healthiest lives possible.   

Throughout the year, the nutrition team hosts events to educate students such as general tips to find what food choices are best for their environment, specific advantage nutrients or even cooking classes centered around creating a well-rounded meal. 

Paterson said the university is aware of how important these resources are to student success. 

Paterson said for many college students, this is the first time they will be making independent meal selections and nutritional decisions. The university knows how this process can be overwhelming and, as a result, has attempted to make it simpler with labels inside of all dining centers.  

“There is just so much that we don’t know, there is tons and tons of room for learning about nutrition,” Dallas said. 

Blodgett-Roush’s personal hope is for the nutrition and dietetics club to provide a one-stop-shop hub of nutrition support on campus for students to clearly view and easily access. 

UHDS is actively working to add a new registered dietitian to their staff as the acting dietitian transitions to work for Corvallis Public Schools. SHS also continues to support these nutrition initiatives through their own hiring efforts as the university prioritizes student health and success.