By ZACH WOHLEKING
Here at UMW we are given a plethora of options to choose from in terms of what we can eat. The University Center and the Nest provide students with a good variety of options and for the average student in the administrations eyes, it is good enough. What about our athletes? The Mary Washington student athlete population makes a good chunk of the student body, especially if you include the countless other students that do club sports and partake in strenuous exercise daily.
For these students, their daily consumption of food may vary from the average student viewed by the school. Also for these students who continually do strenuous exercise, the food options offered at the school may not be enough to satisfy their needs. When asked, several student athletes confirmed that the University Center does not fulfill them nutritionally.
“No, Simple Servings is the only station that is consistently healthy and allows me to get the nutrients and protein that I need, but it is not always enough,” said Kenyon Huber-Wilker, a student athlete on campus.
Simple Servings seems to be the best option with athletes schoolwide.
“Simple servings is a great after workout choice when it comes to UC food, I get it pretty frequently after I lift. The issue I have with it is that there’s just not enough variety on a daily basis, if we had more options available at the station I’d probably eat there almost every day,” said senior business major and men’s basketball president Terrin Dickerson.
The common consensus seems to be that healthy food options are a popular choice with athletes who eat at the University Center. This trend of demand for healthy food seemed to be the norm among many of the students. Most seemed to prefer simple servings and the salad bar of the University Center over everything else. If this is what our student athletes prefer, the university should make a conscious effort as a school to try and cater more to this large portion of our students.
With limited access to healthy options and the inconsistency of the Simple Servings section, it is clear that there is not enough for athletic individuals to eat the way their lifestyles require. Especially for our collegiate athletes, who must consume a large amount of calories in a day.
As a school, we should want these athletes consuming 2000 plus calories of healthy options instead of most of what is currently offered by the school. This is not a new idea, students have been advocating for healthier options at this school ever since the University Center was built. This perspective however, does not seem to garner all that attention very often. Our student athletes are big representatives of our school, the university should be aiding these athletes to be in the best shape they can possibly be in to go out and compete at the highest level. Studies have proven that food consumption is one of the biggest parts in the contribution to athlete development.
If we want our school to be top tier in terms of athletics we need to pay attention to things like nutrition. Diet has been proven to be a key factor in how athletes perform, train, build muscle and feel throughout their day. It is even more important with our high intensity and high endurance athletes like our swimmers and cross country runners. The impact of diet on our collegiate athletes may be underplayed at this school, and it is something to consider by the administration and athletic department. Again, this is an issue that has been brought up before, but this perspective may not have ever been considered, the impact of food on our student body should not be undervalued.