SGA senate continues debate for healthier food options to be available to students

Chandra Kethi-Reddy addressing Senate on healthier meal options for students.

At the senate meeting on Thursday, healthier food options on campus were debated in order to accommodate students who have dietary restrictions, such as vegans, vegetarians and those with certain religious values.

The senate voted on the ability to have Fleet Farming open farms on campus, which will provide the goods to Aramark in order to have the food needed to feed those students with dietary restrictions.

Fleet Farms grow foods that don’t include pesticides and fertilizers to maintain an organic growth. The growth of the food also is located within five miles of the place that it is sold and consumed therefore eliminating the amount of emissions and fossil fuels used.

With Fleet Farms students will be able to maintain their healthy eating lifestyle while also doing a service to the environment.

Currently, the university has limited food options for students with dietary restrictions, vegans, vegetarians and those who limit what they can eat due to religious values.

“This is not affecting any student negatively,” said Camila Murphy, a senator for the College of Medicine. “What we’re promoting here is that we’re supporting students that because of their religion, that because of their dietary restrictions or because of some illness that they have, we’re supporting them.”

Chandra Kethi-Reddy, senator for the College of Arts and Humanities, spoke on behalf of these students to defend this bill that was proposed by Emilia Kosonen, activism director for the Body of Animal Rights Campaign.

At the previous senate meeting, Kethi-Reddy addressed the main problems with not having healthier meal options for students.

“If you take care of the basic needs of students, they will do extraordinary things,” Kethi-Reddy said about their performance in the classroom and other activities.

Kethi-Reddy plans on notifying Aramark of a media event she will host where media outlets from the university, city and state will be invited to in order to spread the awareness, get their attention and have a talk with them on ways to solve the problem Kethi-Reddy said.

The target audience are the students who regularly come to UCF’s main campus. Of these students, many are freshmen who live on campus and have purchased meal plans.

“I think it’s fantastic that they’re coming up with other ideas for these freshmen who have no other options and either can’t afford to cook for themselves or they can’t cook a reasonable meal out of a microwave,” said Sierra Scott, a senator for the College of Health and Public Affairs.

A study provided by SGA showed that 49.3 percent of students have dietary restrictions and 73 percent of students believe that UCF dining halls don’t provide enough variety to accommodate the dietary restrictions. This study was compiled by the Student Body Advocacy Committee of SGA during the first two months of the semester.

“How can we claim that inclusion is one of our core principles if we don’t even include 49 percent of students in our consideration of what food is available to the students who live here and who eat here and who traffic this campus,” Kethi-Reddy said.

The university has a collective impact strategic plan where five key elements are laid out to support a 20-year goal for UCF.

According to these key elements, a goal is to “make UCF a magnet for the best and brightest talent across the nation and globe.”

The senate voted 40-0-0 in favor.