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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.


Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge-drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100% real" and that incoming freshmen should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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The Complete Bucket List For Summertime In Suburban Chicago

Biking, swimming, hiking and more should all be included in your summer to do list!


The final countdown to the end of the school year has begun and the light is starting to shine at the end of the tunnel. Summer is just around the corner, and if you're just as eager as I am to jump out of the classroom and into a pool, these Chicagoland summer activities are for you!

1. Head to Morton Arboretum!

If it's a little too chilly for the pool, head over to the beautiful Morton Arboretum in Lisle. With miles of hiking, a children's garden, a troll hunt, and great photo spots, it's a great way to get outside and enjoy everything that nature has to offer!

2. Enjoy The Fabyan Windmill and Japanese Gardens.

In the Batavia and Geneva area, there are two great parks right across the Fox River from each other! My family has brought our bikes to Fabyan Windmill on the Batavia side, and biked across the bridge over to the Japanese Garden on the Geneva side! You could even bike north up the Fox River Trail to downtown St. Charles. Bring a picnic, bikes, maybe even some fishing gear, and you are guaranteed to have a great day by the Windmill on the river.

3. Have some fun in the sun at Raging Waves Waterpark.

Looking for a great way to cool down? Make sure to add Illinois' Largest Waterpark to your summer bucket list! Raging Waves is my favorite water park because of the big slides, wave pool, and lazy river. Some days, you'll be waiting in line for what seems like forever, but, if you go on a cold or cloudy day the lines are nonexsistent...meaning more slides and more fun for everyone!

4. Go to a Chicago Cubs game!

Baseball is back and I am too excited to watch my favorite team, the Chicago Cubs! There's nothing better than the Wrigleyville buzz on game day as crowds pour into historic Wrigley Field, ready to cheer for their beloved Cubbies!

5. Check out some of Chicagoland's coolest Zoos.

You can't go wrong with a day at the zoo! Whether you visit Brookfield Zoo or Lincoln Park Zoo, you are guaranteed to have a wild time seeing animals from around the world!

6. Head to Sci-Tech for a day full of fun!


Rainy day? Find a local museum! Sci-Tech is a children's science museum in Downtown Aurora, so if you'll be nannying all summer like I will be, put this on the list of activities to do with the kiddos!

7. Go on a bike ride!

Hop on the Illinois Prairie Path or Lake Shore Drive to enjoy the scenery! The Illinois Prairie Path stretches from Maywood to the Fox River, so you can hop on in any town in between! Or, if you're in Downtown Chicago, rent a Divvy Bike and ride along the lakefront trail for beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the Skyline.

8. Venture off to Starved Rock State Park

Voted the "#1 Attraction in the State of Illinois" this is one location that you have to visit! Between the trails, waterfalls, historical activities, and even some children activities, Starved Rock is perfect for all ages!

9. Go Mini-Golfing!

If you don't feel like hopping into the pool, or maybe it's cool and cloudy, take up a game of golf...or mini golf...or disc golf! If you're in the suburbs of Chicago, you can find great deals and Groupons for mini golf at Wilderness Falls in Bolingbrook, Lost Mountain in Woodridge, or Coyote Crossing in West Chicago! Or, if you're looking for some disc golf, Knoch Knolls in Naperville has an 18 "hole" course.

10.  Spend a day in Chicago!

After spending a summer in suburbia, you may want to spend a day in the bustling City of Chicago. You could go on an architecture tour down the Chicago River, visit the "Bean" at Millenium Park, go shopping on Michigan Ave, and ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

I am so excited to head home for the summer and enjoy everything Chicagoland has to offer. Even with online summer classes, it is important to take some study breaks and get outside and explore everything around you!

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