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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.

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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 percent real" and that incoming freshman 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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Joining A Sorority Was The Best Choice For Me

I love you, Alpha Gam!

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Ever since high school, I never pictured myself as a sorority girl. I had always thought that it was not my type of scene and I would never enjoy it. My knowledge of sororities came from cheesy early 2000s movies so the only image I had in my head was of the stereotypical skinny, blonde, dumb girl, which was a mold that I did not fit into. Coming into college in the fall, I had thought about going through formal recruitment, but had decided that it was not for me. Once the semester had begun and I heard stories of formal recruitment, I was glad that I had not gone through it, since I believe if I did I would not find where I would want to be.

It wasn't until the Spring semester of my freshman year that I could actually see myself going into a sorority. I didn't know how informal recruitment had worked, or if I would even like anywhere, so I just put the thought on the back burner. One day I had received a text message from someone claiming they were a sister from Alpha Gam and would love to meet me and invited me to one of their events. My first reaction was complete confusion because I had never met this girl before and I had no clue how she had gotten my number, but I was willing to give it a try.

As I showed up to the house, I was so nervous since I had no clue what to expect. I didn't know anyone in the chapter and I had no clue how any of the girls were like. I walked into the house and it was so beautiful, everything looked so nice and professional, I felt like I did not know where I was. I'm shown to the kitchen where the event is happening, and I've never looked back.

Since joining Alpha Gam, I have been immersed in a group of women who will always be there with open arms. Every time I am at the house, I meet someone new and everyone has been so welcoming and they genuinely care. Since joining this chapter, I have seen so many changes in myself. I have always been a really shy person around new people, but ever since joining, I can see myself opening up more and more each day and actually being able to do things that I would never think that I could do before, and knowing that I have the love and support of so many women behind me is so crucial.

I think waiting until spring to join a sorority was the best thing that I could have done myself. You go through a less stressful process and get to actually know the members of the chapter beforehand. I can see myself changing and becoming a better person with each week and I cannot wait for the person that I will be in 3 more years!

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