Readers’ Forum: No more ‘freshman 15’

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Freshman swimmer Conner Stirling eats at the Cannon Center after a practice. (Jake Taylor)

Many have heard of, seen and even experienced the infamous and seemingly inevitable “freshman 15.” Describing the trend of weight gain that seems to occur in many college freshmen, this expression is widely known and accepted as inescapable.

For BYU freshmen living in Helaman Halls, I see the reasoning behind unhealthy eating habits being traced back to a single source: the Commons at the Cannon Center. Freshmen meal plans provide more than enough food first year students could ask for. Yet, with such a large variety of food, I believe it is in the students’ best interest for the options in the Cannon Center to be healthier. 

As a resident of Helaman Halls, I oftentimes find myself overwhelmed by the options of food at the Cannon Center. The student cafeteria offers three different meal station options, along with a salad, fruit and sandwich bar. Although it is common for these meal options to be inadequate in content and even unappetizing, the real problem lies in the bottomless access to the following: soft serve ice cream, waffles, soda fountains, a slushy machine, 10 different sugary cereal options and a multitude of dessert options usually including (but not limited to) doughnuts, pies, cakes, cookies, muffins, pudding and a freezer with various frozen treats. Need I go on? 

As freshmen who are living on their own for the first time, self-control is easier said than done. With new-found freedom after moving out of home, freshmen jump to take advantage of a new life that lacks a hovering guardian. Besides, it can be hard to turn down indulgent foods when they are at your fingertips, free and unlimited.

At a school that upholds high moral values including an emphasis on their students’ health, the issue of excessive junk food at the Cannon Commons should have more light shed on it. Whether from personal experience or not, everyone can understand the “unavoidable” freshmen weight gain. Yet, I hope to show that the inevitability of the “freshman 15” for Helaman Halls residents can be minimized with an increase in healthier options at the Cannon Center.

–Eliza Hapgood

Fayetteville, Arkansas

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