E.A.T. Research Students Present at International Conference

LVC students eat breakfast together in Mund Dining Hall

Four students from Lebanon Valley College’s E.A.T. (Engage, Analyze, Transform) Research Group traveled to the University of Toronto-Scarborough in June to present their research at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS), and the Canadian Association of Food Studies (CAFS). The conference attracts nearly 400 global scholars who represent disciplines as diverse as anthropology, history, nutrition, geography, journalism, and agricultural science. 

Sean Curry ’16, Sarah DiMaggio ’17, Ryan Goernemann ’17, and Kristin Robeson ’17 were among the very few undergraduates selected to present their research alongside professional academics and graduate students. They presented their research in an organized panel titled “Transforming Student Dining Through Nutritional Interventions,” which highlighted the coordinated efforts of the E.A.T. Research Group to transform the dining experience of students on the Lebanon Valley College campus. This year, all four student projects focused on the nutritional well-being of student diners. They aimed, though various programs and interventions, to transform and shape the conditions in the Lehr and Phillips Dining halls to promote healthy eating. 

Curry’s project, “A Healthy Eating Dining Hall Intervention,” proposed improving the availability of healthy food choices in the LVC dining hall. He created a healthy eating logo to inform students regarding what constitutes a healthy food option. The successful outcome for participants in this intervention was measured as an increase in the consumption of foods that have been designated as healthy options.

DiMaggio’s project, “Eating to Perform: Improving Student-Athlete Nutrition at Lebanon Valley College,” organized a long-term plan of action that will enable the College to better meet the nutritional needs of its student-athletes. The project included focus-group research with student-athletes to identify obstacles, and consultation with Metz Culinary Management and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to propose long-term changes.

Goernemann’s “Tasting Food for a Better Tomorrow” chronicled his work as the director of LVC’s “Taste Lab,” an experimental research area where students have the ability to taste, compare, and rate foods prepared by Metz staff. The Taste Lab seeks to answer the fundamental question of how to empower student choices and preferences to ensure the food served is healthier, more sustainable, and more pleasing to students.

Robeson’s project, “Dining Hall Orientation,” proposed a new component to the traditional first-year student orientation program that occurs at the beginning of the fall semester. After conducting baseline research regarding student dining hall knowledge, she proposed a four-part orientation sequence that will introduce students to the Metz staff, educate them about the healthy and sustainable options in the dining hall, and prepare them to make better dining choices during meals.

The E.A.T. Research Group conducted its research and made the trip to Toronto due to the generous support of Metz Culinary Management, the Edward H. and Jeanne Donlevy Arnold Experiential Grant Program, and the Office of Academic Affairs. Additional information regarding each project and its results can be found at www.lvc.edu/eat.