The SDA, which stands for Student Dietetic Association, is an undergraduate organization designed to provide opportunies for undergradutes to learn more about the dietetic profession, expand their resume, enhance their skills, and meet people with similar interests. SDAs likely exist at nearly every university with a Dietetics degree. Today I worked further on creating a toolkit, if you will, for the running of a successful SDA. It includes descriptions of executive roles in the club, ideas for fundraising opportunities, potential guest speakers’ contact information, and step by step information for setting up and participating in volunteer and service learning activities.
A large part of my undergraduate SDA-equivalent was spent volunteering in the community. I knocked on doors asking for non-perishable foods for a local food bank through “Knocking Out Hunger”. I also participated in “Kids Against Hunger” which is an organization that provides nutrient-dense packets of food to be sent to malnourished kids in the US and overseas. One of my favorite activities was working with a local girl scout troup one Saturday afternoon, helping them earn some of their badges. In order to earn their cooking badge, we showed them how to brown ground beef for sloppy joes, use a knife properly to cut up vegetables, as well as how to make brownies. The girls enjoyed the hands-on activity and I enjoyed teaching new skills to the girl scouts, as well as building my resume.
An idea I would like to see followed through with is a “$5.00 Dinner Challenge” (or even $3.00 Dinner Challenge”!) This event could take place at the Mountainlair or in the Ag Science Annex kitchen. The SDA would advertise a dinner competition that anyone can enter. What the participants need to do is register beforehand, and create a dinner dish (serving approximately 6-12 people), and send the recipe to the SDA in advance. The SDA would be in charge of creating a nutrition facts label for each dish, to be distributed at the event. Each participant would be given a template to fill out that lists each ingredient, the cost of the ingredients used, total cost of dish, and cost per serving.
The day of the event, each participant would have the opportunity to explain their dish, and judges would fill out score sheets for each dish based on nutrition, taste, cost, appearance, oral presentation, and creativity. The winners (judge’s winners & people’s choice) would receive prizes that the SDA could get donated by businesses in the community. Participants and those in attendance would also have the opportunity to sample the different dishes and pick up the recipe, cost, and nutrition fact sheets.
The goal of this event would be to encourage participants to explore inexpensive, healthy options for home-cooked meals. College students often struggle with eating healthy on a budget, with many resorting to less than healthy fast food options. When students are shown exactly how little a healthy meal can cost, are able to taste-test the dish, and can pick up recipe and nutrition fact sheets for the recipes they enjoy, they will be more likely to cook healthy meals at home without the excuse “eating healthy is expensive!”
Hopefully when this toolkit is complete, it will give the SDA the confidence to be an active, successful, and popular organization that produces top-notch Dietetics seniors that have the ability to get accepted into any Dietetic Internship they aspire to attend. Simultaneously, the community in Morgantown and at WVU will benefit from the education and service projects that the SDA provides.