Engage with Iowa State with #ISUHealthySelfie


Iowa State Daily

Healthy Dining on Campus

Kennedy Mason

ISU health services, recreation services and dining are partnering to give away free Dining Dollars for students who participate in an upcoming wave of #ISUHealthySelfie posts on social media networks.

Students can simply post pictures of themselves doing something healthy — whether it is eating an apple or working out at the gym — on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #ISUHealthySelfie. Every week, one person will win 5 Dining Dollars on a gift card.

“The goal of the campaign is to engage with students via social media and also to promote the healthy behaviors of our students by making those behaviors visible on campus,” said Brian Vanderheyden with Thielen Student Health Center.

ISU students are well-known for participating in active lifestyles and the goal of this campaign is to award healthy habits already practiced at Iowa State while encouraging others to start the journey.

“We’re trying to show balance in real life, and what that looks like for a college student,” said Samantha Boyd, communication specialist at the Student Health Center. “The feedback has been positive so far. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, I take pictures of my healthy dinner all the time,’ and I’m like, ‘Sweet — hashtag it #ISUHealthySelfie.'”

Boyd said most students are already participating in healthy behaviors while the media portrays college students as unhealthy. This is why the Student Health Center, Recreation Services and ISU Dining hope to challenge that social norm by promoting things students are already doing with #ISUHealthySelfie.

The journey starts with one photo. The photo can be of a student while working out, making a healthy meal or walking to class instead of riding the bus. 

“This school year, the nutrition education theme is balance,” said Lisa Nolting, registered dietitian with ISU Dining. “What I’m doing is each month, educating on a different component of ‘My Plate,’ the government’s health plate.”

Nolting has also created a weekly Tumblr blog to educate students on the theme during the school year. Not only is there preparation to make the dining halls healthier for students in the offices, but the kitchens have a big part in it as well.

“We are getting into more fresh vegetables, more whole grains, more portioning and balancing flavors as far as getting rid of the heavy fats like butter and margarine,” said Jeremy Bowler, who works at Union Drive Marketplace.

Not only is there awareness of the healthy options in the dining centers themselves, there’s also helpful sources online. Students can find nutritional content for their food on the ISU Dining website.

“My goal is that [#ISUHealthySelfie] will be something on our campus that people will think of when they are doing healthy behaviors,” Boyd said. “It’s going to go all year, there’s no stopping it.”

Can’t find something you were looking for or hoping the centers had?

“Just talk to someone, just ask, if you have an issue, problem, question, concern, want something, just ask somebody,” Bowler said.