Last year, Deakin launched the Food Charter to guide and promote a balanced and healthy approach to food and drink across all our campuses.
Initiatives such as our composting trial at Waurn Ponds are just some of the way we’re changing the way we talk, think about and eat food on campus. There’s also our new traffic light classification system, which we’ll introduce to all food outlets, categorising foods according to their nutritional value: green is most healthy, amber is eat in moderation, and red is least healthy.
To introduce the Food Charter, we spoke to Em Massey, a Deakin graduate (Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Science and Master of Dietetics) who is working on its implementation. She is passionate about food, has some pretty handy hints for making the most out of university life, and shares the secret of the perfect Milo.
Read on and stay tuned for more ways you can lead a healthier lifestyle at uni in 2018.
Your role centres on the Deakin Food Charter – what is the Charter and how will it be implemented here?
The Deakin Food Charter is the document that now guides and informs the food offering at Deakin. It’s one of a kind and actually very cool. There are five pillars of the Deakin Food Charter: healthy, easy, sustainable, balanced and informed. It is an all-encompassing document that I am positive will change the food culture at Deakin. Through its implementation you can expect to see a healthier offering of food based on Victorian Healthy Choices guidelines and a decision support system in the form of ‘traffic light colours’ to help inform making healthier food choices both in-store and in vending machines. Beyond addressing nutritional value, the Deakin Food Charter commits to providing a food offering that reflects the cultural diversity of our staff and students, considers our environmental foot print and the accessibility of clean and comfortable spaces to eat.
Did you expect to be working for the University after graduating?
Not at all! I think when anyone typically visualises working at a university they see lecturers, tutors, the academic side of the university. I was no different. As a student you don’t really consider the 5,000 professional staff that are the reason the university functions effectively and looks so beautiful. My role is part of the Campus Services Division – this diverse team looks after the grounds, sustainability, hospitality, transport, safety and security. I work closely with the hospitality team at Deakin and as a dietitian I think this is awesome.
You haven’t started a typical dietitian’s career. What are you most looking forward to in this role?
I’m excited by the innovation and newness of this role. I’m very passionate about the work I’m doing at Deakin and I believe it has far-reaching application beyond the university. I hope that I can continue to lead by example and engage other organisations to improve the nutritional quality and culture of their food offering.
Why do you think food is so important to campus life?
Food is what fuels us, eating well allows us to function optimally both physically and mentally. Deakin is a leader in Nutrition and Health related research so it is a no brainer that we provide students and staff with a food offering that is conducive to positive health and well-being. Eating is an everyday experience that all students can relate to – a commonality that anyone can bond over. Creating welcoming, clean and comfortable food environments that support a balanced and healthy food offering enables students to sit, relax, make and consolidate new friendships.
Do you have any tips for students who want to be healthier?
This may seem straight forward but it’s as easy as planning ahead. Often when we are busy or on the run this is when we turn to less healthy options, which may seem cheap at the time, but when added together can get quite expensive! Preparing meals and taking them to uni with you, or having them in the freezer ready to go can save you both time and money while ensuring you’re eating a meal that is healthy! Everyone looks for a ‘cheat’ or ‘life hack’ when it comes to both eating healthy and saving money, but it’s as easy as being organised.
What’s your advice to other students who are nearing graduation and deciding on careers?
Deakin has opportunities and open doors everywhere, whether it’s utilising the careers service, elective placement units or simply engaging with your lecturers and tutors to clarify something you aren’t quite grasping – capitalise on the opportunities available. Having a go and seeking support when I needed it was what made my student experience so fulfilling. As for careers, consider what you think your dream job is and the skills you need to get there. Get in touch with professionals in your field, you’ll be surprised at how willing people are to help. And get in touch with yourself! Identify your strengths and weaknesses, hone in on these: improve where you can and consolidate your assets (hint: DeakinTALENT is an awesome resource). In actually applying for jobs, have an open mind and consider how each job opportunity may get you closer to your dream job or add to your skillset. Have a go at what comes your way – you’ll either find a job that you love or hate. That’s OK! Either way you continue to learn and your career path gathers momentum in the direction of your dream job.
And lastly, have you got a favourite recipe?
1 cup Milo – Milo to milk ratio 3:1!