Why This Matters

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 1.17.34 PMThis problem is affecting students and how they are eating. When faced with such a controversial issue and dependence on organic foods, it is extremely difficult to make the switch over to genetically modified foods. That being said, it has caused students to reach for less healthy alternatives in hopes of avoiding GMO products. In hopes of getting a better idea as to whether or not other students felt the same as I personally do, I set up two interviews with current freshman students. Here are my findings. In a recent interview with a health fanatic freshman at Penn State, when asked what her thoughts on the food selection in East Halls was, she responds quite unhappily. Peyton Wagner tells, “I am always in such a rush! I never have time to run downtown to the local grocery store and whenever I try to be healthy by reaching for the fruit in East, I am in ultimate shock at the fact that none of the apples sold are GMO free. Not even the blueberries are organic! I live off of organic fruits and vegetables at home and this adjustment here at Penn State has been extremely difficult.” The food selection in East Halls is a big concern! GM products are taking over and have even led students to reach for rather less healthy options… Later in the interview, Peyton tells that since she is so against the use of GMOs, she has no other option but to lean toward fruit gummies, or fruit/sugar filled smoothies! This not only affects their performance in school but also their overall health! Wagner then mentions how in order to get any organic products, she must take a 40 minute round trip to McClanahan’s downtown market in order to do so. This is extremely inconvenient and can be such a waste of time, especially for those who have exams and work   to do. While Peyton’s feedback aligns with the majority of students who I have come across, I decided to interview another First Year Student at Penn State, Taylor Pomerantz, a health guru who helps others reach their fitness goals. When asked about whether or not she was aware of the use of GMO’s she tells, “I would say that most of my friends who are health conscious and aware definitely know the consequences of gmos and long term affects. None of them purchase fruit or vegetables unless organic. I have other friends though that don’t seem to mind as they are not fully aware of the damage GMOs can have on the human body.” Shouldn’t students have the say and flexibility in choosing organic over GM products? The fact that most are probably even unaware is a more concerning thought because of their consumption. Pomerantz also mentions how those who are aware of the reputation of GM products tend to reach for less healthy, but GMO-Free products in East because they do not have a choice to do otherwise. She notes that it has affected their abilities in academics, because they cannot concentrate without a proper diet, “One of my friends is always concerned about where she will eat her next meal, and if she will be able to get the proper, organic nutrients she needs to get her throughout the day. Little time is spent studying and rather focusing on getting by with her correct diet”. That being said, it has clearly affected overall performance in school as well as health of her fellow colleagues. Another instance of which I came across one who was affected academically, was while interviewing Sarah Holmes. Holmes is a freshman, from Mississippi residing in East Campus here at Penn State. “I am used to organically grown fruits and vegetables, I don’t expect everything to be what I am used to back in Mississippi, but I don’t think organic products are much to ask. It has taken a huge toll on me academically, without the feasibility of purchasing organic products at my own convenience, focusing on schoolwork has become second on my list. How am I supposed to function in school if I don’t have the energy to do so due to the unhealthy options I am provided with.” Holmes then tells how she is an engineering major, and has always been good when it came to mathematics. She explains how in the beginning of the year she relied on McClanahan’s market and was very persistent in her trips for organic finds. However, as time passed her spending cap was limited and has relied on the food paid for by her meal points in East. Ever since then, her grades have gone down significantly, undeniably claiming it was due to her unhealthy options. Isn’t the reason we come to school to learn? Why should students have to worry about their overall health when it is such a manageable problem to fix? Holmes, as well as Wagner and Pomerantz are very affected by this controversial issue. I think there is only one REAL way to go about this.

 

 

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