As the Albion College community (hopefully) knows, the “Year of Wellness” is up and running. All students may not whole-heartedly embrace it, but the effort put into this initiative is far more impressive than last year’s attempt at sustainability.
One can simply compare what has happened to our food and campus involvement in order to see the improvements.
Baldwin seems to be the place where the theme years are most obvious. Take last year for example: food was predominantly supplied by Gordon Food Service, a source considered “local” because it’s a Michigan company. But where does the food they provide originally come from?
Also, what happened to the tray-less initiative? It was hardly enforced, as trays were still available for use. What’s even worse is that the whole idea was just dropped with the end of the year.
Lack of effect last year can be somewhat forgiven however, when the new dining service is considered in this “Year of Wellness.” Bon Appétit uses multiple local farms to supply our meals, and they advertise it on the monitors and chalkboard so students are aware of their efforts. Some of the meat may still be supplied by GFS, but since the beginning of the semester the search for a local meat supplier has been underway. Choosing this company as a food provider was a very commendable action by the College.
The subject of food/Baldwin could be expounded on further, but the Year of Wellness has proved its superiority over the Year of Sustainability in other areas of campus life.
To find examples of positive campus involvement, just scroll through the Albion Today. Recently offered, the Wellness Panel saw faculty and staff sharing their “wellness stories” – a great way for all campus residents to personally connect.
The Wellness Fair also drew in many students and helped to raise awareness about the all-encompassing “Wellness/Athletics Program.”
The only thing that doesn’t seem to have a successful future is the current “100,000,000 Step Challenge.” In the last three days, only 14 people have logged steps on the website. This kind of initiative was fun in middle school when you had a clip-on monitor and wanted to compete with friends, but as a college student, motivation isn’t that simple anymore.
This year’s initiatives do seem more substantial than the previous attempts, specifically the recycling bins.
A fundamental part of being “earth-friendly,” the encouragement to reduce waste has been forgotten. With the end of the Year of Sustainability, we can apparently stop caring about what we contribute to landfills.
Does this mean that when the Year of Wellness ends, we can go back to eating processed food and disregarding physical exercise? We’ll find out in the fall of 2012, but so far this theme seems to be holding its own.