by TAYLOR BRETHAUER, Staff Writer
Aside from going to class and on-campus activities, arguably the most important thing in the life of a college student is eating. With the help of Gourmet Dining’s newest team member, Rayna Herskowitz, students can focus on the healthier aspects of all things food related.
Herskowitz was hired in August as the Registered Dietitian (RD) to help students and faculty in nutrition counseling. As an RD, she’s able to help with any dietary need or topic such as eating disorders, weight loss and management, sports nutrition, diabetes, food allergies and/or intolerances. But she doesn’t just help those in need, she also can be found in Locke’s Loft or Kelly Commons putting on nutrition events with healthy eating alternatives and tips.
Herskowitz works hand in hand with Gourmet Dining and enjoys collaborating with them in order to introduce the students and faculty to new options. Her first change she wants to kickstart is a “revamped vegan/vegetarian menu.” Most of her ideas coincide directly with suggestions made by students.
“There will be more changes to come that I’m excited to share. I’m also creating new ways to provide food items for those with specific food restrictions. Of course, I’m always open to suggestions so feel free to contact me with feedback,” Herskowitz said.
In addition, to all of this, she also conducts presentation and workshop events. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend these events not only to meet Herskowitz but also to find new things that they might want brought to Locke’s Loft. The events range from fruit tastings (earlier this month, she had different types of apples available), breakfast smoothies, healthy dessert recipes and more. These alternatives could start making appearances in the Gourmet Dining menus if students respond well to them. She likes that the students teach her what is valuable to them and she can incorporate it into the programming.
“The staff at Gourmet Dining has always worked hard to provide the best options for students. I’m looking forward to continue building on what they have already accomplished,” Herskowitz said.
But why college students? Herskowitz wants to reach out to as many people as she possibly can and help meet their needs. Her colleagues feel the same way, always willing to help her out so in return she can help the students. Many students on campus need special meals for allergies or restrictive diets and as the RD, she’s able to work with the cooks to make sure everyone is accommodated.
“This may be the first time some students are choosing meals without influence of families. It can be very intimidating. In addition, some students and faculty have important dietary restrictions for medical conditions. I am able to work with them to meet their needs,” Herskowitz said.
As for her favorite meal, she states that she is a fan of the vegan/vegetarian section.
“I haven’t found one dish that I haven’t enjoyed.”