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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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September 21, 2023

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Let them eat carrots

There are many things at the University that I find to be just a little bit repugnant. For instance, watering dead grass, horrible parking and canceling the Greek language program.

My concern is greatest, however, with how the University allows students to spend their money. BGSU, like other schools, requires most students to get a meal plan. Ensuring that students have some sort of access to food in attending a university is a very positive step, and I applaud this system.

The potential to do good with a meal plan, especially at a state university, is tremendous. If you wished it, you could force eateries to serve nothing but healthy foods, you could stop serving soda and certainly put a stop to the baristas selling coffee at $5 a cup. The entire University could be making positive steps toward Americans’ healthy futures by forcing students to eat healthfully.

Of course, this is little more than a pipe dream, being the last way an institution in our political system would want to behave. Not only would such a move be undemocratic, but the government would be taking away your right to choose what you want to eat. By God, we’re American, and if we want to eat Twinkies, ho-hos and any other ridiculous Little Debby snack cake we will!

Somewhere along the lines, American society decided taste trumps all other factors when it comes to food and drink. Thenceforth, food-selling practices have reflected that philosophy. And millions of Americans in our present generation are now reaping the fruit of that decision: Obesity, high rates of diabetes and my personal favorite: eating disorders.

The potential for the government to ensure a healthy future for students is huge. And maybe even Bowling Green had the intention to make a positive effect; however, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Back in the real world, a recent edition in meal plan politics has me a bit confused as to the democratic nature of dining services. We agreed, as mocked earlier, that we were going to have choice be our first concern regarding the food sold on campus. Belay the healthy option, give the students choice!

And we all know what students choose. In fact, five years ago, if you set out a salad bar of 20 or so choices of food, and let the market choose how items like pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, burritos and salad are to be distributed, I guarantee salad would not have received 1 percent of the salad bar.

This whole process is decided through market transactions. How do we know what people want? Well, what are they buying? That is to say, that in order to have a voice in the market system, you have to buy things. And if the University is not making a profit off of salads, it stops selling them.

The latest move in eatery politics, however, has my attention regarding the issue of choice and food. Having thrown out the roll-over plan for meal plan money. Essentially, whatever you gave the University for food, they get to keep, even if you don’t spend it.

Whatever the incentive for doing this, the plan works to reward the University no matter how they handle the future of dining services. Should the University decide to get rid of the vegetarian alternative, which has given us such wonderful products like the fried macaroni bar, there is no mechanism for students to voice their opinions.

For instance, should the University do something so insidious, how could you tell them that you didn’t like it? Well, with any other business, you and a group of others need only to stop buying the products of the place upsetting you. If the business stops making profits, then they will realize that whatever they did to upset its customers was a bad idea. But how can you do that to dining services?

If dining services keep your money at the end of the year anyway, then there are no lost profits. The University, at the beginning of every semester, knows precisely how much money it is receiving. Because they have already received all of the money they are going to for the semester, the University does not have to pay attention to those things that every other business has to. For instance, what consumers want. To their credit, though, they also don’t have to advertise.

Such an anti-democratic idea can have positive effects, however. As I stated in the beginning of my column, the allocation of healthy foods comes about only when you don’t pay attention to demand. Far fewer people would choose salad over pizza.

I hope the University, with its newfound power, uses it benignly to strengthen the influence of healthy foods on campus.

Send comments about this column to [email protected].

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