Article by: Claire DeMenna, President of SDA, Senior of Nutrition & Dietetics
Immaculata University’s SDA is a group of traditional and non-traditional undergraduate nutrition students that spread the information of health throughout the campus and community. SDA is its own entity; however, we are connected with other groups and have subsections to our organization. The affiliations and groups are the following: NEFA, Muddy Macs, Food Cupboard, and The Body Project.
Nutrition Education for Athletes (NEFA) is a new program that aims to provide nutrition education and counseling for university athletes. Undergraduate nutrition majors have the opportunity to be involved in the education and able to observe counseling sessions provided by a sports certified RDN. NEFA education utilizes both in-person team sessions and Instagram to provide education on pertinent topics. The NEFA program was started in fall 2018 and is currently conducting a research study on the impact of nutrition education on the dietary habits and nutrition knowledge of student athletes. While the main education focus of NEFA in 2018-2019 is the women’s basketball team, the program will open up to all sports teams and athletes starting in fall 2019.
The other group that has started this year is The Body Project. Immaculata received a free education from The Body Project team to learn about how to create a educational program at Immaculata for women who are struggling with appearance ideals or body image. All of the data collected from the sessions would go back to The Body Project to add to their collection of data of how to help prevent eating disorders from occurring in young people.
As for the Food Cupboard, this is something that the SDA has only started to get involved in this year. The Food Cupboard is located on Immaculata’s campus and is for everyone that is in need of food. The university recognized a need within the student body and started the IU Cares Food Cupboard. We prepare simple nutrition tips and tricks to make use of what foods are provided to make them more nutritious. The other group we are involved with is the Muddy Macs and they are a gardening club with a heart for service. All of the produce grown in the green house and garden beds are donated to our local food bank, Chester County Food Bank.
The events that we have done are pumpkin painting, NEDA Walk, and now The Body Project. For the past three years Immaculata’s SDA has participated in the NEDA Walk to support eating disorder awareness and treatment. Each year, we as a organization host a pumpkin painting event to support the message “beauty comes in all shapes and sizes”, which is displayed at the walk. As mentioned before, The Body Project has only started this past year, but we will hold sessions to educate Immaculata’s community of appearance ideals and how they are affected by them.