Mar 26, 2018 | Atlanta, GA
Georgia Tech is excited to announce the successful implementation of the three-year commitment to Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Healthier Campus Initiative. This program was designed to transform campus environments in ways that encourage and support healthier eating habits and greater physical activity which is linked to improved academic performance. Georgia Tech is one of only 21 institutions across the country to successfully implement PHA’s rigorous Healthier Campus Initiative guidelines.
The initiative was created through the office of former First Lady Michelle Obama as part of the Let’s Move! Initiative to solve the nationwide issue of obesity. On November 16, 2014, Georgia Tech teamed up with PHA to meet 23 guidelines, all with an eye toward shaping good habits for our future leaders. Over the past three years, Georgia Tech made campus wide changes such as providing healthier food and beverage options in dining venues, creating opportunities for physical activity, and offering wellness programming on campus.
During the first year of college, student obesity and overweight rates increase by more than 15%. Working with nation’s leading nutrition, physical activity and campus wellness experts, PHA created a set of guidelines to build healthier environments for college and university students. Georgia Tech dietitian Amber Johnson, who was instrumental in the initiative, said, “This accomplishment truly reflects the hard work, collaboration and dedication of many departments within Campus Services to support a healthier campus. Over the past three years, these departments worked together to implement the 23 required guidelines across campus. Our success speaks to Georgia Tech’s deep commitment to creating a culture of health and well-being for all of campus.”
One of the first action items Georgia Tech completed that qualified for the initiative was the implementation of a local food procurement program that increases the purchase of local and sustainable foods. Over 40% of the food served on campus is locally sources and 33% of our food offerings are sustainable. This led to the creation of Klemis Kitchen, a cornerstone programs of the Healthier Campus Initiative at Georgia Tech. Klemis Kitchen was made possible by the Georgia Tech Student Alumni Association’s Gift to Tech. This campus food pantry, provides free meals to college students in need. With the help of Campus Kitchens, a national effort towards student-powered hunger relief, volunteers prepare individual meals from campus dining hall leftovers. They use food that would otherwise go to waste and use it to provide meals for students at Georgia Tech. During the first semester alone this program provided 725 free healthy meals to students. This program fights hunger on the grassroots level for Georgia Tech students who are food insecure and reduces food waste on campus.
In addition to this there are several other programs that were created to reach this achievement including the creation of the Tyler Brown Pi Mile trail and tray less dining throughout campus. The habits our students develop during their time at Tech including what they eat and how much physical activity they get can last a lifetime. Our students are the leaders, entrepreneurs, parents, and influencers of tomorrow. The healthier their habits are, the healthier the future becomes. Our successful implementation of the Healthier Campus Initiative will help ensure our students have the tools they need to create these healthier habits now.