The University of Virginia recently launched a new campaign against obesity, headed by the Newcomb Dining Hall. Known as “Newcomb” by students, the dining hall has severely reduced rations of food given to students. Its tradition of Wing Wednesdays now includes two wings per student, back from the normal serving size of six, in an effort to promote mindful eating.
Newcomb has also purposely reduced the flavor and quality of its food in this effort. The dining hall has sternly limited the use of salt and seasoning on its main menu options in order to reduce sodium intake of students, as well as replacing chocolate soft-serve with watered-down peach frozen yogurt.
A Newcomb worker commented on this new campaign, stating that “by subtly replacing good food with worse-flavored and less-seasoned substitutes, we are doing our part to help our students make healthy decisions.” She went on to say that “reducing the amount of food we give to each student is also important” in reference to the University’s new policy regarding Wing Wednesday.
Students at the University have yet to release a statement, but the new campaign has been received with mixed reviews. “I, personally, am happy to receive a toddler’s serving size,” said one student on Monday, adding that “it reminds me to eat mindfully.” Another student commented that he was very frustrated with the new health campaign, noting that “the food tastes how I would expect cow vomit to taste.”
The University has not issued an official announcement regarding its campaign against obesity, nor explained its decision in light of the low percentage of obese students, but it is expected that UVA President Jim Ryan will comment during his next “Run With Jim” event— a weekly ritual where students are invited to join him on a run.
The campaign will continue to increase its efforts in the coming weeks, including prohibiting all spices and condiments from the dining halls. Newcomb will also require that students receive no more than 200 calories per plate, enforced through continued reduced serving sizes.