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August 18, 2014 | by  | in Opinion VUWSA | [ssba]

Rick Zwaan | Vice-President (Welfare)

Like many people, I like food. I feel great when I eat well, and shit when I don’t (which, realistically, is more often than not). Some weeks, it feels like I basically live on takeaways, and some weeks I’m eating toast because I can’t afford anything more than that. Talking to students, it seems like this is a common trend: lots of the time, we think we can’t afford or don’t know how to eat healthily. That, and that we’re too lazy to bother cooking (that’s me, anyway).

When we don’t take time out to cook and eat healthily, we don’t give our minds time to unwind, and that can compound the stress we’re already facing. Eating a good meal with good friends is a fantastic way to relax, but we live and study in a place that tells us we should be constantly on the go.

Luckily, VUWSA’s here to help! Stress Free Study Week is a great example of making food accessible and cheap (or free) for students. Every trimester during study week, we put on breakfast and lunch for free for hundreds of hungry students at Kelburn, Te Aro and Pipitea. The feedback we get from this is overwhelmingly positive, and it feels great to be able to help out students in any way we can in such a stressful time. It was fantastic to see people sitting around eating delicious soup and enjoying each other’s company, and it provided a nice break from study.

Unfortunately, not every week is Stress Free Study Week. What happens every other day of the trimester? Krishna is great for lunch, and healthy too, but what about the days we can’t afford that? And what about dinners? One cannot live on two-minute noodles alone.

Good news: there is a yet-to-be-named food co-op springing up on campus. It’s a phoenix rising from the ashes of Gecko, the environmental group, and is looking to completely change the way we think about and consume food. Through bulk-ordering systems of organic food and shared cooking classes, it will be a way for students to make easy, cheap and ethical choices about what they’re eating, as well as being a way to bring lots of people together to learn how to make great simple meals. That’s exactly the kind of initiative VUWSA wants to get behind. If you want to get involved, get in touch and we’ll make it happen.


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