Student Dietetics Association feeds students nutrition and health advice

The Student Dietetics Association post-general body meeting | Photo courtesy of Starr Batts

Kaysea Suzana | Assistant Entertainment Director

If you’re hungry for nutritional knowledge, the Student Dietetics Association is at FIU to educate students in the way of healthy eating. 

In addition to events with dieticians the club also gives students a chance to grow professionally, said Yi Hao Chin, president of the SDA and senior dietetics major, in an interview with PantherNOW.

“We offer guest speaker events in which we invite dieticians or other doctors to come speak to us. And we offer volunteering events to help students accumulate hours but also to increase nutritional awareness and infrastructure in the community.”

Chin mentioned that his drive to be involved with the dietetics community motivates him to participate in the SDA.

“I wanted to be more active in my major, it’s going to be my life after all. Might as well get in tune with it before I step into the real world–there’s no harm in,” Chin said.

As an international student, Chin struggled with adapting to American life in addition to his academic and extracurricular pursuits. But after two years, he sought a leadership role in the club.

“I want to become a registered dietitian. My passion lies in cooking, but I have an interest in pediatrics and sports,” Chin said.

In Chin’s dietetic journey, he managed to even create his own cooking channel on YouTube.

Chin is supported by his fellow e-board members, such as vice president Starr Batts, who commented on her favorite part of the club.

“For me, it’s a lot of the little things. I enjoy a lot of my fellow e-board members. I love hosting events. I did a trivia night once after a meeting and it was really interesting,” said the senior dietetics major.

For Batts, the SDA is not only a club, but a gateway to higher opportunities.

“It’s through the SDA that I got my job as a eating disorder recovery coach. It’s through the SDA that I’ve gotten exposure to organizations outside FIU,” said Batts.

Batts mentioned that the SDA has helped her get in contact with the National Eating Disorder Organization as well as with Public Libraries, the latter possibly being a collaborator in health fairs for students.

Senior Dietetics and Nutrition newsletter coordinator, Marina Johnson spoke about the SDA’s signature monthly event.

“We have tours with our grocery store coordinator at Publix who gives nutritional education on food topics or how to shop,” Johnson said.

It is here that students apply their nutritional knowledge, ranging from the most nutrient-packed meals they can buy, or what ingredients are most affordable but healthy.  

Food is a big part of the equation, but equally as important is emphasizing exercise. 

“We often have social events like volleyball,” Johnson added.

But it’s not all peachy for the SDA.

“Historically, club participation has been an issue in the past,” Johnson said.

Chin also mentioned trouble with attendance and organizing workshops when members are volunteers and take as many classes as the officers.

But then we, who joined as the new e-board, had planned out how to improve the club and really bring back more community engagement,” said Starr.

However, the club has introduced a more sustainable system that tracks membership which has allowed more participation. 

“We started from the bottom in terms of people coming to our events but have been seeing this semester, more people coming to our club events,” Johnson said. “We strive to create a safe learning environment for our members and create long lasting relationships,” Johnson added.

The SDA is open to all majors– the only requirement is an interest in learning about nutrition. 

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