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The Daily Tar Heel

A thought for food: More concern needed for healthy dining availability

Recent decisions to expand dining hall hours reflect student feedback and are welcome.

But they do not go far enough to address the scarcity of food options for students, especially those living on South Campus.

Other than Rams Head Dining Hall, residents have only a convenience store and Subway at Rams Head Market. Without a car, getting to Harris Teeter — the nearest major grocery store — takes two buses each way.

We are not condemning Carolina Dining Services, which has supported healthy food options and has collaborated with students on a number of occasions within its financial constraints.

For example, Rams Head Market initially opened with a broad array of fresh food, which was subsequently reduced when not considered commercially viable.

1.5.0. at Lenoir Mainstreet was opened to provide organic, locally sourced food and remains at risk if it is not more profitable soon.

But the provision of healthy food cannot be allowed to disappear just because it is currently less successful than fast food and snack outlets.

It is ironic that UNC mandates health insurance and requires lifetime fitness classes of all undergraduates but does not go far enough in changing the food culture on campus.

The current university leadership is not afraid of bold steps: UNC has committed to moving away from coal by 2020, a decision which is unlikely to save money in the short term.

In comparison, working toward the general provision of healthy food for all students is a far lesser challenge.

Stores and healthy dining options located on South Campus are not the only option.

Bus routes could be altered to make it easier for all students to reach grocery stores.

Supporting grocery delivery is another option: At the University of Michigan, a student start-up delivers groceries to students at competitive prices.

Any of these options might have an impact, and all of them should be considered. Healthy eating is far too important to be allowed to fail.

Providing nutritious food choices for all students on campus will be a challenge, but it is one to which the University must rise.

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