On December 6, Chartwells hosted a Students’ Choice lunch event at Westhill. Posters around the school advertised the event, offering students the chance to influence school meals. On that day, during all waves of lunch, students were allowed to taste dishes, and vote “love it” or “lose it,” according to the posters.
Two main options were present at the event: bok choy and tikka masala. The base ingredient of bok choy is a variety of cabbage originating in China, whereas tikka masala is a chicken dish. Although both options received positive feedback, more students voted for the bok choy option, which is now present in the cafeteria.
This move by Chartwells was likely motivated by widespread pessimism towards school lunches. A case study by The Washington Post demonstrated that 77 percent of high school students dislike their lunch options.
“The quality of school lunch could use some improvement, especially for vegetarian options,” Jove Luna (’22) said.
The Students’ Choice lunch event aimed to bridge the divide between students and school caterers through communication. By offering students more leeway in what they can eat, students may be more satisfied with cafeteria meals.
“[The Students’ Choice lunch event] is to allow [the students] some different options for lunch,” said Dean of Students Mr. Pereira.
School lunches have not just been criticized for lack of appeal, but also for the waste they generate. Theepochtimes.com reports that around 25 to 45 percent of school lunches make their way into the trash, and according to thedailysignal.com, 75 percent of vegetables on school trays are thrown out. With student involvement in the lunch process, this waste can hopefully be avoided.
“I believe that choosing school meals is great because this limits the waste students produce from throwing away the foods they do not like. Also, students may feel more comfortable and a part of the school if they have the right to voice their opinions on things that will affect their environment in school,” Manar Deggouj (’22) said.
Kappanonline.org raises that when students are given choices, their attitudes towards school improve, allowing them to function better. This suggests that with more events encouraging student choice, school spirits would be lifted. The Students’ Choice lunch event promotes this educational strategy by involving students in school processes.