Food and nutrition student group gives back

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Members of FANS, a food and nutrition group at YSU, man an informational table at the Relay for Life Youngstown 2011. (Left to right) Dorian Monroe, Elizabeth Widomski, Miranda Monroe, Anna Converse and Hanna Koscinski. Photo courtesy of Anna Brezinski.


While most groups meet in structured classrooms, Youngstown State University’s food and nutrition student group meets in a more relaxed environment — the Inner Circle Pizza on campus. 

Food and Nutrition Students, more commonly known as FANS, is a student group made up of human ecology majors and others with similar dietetic focuses. 

Group members meet once a month to discuss changes and advances in the American Dietetic Association, help one other with classes pertaining to their major and give back to their community.

“It really helps you to get to know the people in your field and to discuss things going on in the department,” YSU alumna Brooke Campana said. “I graduated with an associate [degree] in applied sciences to be a dietetic technician, so it was useful to be a part of FANS.”

FANS has approximately 25 active members. They donate time and money to different causes, including Relay for Life and Second Harvest Food Bank. The students also visit local schools to speak about nutrition and promote good health. 

This year, they are planning a candy fundraiser to help finance a trip to the Ohio Dietetic Association conference, held in Cincinnati in May. The individual members take it upon themselves to sell as many boxes of candy they can to support their trip. 

“We are supporting a local small business, and we know candy sells. Hopefully, no one eats the whole box,” said FANS President Anna Converse. “We are also selling nuts and cashews for a more healthy option.” 

The Ohio Dietetic Association conference is a two-day event where various companies, such as the American Dairy Association and the Ohio Beef Council, give presentations. Dietitians from Ohio discuss information on current dietetic topics, such as new products on the market in their field. Doctors also educate conference-goers about new medical issues in dietetics.

“It’s a really informative conference, but then they also have fun events. It’s a good way for people to network on a local and state level within the nutrition community,” Converse said.

In addition to educating students about the nutrition field and giving back to the community, FANS also helps students in their major narrow which career they would like to pursue.  

“We want to help the students become more involved in their major and their field and to stimulate their interests,” Converse said.