Health and Nutrition Educator Cheryl Brock, RD, LDN, wants to help students become “the healthiest versions of themselves” by providing a comprehensive program of free resources, coaching, and counseling services to encourage them to make good choices and develop nutrition habits for lifelong health.
Brock joined the Health Services team in September, and has been concentrating on spreading the word about the program. Her goal, she says, is to make sure students know she and the nutrition education program are available, and that they feel comfortable reaching out.
She has begun her efforts by working on collaborations with influential people and groups, including athletic coaches and staff, resident assistants, counseling services and more – “force multipliers” to help make sure students know about the myriad ways they can benefit from nutrition counseling.
Nutrition program funded by generous gift
When Richard Leto ’73, and his wife, Bonnie, saw an opportunity to contribute to Bryant University’s emphasis on health and fitness as an important aspect of a well-prepared and equipped student, they made a generous gift to fund a nutrition education program.
The Letos’ donation funded the Health and Nutrition Educator position at the University, along with a program to integrate nutrition education and counseling into important functions at Bryant, including Counseling Services, Athletics, Dining Services and more.
Hundreds of students have already taken advantage of the nutritional counseling services offered since the program kicked off in 2017, reports John R. Saddlemire, Ed.D., Bryant’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. The students have received support for everything from food allergies, to eating disorders, to improving their individual athletic performance.
“College is a place where young people develop lifelong habits,” Saddlemire says. “The Letos’ generous gift is a reflection of their belief that early education is critical to helping students maintain a wise, balanced, and healthy relationship with food.”
“Every day I’m on campus, someone new is reaching out to schedule a consultation.”
A former Division I volleyball player herself, Brock says she understands all too well the pressures and demands on high-performing college students, and enjoys being able to help them find effective ways to balance it all.
“Every day I’m on campus, someone new is reaching out to schedule a consultation,” Brock says, adding that students are spreading the word among their friends, roommates, and teammates. “It’s gratifying to see the word spread, and it’s a testament to the importance of this position and resource on campus."
In addition to the growing number of one-on-one consultations, hundreds more students have attended nutrition talks to sports teams, dorm residents and resident assistants, sororities and other groups, helping raise awareness among students about how important a healthy mind and body are to their success and overall well-being.
New publications and brochures are helping students learn everything from nutrition information about the foods they eat, to understanding more about eating disorders and how to get help. Healthy eating tips, and even “healthy eating tours” of Salmo are helping students make wise choices.
A little over a year into the program, the Letos’ forward-looking gift is already yielding results campus-wide, helping grow strong, healthy students with nutrition habits that will set them up with a foundation for lifelong success.