Leanne Vicente
Leanne Vicente

How My Innovative College Meals Turned into a Grad Student’s Research Project

For the past few weeks I have been posting all of my meals on Facebook. It started out innocently. One morning I had no breakfast foods in my room and no time to go the Chat and get food, so I became inventive.

First Breakfast

For breakfast I had a granola bar, goldfish, and some chocolate icing that was left over from birthday cake. After eating this well-rounded meal, I wanted people to know what college eating was all about. So I posted this meal to Facebook.

After that, I was inspired. Every meal went up on Facebook. Some of them were weird (like ham, apple sauce and pizza crusts), but the majority of them were predictable dining hall and Chat meals: sandwiches, burgers, salads, bagels, apples and an assortment of drinks. No matter what, I posted my meals every day, three times a day.

Second Dinner

I got a lot of feedback. People aggressively liked the posts and left their thoughts in comments. Kids from high school contacted me and asked why I was doing this “experiment.” I didn’t have an answer for them, but I was shocked by the response. I guess I thought that everyone would just ignore the posts and I would finish out the week and then everyone would promptly forget about them. Not so.

A few days ago, a girl that I had known vaguely from high school and the track team contacted me. She was a few years ahead of me in school and is now working on her graduate degree at University of Pennsylvania, and she wanted to know if I would participate in a project on health and nutrition for college females that she was working on.

Honors Council

All I would have to do is take pictures of what I ate every day, along with who I was dining with and where I was eating.

The moral of the story is that social media can be a positive thing. We spend hours cultivating Twitter followers when we should be writing an English essay. We stay up way too late watching YouTube videos and then, consequently, find ourselves sleeping through Calculus. Thousands of Facebook friends won’t be much help when you don’t understand the Biology homework. But social media is not all bad.

No Paninis

If I hadn’t alerted all 320 of my Facebook friends about my daily meals, my friend never would have contacted me, and I never would have known about this study. I got the opportunity to participate in something that was made possible by social media. It’s kind of crazy to think that at any moment, any little weird thing that you are doing, can actually be helpful to someone else, but it can be. And it is.

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