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Promoting Well-Being & Community Through A Cafeteria: A Photovoice Project

Promoting Well-Being & Community Through A Cafeteria: A Photovoice Project


This Photovoice was constructed by Dr.
Rachel Hershberg’s Community Psychology Research and Action course. Photovoice is
participatory action research methodology based on the understanding
that people are experts of their own lives. As a class we chose to focus on
improving well-being on campus by providing healthier options, which we
defined in a variety of ways. A group of 13 UW students identified the issues in
our direct community on campus. We captured images of strengths and areas
of improvement within our community related to this topic. the students took
into consideration the code of ethics in photographing images of well-being
on campus and were also instructed in how to take compelling photos. We use the
SHOWed method developed by public health researchers Caroline Wang and Mary Ann
Burris, to analyze our images by answering the following questions: What
do we see? What is really happening? How does this relate to our lives? Why does
this problem or strength exist? What can we do about it? This was used to create a
safe space to prompt discussion and strive to generate changes in our
community. A variety of pictures were taken and through our analysis, we
identified three main themes that reflected our shared concerns.
These include rest areas, safety, and nutrition but there was a
strong emphasis on a cafeteria being an essential part to our community’s well-being. Several of us photographed the vending machines on campus which are nice when people want to grab a quick
and more readily available snack or drink but, as we can see when you look at
this picture, not a lot of healthy options are available in this vending
machines. We need healthier options in the vending
machines as well as on campus. In terms of healthier options off campus, even the smoothies we can purchase at Senergo for seven dollars each. Here is a map
with all the restaurants near campus, with prices added drawing from the
online menus. The cheapest food is the major chain Subway with sandwiches
costing eight dollars and a meal at the Hot Rod Dog is for six dollars. The other
two lowest price places are Senergo and a bubble tea shop. When considering
options for a student to grab a quick lunch while on foot, keeping the total
under two hundred dollars per month becomes very difficult. Making healthy
snacks and meals more affordable on campus, and reducing the cost would make
our day-to-day experiences of school more affordable and help us live a more
balanced and healthier life. These are pictures of a cafeteria at another small
campus in the area- Green River Community College in Auburn, Washington. When we
discussed this photo, we talked about how if a cafeteria was available on our
campus, it would supply students with lots of opportunities such as employment,
low cost healthier eating options, and as well as a social gathering space for
students, which would allow for more unity within our community. When we
walked around campus we identified several occasions where a cafeteria
might be a good addition. The TPS building is a beautiful new
space that can be utilized as a working cafeteria with lots of excellent seating
opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff, which could bring our diverse
communities together. Where do you eat now on campus? Just in this store
basically nowhere really else or I’ll eat poke on Pac Ave or anything there. So, where do you eat now? Manly here. Yeah actually just here. (Laughs) Do you eat at any of the restaurants on Pac Ave? Yeah mostly just the pho, poke, and Jimmy johns How do you feel about the eating options on campus? Umm, I’m not to knowledgeable about it. I don’t usually go to a cafeteria. I pack my own lunch. How do you feel about the eating on campus? About the opportunities we have? Well I mean I’m thinking it’s a result of our campus being small, lack of options. But I know that a lot of students struggle with food insecurity
as well, so it brings a bigger issue. I think there is definitely a need for change and development, in that sense. How do you feel about the eating on campus? I feel like there is not enough options for students. I think that this is really where everyone comes to get snacks but other than that it’s basically it for the school. How do you feel about the eating options on campus? I wish we had more, like desperately.We have really nice quick stuff, so the local hotdog
stand is pretty quick. Jimmy John’s is really fast but then we don’t have
a good array of different types of foods. I would like to see an Asian food place, a
Mexican food place. So I’d like a cafeteria option. Would you use a cafeteria on campus? Yeah I think everyone would. Would you use a cafeteria on campus if there was one? Yes, yeah Would you use a cafeteria on campus if there was one? Yeah Would you use a cafeteria on campus if there was one? Umm, yeah. I would stop in, if it was less than ten bucks. You know, I’d go maybe once a week and cut back on packing lunch. Would you use a cafeteria on campus? Oh yeah definitely. Yeah even location wise I wouldn’t mind, I would make the walk. As an
Urban-Serving University with a diverse student body, and the campus of the
University of Washington, it is important for us to lead by example. University of
Washington Tacoma already devotes energy to social justice causes such as
LGBTQ rights, racial justice, immigration rights, and socioeconomic
discrimination, with the Center for Equity and Inclusion, and with the
University of Washington Tacoma’s Commitments to inclusive teaching. Our
University is also thought of by the student body as making great strides to
improve the well-being and achievements of students and our communities more
broadly not only on campus but wherever a University of Washington Tacoma grad
makes a home. The University of Washington Tacoma has made a commitment
to making these goals a reality by being a member of the Coalition of Urban
Serving Universities, whose mission revolves around the statement of,
“anchoring the community.” These access driven frameworks align
with the values that are emphasized in the field of community psychology and
within our community psychology research and action course. Although we
are grateful for all we have here, we hope we have made an impression about
what needs are not being met within the student community at the University of
Washington Tacoma. No one should have to eat unhealthy or not eat at all because
of the difficulties finding a nutritional and affordable meal on
campus. All of the prospective and current students in our community
should have the opportunity to succeed, not just achieving an education, but
experiencing health and well-being on a daily basis. We think a cafeteria may
bring us closer to reaching this important goal. Thank-you for watching our film.

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