9.10.18

COMPARE AND CONTRAST.

I don't know if anyone at the Northern Star reads Cold Spring Shops, but you don't need my background in political economy to recognize a troubling pair of stories.  First, there's the way the university serves the general population of students.
Located in various spaces throughout the Chick Evans Field House, the Huskie Food Pantry operates from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays throughout the academic year and twice a month during the summer. The service is open to all NIU students without meal plans.

Jennifer Van Ewyk, Huskie Food Pantry coordinator and assistant director for volunteerism through Student Involvement and Leadership Development, said recent changes within the Division of Student Affairs have prompted the food pantry to expand operations further.

“In the future, as space allows, we would love to have a more private space,” Van Ewyk said. “There’s a lot of stigma associated with using a pantry. One of our goals is to move into the Holmes Student Center once they’re done with renovations.”

Van Ewyk said in order to streamline operations and continue operating independently from university funding, the Huskie Food Pantry hopes to promote monetary donations among students. The pantry is currently partnered with the Northern Illinois Food Bank, which helps local pantries buy food staples and produce at discounted prices. With monetary donations, the Huskie Food Pantry can get the most value for the items it buys.

Van Ewyk also said more universities nationwide are beginning to embrace on-campus food pantries. With NIU’s efforts to combat food insecurity, she said the push is in context with a national movement.
I'm not sure how to square that "operating independently from university funding" with operating out of university spaces, whether at the former fieldhouse, the student center, or a less visible location.

Meanwhile, there are no such qualms when it comes to nutrition coaches.
Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier announced NIU will create the Northwestern Medicine Performance Center. The project to build the performance center will turn the existing weight room in the Yordon Center into a full-service sports performance area, including a nutrition center.

Frazier said gaining or increasing NIU’s competitive edge pertaining to the retention and recruitment of student athletes was a significant reason for the creation of the performance center. He said the Huskies want to recruit top student athletes and have to up their game to “keep up with Joneses” and fulfill their goals.

“It’s about recruitment of top-level Football Bowl Subdivision athletes,” Frazier said. “You separate yourself when you have a situation where you can bring in a student-athlete who is exceptional of what he or she does in that particular sport into a situation when you can have them condition at a high level, eat, develop physically and mentally and be able to do that and sustain that.”

Frazier said the performance center is going to change the dynamic of the young athletes who enter the NIU program. Brad Ohrt, director of Sports Performance, said he thinks this project is necessary for the recovery aspect of a student athlete’s workload.

“We went back after the 2016 season with football, took a look at our injuries, weight loss issues and performance, and it was a hard evaluation where we were in 2011-13 when we were doing a better job of feeding and taking care of our kids from a football standpoint,” Ohrt said. “That had fallen off during 2014-15, and I think it reared its ugly head and cost us in 2016. We turned around and we changed in the offseason of 2016, made some moves in 2017 and here we are in 2018. You have to learn from some of the things you’ve been through.”
You get into a positional arms race, there will always be some Jones to keep up with.

Didn't I correctly anticipate the spin on making sure the footballers don't suffer from food insecurity? "I fully expect the university's Morale Conditioners to note that it's all donated money."  Yup.
Frazier said the facility would not come to fruition without the generosity of Northwestern Medicine and the donors. He said the project was 100 percent privately funded and donations the athletic department has received are worth more than half a million dollars.
In this instance, about a quarter of a million dollars in internal improvements.  It doesn't take a Ph.D. in economics, or a CPA, something the university is still good at producing, to understand that money is fungible.

I fully expect Northern Star writers to follow up on both these stories.

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