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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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LIFE 101 in session

LIFE+101+volunteers+Janet+Gaytan%2C+Class+of+2018%2C+and+Mallory+Bobzien%2C+Class+of+2019%2C+talk+to+students+on+campus+about+affordable+protein+options.
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LIFE 101 volunteers Janet Gaytan, Class of 2018, and Mallory Bobzien, Class of 2019, talk to students on campus about affordable protein options.

Whether students need advice on how to freeze their meals or shop for produce, a program on campus hosts events to teach Aggies how to pursue a nutritious lifestyle.  
LIFE 101, Learning Information from Extension, is a program developed by the Texas A&M  AgriLife Extension Service’s Food and Nutrition Unit, that provides dietary knowledge to students at A&M. The program hosts one-hour events in different locations across campus and in the College Station area to discuss a variety of topics related to food and nutrition, including how to prepare a healthy meal and how to develop healthier eating patterns.
LIFE 101 started in January 2018 with the goal of increasing awareness about the AgriLife Extension Service, said Carley Carpenter, LIFE 101 Coordinator and nutritional science graduate Class of 2017. The program also began after a campus assessment revealed that food insecurity is an issue at A&M and that students are interested in learning more about budgeting, nutrition and tips for preparing quick, healthy meals.
“There are intense study classes that are related to our major, and we are very focused on that, but students go home and still don’t know how to cook a meal for themselves,” Carpenter said. “What should they do? So that’s how [LIFE 101] got started.”
Carpenter said the main event for this semester will be a discussion on how to make healthy eating more convenient. As a former student, Carpenter said she enjoys working with current students to share this information across campus.
“I get to work with college students all over campus, and we find ways to help them troubleshoot barriers that they have to feel like they can’t live a healthy lifestyle,” Carpenter said. “That’s what I love about it, just being able to help college students see something from a different perspective. Maybe they didn’t realize that they could do this at home.”
LIFE 101 events draw on evidence-based research about food and nutrition provided by the AgriLife Extension service, Carpenter said. The program works with undergraduates within the Department of Nutrition who serve as volunteers.
Carpenter uses the research to train the student volunteers and prepare them to teach the information to other students. She said this peer-to-peer education model encourages students to absorb the knowledge quickly.
“If you’re talking to a friend that says ‘oh I’ve tried this,’ or they might say ‘this is really easy,’  that might appeal to you a lot more than someone who is older,” Carpenter said. “That’s where that peer to peer model comes from is that you’re getting trustworthy information from friends.”
Nutrition senior and LIFE 101 volunteer Meghan Bauman said she heard about the program after Carpenter visited a meeting for another organization she is a part of. Bauman now works on the pop-ups team, which is responsible for creating sandwich boards with information about upcoming events and posting them throughout the university. Bauman said she’s looking forward to more LIFE 101 lessons this semester and the opportunity for more volunteer experience in the nutrition field.
“I think we focus so much on school work and organization stuff that we really don’t take the time to think about our nutrition and our health and our diet,” Bauman said. “It can impact how well we perform in school, so I think it’s very important for students to become more aware of how food nutrition and a good healthy diet can positively impact how well we do in school and how we perform.”
Nutrition senior Robin Kohnhorst said she enjoyed talking to students about how to cook healthy in a dorm room. Kohnhorst encourages students to attend LIFE 101 events to learn how to apply this information to their daily lives.
“Its quick and fun, and you get to talk to other people about it,” Kohnhorst said. “We also have recipes provided. … I think it’s a good way to kind of navigate a whole web of nutrition and fad diets and other things.”
To learn more about LIFE 101, contact Carey Carpenter at carley.carpenter.tamu.edu or find life101agrilifeextension on Instagram or Facebook. More information about the AgriLife Extension Service is available at agrilife.org.

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