SDSU student organization hosts event to fight childhood obesity

by Alissa Kasawdish, Staff Writer

It’s easy to neglect a gym membership and a healthy diet as a busy college student, but the Student Nutrition Organization at San Diego State can help students live a healthier lifestyle.

“Our goal is to provide education, volunteer opportunities and community improvement and involvement to our members,” said Jennifer Axford, foods and nutrition senior and president of SNO.

From 7-10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, SNO is hosting its third annual Kids Eat Right Dinner Gala and Silent Auction at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park to raise awareness for childhood obesity.

“There were about 100 people the first year, 180 people last year and we are shooting to make it even bigger this year,” marketing senior Michelle Mamczak said.

It will include a gourmet dinner of vegan, gluten-free and sustainable food choices. The silent auction proceeds will go to the Kids Eat Right foundation.

SNO is open to all students at SDSU. There are currently 187 members from a range of majors.

“It is not only aimed at nutrition majors,” Mamczak said. “It is aimed at a healthy lifestyle, but it also aims at anyone who is interested in nutrition and health overall.”

Mamczak has actively been involved with SNO for three years and has been an officer for two years. She first heard about the organization through a friend and knew she made the right decision when she decided to join.

“I quickly realized SNO worked a lot within the community and you didn’t have to be a specific major for that,” she said.

It wasn’t long until Mamczak became the marketing and media manager of SNO.

The organization hosts many different events to bring members together, such as group hikes, runs, breast cancer walks and gardening events.

“These are really fun ways to get people to come together and be more active,” said Sandy Younan, foods and nutrition senior and SNO secretary.

Younan admires the organization and its values.

“I got involved in the organization because of everything it stands for,” she said. “It stands for serving the community, educating people on nutrition, participating in philanthropic causes and helping SNO members obtain more exposure to dietetics and gaining experience in the field prior to applying for internships or jobs.”

Younan not only wants to gain personal experience through SNO, but she also strives to help other members get involved with diverse opportunities in the field.

Arda Buyuktimkin, foods and nutrition senior and SNO health and fitness liaision, runs other activities for members. She hosts weekly workouts, such as yoga classes.

“I also have a basketball boot camp coming up to show members they can make working out fun,” Buyuktimkin said.

Buyuktimkin is hosting the basketball boot camp later in the fall semester.

There are many different aspects in which students can get involved, such as cooking classes and study sessions to reach out to more students and help them in different ways.

“We also inform our members of job opportunities that come up in the field of nutrition or health and research studies they can get involved in,” Axford said.

Other organizations, such as the San Diego Food Bank, reach out to SNO often to get volunteers for their programs or events.