For the first time in over a year, the Carver Gym location of Freshens Fresh Foods Studio has opened for the fall quarter.
The on-campus dining option was closed all of last year and some of 2020 due to the pandemic, subsequent labor shortages and supply chain issues. Now, Western Washington University students who have been craving Freshens in its absence are excited to see it up and running again.
Fourth-year student Anne Valmonte was a Freshens regular prior to the pandemic.
“Before COVID-19 started, I went a lot my freshman year, probably three, four times a week,” Valmonte said. “But then COVID-19 started, and they closed down because of it.”
Not everything is back to normal yet. Students may have noticed the empty space in the rec center that used to be the other Freshens location on campus.
“It was typically busy because people would go there right after working out,” Valmonte said. “Honestly, I thought it was pretty great having one there.”
While the Freshens collection is still not the complete set, students who have visited the newly opened Freshens are just happy to see its return.
Mila Trickle is a first-year student who works at Freshens. Though she hasn’t worked there for long, Trickle said she has been enjoying Freshens so far.
“It’s really fun,” Trickle said. “All the managers are super nice, and it’s a very chill job compared to working at a fast food place.”
Trickle used to work for Dairy Queen and said working at Freshens is a very different experience. More flexible hours, reliable scheduling and better looking food are all things she said she appreciates about working at Freshens.
With menu items like salads, rice bowls and smoothies, Freshens is one on-campus option for students to get fresh foods.
Savannah Glasgow is a registered dietitian at Sensibly Sprouted, a nutrition practice with locations across Washington, including one in Bellingham. Glasgow recommends that students “try to eat the rainbow” as she believes it is a great way to start cultivating a healthy and balanced diet.
“For those who live on campus or students who commute and spend most of their day on campus, access to a lot of those fresh foods … is really important because if somebody is spending most of their time on campus, they need to be able to access those foods,” Glasgow said.
As a strong believer in nutrition by addition instead of subtraction, Glasgow encourages students to place their focus on adding things to their diet instead of taking from it. She also acknowledges that many students don’t have time to research, shop for and make nutritionally balanced meals every day.
“We know how busy college students are, so Western really does a great job prioritizing some of those fresh foods, fruits, colors to be available for students,” Glasgow said.