The faculty coaches at MIT strongly support the new dining plan developed by the House Dining Advisory Group (HDAG). This plan addresses a significant area of concern the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) faculty has had for the well being of MIT students.
MIT students invest a tremendous amount of time and energy into their activities and academics, often putting in 18 hour days over extended periods of time. These students, who tend to be extremely passionate about being successful at the highest level possible, are representing MIT in academic and athletic competitions on the local, regional and national stages and deserve a dining plan that enables them to train to meet their goals.
We appreciate the hard work and the careful, thoughtful process undertaken by HDAG and MIT to put this plan together. While we understand the opposition to change and hope that some compromises can be made for students residing in houses that will implement the new plan, this should not prevent what we believe is a better and healthier plan from being implemented.
Since MIT made the decision to close all of the dining halls in 1993, students who need a more substantial and nutritious diet than they would likely get on their own have suffered. Currently, they have few affordable healthy options other than shopping and cooking for themselves. The benefits of a dining plan that would provide healthy, self-determined portions in an efficient manner would benefit the entire MIT community.
In addition, the lack of dining available in the morning and after 7 p.m., the time when many students finish their activities, puts many students in a position where they have to go to class and exams hungry — and these students also miss the key timing of replacing the necessary protein and muscle glucose lost to a hard bout of exercise. This problem snowballs day to day until the student gets injured, sick or just cannot perform at a high enough level.
A dining plan that includes later hours to accommodate post practice and evening exam schedules, breakfast options that are nutritious and time efficient, and dining that supports small and large community building would support overall student health and wellness.
Furthermore, good nutritional plans are the foundation for training to be successful in the classroom and on the fields and courts. The benefits of providing dining plans that allow students to improve their mental and physical performance as well as prevent injury and illness are part of any elite program.
DAPER has been advocating for changes to the dining system for nearly 20 years and we are very pleased that MIT plans to implement healthier options in September.
Again, we are very appreciative of the effort everyone has put into this new plan and look forward to the better health and performance of our students.
Professor Halston W. Taylor is the director of track & field and cross country, Chad D. Martinovich is the head football coach, Cheryl F. Silva is the head field hockey coach, and Matt Lindblad is the head sailing coach.