Sacrificing campus health could be costing students’ wealth

There was no doubt in my mind I was dying. What had woken me up as a stabbing pain in my side had turned into my insides being torn out. I had never experienced pain like this before. Every breath was like inhaling shrapnel. After what felt like an eternity, I managed to call a friend to take me to the hospital. When I got there, I was asked for a urine sample. In the sample there was a small pebble. It turns out I was passing a kidney stone.

Kidney stones account for more than half a million emergency room visits a year. They’re most common in people ages 30 to 40, and once you’ve had one, they’re more than 50 percent more likely to recur within 5 to 10 years and 80 percent more likely to recur within your lifetime. The main cause of kidney stones is a poor diet.

As a college student who works full-time, I have a very unhealthy and caffeine-heavy diet: three to four sodas a day, campus fast food for lunch and whatever is open when I get off work at 11 p.m. It’s not a very uncommon diet for commuters, and Tech doesn’t help at all with the on-campus dining choices.

We don’t have meal plans so we can’t get any of the healthier options offered by Tech without paying an arm and a leg to eat in the cafe. Yes we could get a meal plan, but it’s not worth the amount it costs. Instead of expanding to healthier dining options or making meal plans more viable, Tech has decided to limit our on-campus options even more this semester by closing the Perch. This included Grill Nation, probably the healthiest of the fast food choices because you could build your burger or chicken sandwich with whatever choices you wanted.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming Tech for my poor dietary choices, that’s on me; but college is where we set a lot of the habits we’ll have later in life. If we’re forced to take a class meant to teach us study habits and how to get connected with the local community, then we should be able to have some healthy dining choices on campus. Why is it that we can spend student tuition on a new fitness center, a bunch of trees that have yet to be planted, and on more construction than you can shake stick from one of those unplanted trees at, but we can’t spend it on healthier options for food?

I for one am going to start making healthier choices in food, and I want Tech to start looking for healthier options. It doesn’t matter much for me because I’m graduating this year, but for some other student, it might help them avoid a $600 emergency room bill and the worst pain they’ve ever felt in their life.