They say that food is the connection between an individual and their home. It is a thing of comfort in hard times. It is clear that food is not only deeply personal, but forms a bond between individuals and their community. Which is why senior Ryan Terao hopes to gain a better understanding of how students bridge the cultural gap through food.
Terao believes that “the closer you are to your culture of origins diet, the healthier you will be in college, because if you drift into a more Westernized dietary pattern, the more unhealthy you will be.”
In order to prove this, Terao is conducting a comprehensive study of Hawaiian students at Pacific University. Using surveys, he hopes to show that the non-Western diet is superior while also understanding how individuals adapt to new dietary cultures.
Participants will be asked about how closely they relate to their culture along with their diet over the three days preceding the study. Students from the continental United States will be surveyed as well in order to compare and contrast their diets and cultural beliefs.
Terao felt it important to link the study to improve the health of students who attend Pacific University, especially those from Hawaii and those who are making a difficult transition into college life. He hopes that this research will address students’ dietary habits and how to improve their health. In a larger picture, he aims to bring to Pacific University’s attention that it needs to provide more culturally sensitive and affordable food choices for those attending. He will be presenting his project in Marsh Hall, Room 106 at 1:30 p.m.