Student fundraisers struggle under new federal restrictions
By Kayla Furlano, Current Staff
Students craving Nifty Nibble cookies must wait until second semester to satisfy their sweet tooth.
The new USDA regulations that were implemented on July 1, 2014 require all sales of foods and beverages on campus during the school day to act in accordance with federal nutrition standards. Each student organization now has only two days per school year in which these laws do not apply, for the purpose of fundraising.
The Nifty Nibble, the Spain Trip, FBLA and many other student organizations needed to make changes to comply with the new guidelines.
For the Nifty Nibble, the campus restaurant, there was a line out the door during first semester’s one-day fundraising sale. More than 250 cookies were sold, but now the Nifty has only one more day available to sell sweets.
“We call them the ‘Contraband Cookies.’ They, along with the Oreo torte, were banned with the new regulations. Other than that, we have had to make little tweaks. For a lot of our food, it wasn’t that we necessarily had to change the recipe, but we had to reduce the quantity,” said Sally Heuer, the Nifty adviser.
Another major change implemented was the switch to ultra-grain flour.
The responsibility to revamp the menu fell to Heuer’s advanced culinary class. “Everyone thought that once we adopted the guidelines, we were going to have awful food. My advanced class all had that same attitude. I told them to look at it like a challenge,” Heuer said. “Once they crossed that milestone and changed their way of thinking, it was not awful.”
“We call them the ‘Contraband Cookies.’”
– Sally Heuer, culinary instructor
The 2015 Spain trip was also affected by the new guidelines. In the past, students would sell candy bars and suckers three or four times a year for two-week periods.
“It makes it more difficult for them to sell their candy because they are limited to those two days. They are more pressured to make sales in the limited time while also having to balance getting to classes on time and getting their own work done,” said Shelly Krueger, the Spain trip adviser.
Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) raises funds for their regional and state competitions by selling donuts prior to school. Previously, these sales were monthly but are now limited to only two days.
“We have a couple other fundraisers we’re doing but it’s up to the students, too. If they’re not willing to sell different things to participate they will have to pay for it out of pocket. They are going to have to pay some of it out of pocket no matter what, unless we find another jackpot fundraiser,” said Allison Holtzer, FBLA adviser.
The goal of the USDA’s new regulations is to improve student’s health and well-being by presenting fewer unhealthy temptations.
“I think it’s a good idea to have more awareness about what people are eating, but I feel money may be better spent buying food locally, such as at farmers’ markets. The biggest complaint I hear from students is that when you look at the amounts in the guidelines, there isn’t enough food, particularly for high school kids. They’re not full, especially with the lunch programs,” Heuer said.
“Not selling a candy bar to a kid on a day isn’t going to make that kid healthier. They are going to find junk food or candy at home, on the way home, in their locker. I don’t think it’s making any impact on the health of our children,” Krueger said.
Holtzer brought up the possibility that it is too late to try to instill health values for high school students by removing the temptations, but this may have a larger impact on younger students. “To me, it has to start in earlier grades to infuse the health benefits. But I’ve had high school students tell me that, ‘Well if you don’t sell to me, I’ll just go to the store and get it’,” Holtzer said.
This year, less money was raised through the Spanish trip’s usual candy bar sale due to the new guidelines.
“We are very busy with many initiatives that the school district is requiring of us as teachers, especially in the world language department. Hopefully we will have time and will be able to find alternative fundraisers because otherwise we are limiting our students’ opportunities to be able to travel and to raise money for that travel,” Krueger said.
(Top image: East junior Riley Schmitt, East senior Alicia Jeranek, and West senior Jazzmin Gray work in the Nifty Nibble kitchen on Friday, December 19, 2014. Photographs by Mike Smale, Current Staff.)