Free food always getting a college student’s attention was proven to be true last Friday when N.C. Central University’s student union was filled with students ready to try new foods at the fourth-annual Eagles in F.L.I.G.H.T. cook-off.
The competition allowed students to try food from six stations, each hosted by one of NCCU’s fraternities and sororities and a chosen sous chef. “This is an easy way for people to sample (different) foods that they may not ordinarily eat,” said Student Health’s executive director Dr. Ruth Phillips.
The annual Eagles in F.L.I.G.H.T. (Fostering Lifestyles and Inspiring Good Health Together) cook-off started in 2014 when Dr. Phillips wanted to bring awareness about certain health issues to NCCU students and faculty.
“We want to have students understand the importance of their health so that (they) won’t be behind the eight ball,” Dr. Phillips said. “We want them to think about their health and well-being now.”
There to give information about Go Red for Women was Linda B. King, director of community impact for the American Heart Association.
“About 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented,” King said, noting that the family of diseases still kills roughly one-in-three women each year. She also said that prevention starts with knowing your numbers for total and HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and your Body Mass Index.
The event also featured stations related to recreation and general wellness where they taught CPR and tested participants’ blood pressure, Body Mass Index and glucose levels.
Student nurse Basmah Kadambalath said that the cook-off was a great way for her to get community service hours.
“It’s hard trying to get service hours and complete the nursing program,” she explained.
Meanwhile, other students were just there to have fun. Tiara Harrell went taste-testing before visiting the nursing station for tips and tricks to avoid her family’s history of health problems. Both she and Diamond Harris, who learned that following the beat to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” can help you save a life when using CPR, agreed that the “Simply Grilled Basil Salmon” was the best of all six dishes.
“I’m excited that everyone liked it,” said Yolanda Melton, who served as the sous chef for that station. “This is my first cook-off.”
Dr. Phillips believes that the current popularity of the cook-offs is promising but there’s still room for improvement.
“I want this to be a signature event for the campus. It’s one of (Student Health’s) signature events, but I want it to be a signature event for NCCU overall and the school’s surrounding communities,” Dr. Phillips said.
Questions about having a station at next year’s cook-off can be sent to Dr. Phillips at [email protected].