Every year our student fraternity comes together for the noble cause of blood donation through the Mega Blood Donation Camp conducted by the Student Council during YouthFest. While it is heartening to note that this donation drive is largely successful, this year’s event shed light on a rather serious matter. According to Red Cross, women require a minimum hemoglobin level of 12.5 g/dL to donate blood, but the majority of women in our institute were rejected as blood donors as they did not have the required hemoglobin levels.
If one were to examine the nutritional value of the food served in our messes, they’ll find that though they provide vegetable curries, chicken & eggs, a student is deprived of other essential vitamins (namely E, K & D) and some minerals that form an integral part of a healthy diet. This has a direct relation to lack of variety in fruits during our meals as the only fruits we get in the mess are bananas and watermelon.
The only other access to fruits in our campus are the few fruit vendors who are available during the day. As they handle less stock on a daily basis, in order to make a decent profit, prices are kept a bit higher compared to the market. On top of that, they offer the same fruits daily which further discourages students from buying them. While we do have fresh fruit outlets like Reliance Fresh outside the campus, it is simply not feasible for students to go out daily just to purchase them.
The above points certainly make for a strong case to set up a centrally administered fruit store just like we have COOPS for stationery and daily essentials. The idea is to provide a healthy alternative to the junk food we consume at FS, and also make up for all the requisite vitamins and minerals that we miss out on in mess food. With a student community greater than 5000 persons and the added numbers of college fraternity residing in campus, we are looking at a very large customer base, big enough for the store to run at a decent profit.
While the proposal of having a fruit store is very tempting, there are a lot of challenges in running the store successfully. Some of the challenges include handling and storage of inventories as fruits are highly perishable in nature, sustaining good quality of fruits, discarding fruit leftovers, maintaining proper hygiene, amongst others.