A year with no soda

A year with no soda

Matt Lanetti

This year, Malvern went through some changes. The removal of non-diet or regular soda and Gatorade from the cafeteria has been criticized by many of Malvern’s students. However, not all members of the student body disapprove of the new drinks. Some welcome this change and support it wholeheartedly. Regardless of which side you’re on, everyone seems to have an opinion.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this debate is the great diversity of reasoning on the side of those who do not support the change. While interviewing students, I encountered arguments based on everything from diet soda causing cancer to student liberty. It appears that within one argument, there is in fact another, a debate over why exactly a switch to diet soda is unfavorable.

Perhaps one of the largest of these sub-groups is what I like to call “The Healthy Decision Makers”, those that want the option of regular soda now so they can learn to make healthy decisions while in high school. Andrew Stetser ’15, is a prominent member of this category. “With Malvern being a college preparatory school, it should be teaching kids lessons of smart healthy decision making; however, rarely in the future will the option of a sodium enriched drink be completely banned. If Malvern wants to better prepare the kids, they should allow kids to have the option and let the teens make their own independent decisions. Depriving altogether of soda will do nothing for and may even worsen the teens decisions of health,” notes Stetser.

Arjun Menon ’15 has a similar opinion: “It’s necessary that we have the liberty of choice.” The idea of liberty is probably in the reasoning behind each of these different perspectives. However, students are still welcome to bring in their own soda to drink at Stewart Hall. The choice of soda still exists at Malvern – just not purchased from the cafeteria.

Another slightly smaller  group are those that believe the diet drinks are worse for you. Some go so far as to say they cause cancer. Others, simply prefer the more natural regular soda. “I think the diet soda is just as (bad) or even worse than the sugared drinks. I’d rather be drinking natural sugar than chemicals,” says Nick Algeo ’15.  Michael McHugh ’15 agrees with Nick that diet soda is worse for Friar health. “I guess diet drinks are better for a school environment, but they have a long term effect on our health. As high school boys we should not be on a ‘diet” but growing.”

And then you have some free thinkers.  “I think the reintroduction of non-diet soda would have a great affect on the sales in the cafeteria,” notes Brian Sayers ’15.  A student who wished to remain anonymous remarked, “It is a source of daily concern, an absolute affront to all things free, and holy, something we try to promote at this school.”

Flip over to the other side of the argument, and you see something very different. Pretty much all pro-diet students I interviewed provided identical responses.  “I don’t have a problem with it, sugary drinks aren’t healthy anyways,” noted Kevin Roussey ’16.  Stephen Ball ’13 remarked,

“I think the change to diet soda could be beneficial to the health and longevity of our lives.” “Malvern is doing what is best for the students. In an age where obesity is on the rise, the early health of the future leaders of America are important to our country in the future,” stated Anthony Abron ’14.

The reason for this is simple. To the anti-diet student there are several reasons to be anti-diet, but to the pro-diet student there can really only ever be the one reason to be pro-diet: Removing regular soda and replacing it with diet is better for Malvern’s health.

After asking 52 students for their opinion on the whole thing, 40 were against the changes and 12 were for them. That’s a ratio of 10:3. It will be interesting to see where this discussion goes in the future.  Our student publications will keep our readers posted with any new developments. Until then, it looks like Malvern is going to have to stick to Fuze.