Academic journal article Human Ecology

Eating Smart: Diane Robinson Knapp Focuses on Nutrition as George Washington University First Lady

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Eating Smart: Diane Robinson Knapp Focuses on Nutrition as George Washington University First Lady

Article excerpt

When Diane Robinson Knapp '74, MS '77, arrived at George Washington University nearly a decade ago, she was given a clean slate. "Basically, I could do anything I wanted," says the university's First Lady, whose husband Steven Knapp, MA '77, PhD '81, serves as President.

True to her Cornell training in nutrition and education and her work as a clinical and administrative dietitian--her most recent job in the field was directing the nutrition department at Children's Hospital in Oakland--the Weedsport, N.Y., native chose to make her mark in food and nutrition, with a strong focus on sustainability.

Knapp's work began at home. The couple moved from the family's sheep farm near Baltimore--"Turns out I like farming," she notes--into F Street House on campus, which was renovated with as many sustainable features as possible. "We try to walk the walk as well as talk the talk," says Knapp, who sat on a GW sustainability task force during her first year at the university.

Next, Knapp hired University Chef Rob Donis to prepare meals for the many events she hosts, collaborating to offer foods that are healthy and locally sourced.

Since then, Knapp has been working hard to make nutritious fare and sustainable living the standard across the institution. She co-founded and chairs the Urban Food Task Force (UFTF), a campus umbrella organization involving students, staff, and faculty, and has fostered programs and faculty hiring focused on sustainability and nutrition issues in every school.

UFTF works to improve academics and student life by offering food-centered courses and lectures, including collaborations with well-known DC-based chef Jose Andres, overhauling dining menus, starting a vegetable garden, and arranging for the weekly on-campus farmers market to accept students' food service cards. …

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