Marilyn Magaram Center uses Moodle to promote nutrition and community events

It is now easier for students to learn about upcoming events at CSUN’s Marilyn Magaram Center.

The center has established a Moodle website to keep in contact with students and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program participants, said Jenna Jackson, project manager for the center.

The Marilyn Magaram Center focuses on food science, nutrition, and dietetics. The center helps with community service events and projects and offers internships to nutrition majors, Jackson said.

Jackson said she created the Moodle site to raise awareness of the center.

“We do have a Marilyn Magaram (web)site that I use but we found that if we have a Facebook and a Moodle and more of a social networking site” people will be more likely to go to them, she said.

The Marilyn Magaram Center’s Moodle website is not the only one of its kind, as many organizations and groups already have special (web)sites, said Hilary Kaplowitz, instructional designer in the Faculty Technology Center.

There are sites for academic departments and programs such as tutoring, Kaplowitz said.

“I think it’s a great thing for all communities on campus,” Kaplowitz said, adding that establishing a special website is a way to open up discussion and dialogue.

The center is named after Marilyn Magaram, a CSUN professor who taught nutrition and food science courses in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department. In 1989, she went on a rafting trip to Australia and died.

The center was created in 1991 to honor her work, Jackson said.

Currently, the center offers a variety of programs to students, faculty and the community.

Every year the center hosts a nutrition college bowl for schools on the West Coast, Jackson said.

Schools from various parts of California, Washington, and Arizona have previously participated, she added.

The center also offers a ServSafe course that provides a means for students to obtain a food safety education certificate, Jackson said.

Additionally, the center is working on a volunteer opportunity with West Hills Hospital set to launch in December, she said.

CSUN nutrition students will be able to volunteer during meal times and help prepare and serve food to patients, she said. Volunteers will also keep patients company during meal times.

Of all the programs the center offers, the CSA program is one of the largest, Jackson said.

The CSA program is facilitated through Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark. Students and faculty can sign up to receive seasonal fruits and vegetables from the farm once a week.

There are three types of plans available: monthly, a three-month plan, and a six-month plan, Jackson said.

The monthly plans are $60 for a small box and $80 for a large. A small box feeds one to two people for a week, while the large feeds up to four, she said.

The CSA program began in July on the CSUN campus, Jackson said.

In the first week of the program, there were 25 members on the CSUN campus, said Kim Galbraith, CSA administrator for Underwood Farms.  Currently there are 118 members.

“CSUN has been a case study for us because we’ve never had a program that large,” she said.

The CSA program allows members to eat seasonally, which is how nature intended, she said.

“Half (of) the kids today think food comes from a box or a store,” she said.

In addition to providing information about its various programs, the center’s Moodle site allows CSA members to learn what produce will be in their box for the upcoming week. There is also a recipe blog.

Members often look forward to receiving their weekly boxes, Galbraith said.

“There’s an element of excitement—some people say it’s like Christmas,” she said.