Joe Chism, a district dietician with Sodexo. He helps students with any food-related questions across several universities throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, including Austin Peay State University. Photo provided by Joe Chism. | THE ALL STATE

At Austin Peay State University, the Govs Dining team needs to care about the health and nutrition of students, faculty and staff. To accomplish this, the dining team offers a wide range of healthy food options to cater to the diverse needs of all visitors.

To guarantee that everyone at the university can get the assistance needed when navigating food options on campus, Govs Dining dietitian Joe Chism is a free resource for the campus community.

There are many questions one can ask about nutrition, but during my talk with Chism, I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about his impact at APSU and what led him to become a dietitian.

Chism graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of Kentucky. Throughout his life, he has been involved in numerous sports and has always had an interest in living a healthy life. However, when he went to college, Chism was unsure about what degree to pursue.

During our conversation, Joe shared stories about how he became interested in becoming a dietitian. He heard about people “cutting” or bulking,” — terms you might hear at the FOY Fitness & Recreation Center.

Chism was also fascinated by witnessing new ways to consume more protein. For example, Chism saw a coach eat cans of tuna early in the morning to hit a protein intake goal. 

However, what ultimately led him to the path of becoming a dietitian was meeting with his academic advisor. After the advisor heard about his interests, they suggested that he focus his education on dietetics, the study of nutrition.

After graduation, Chism would find his way to Sodexo, which became APSU’s food service provider in 2022. Outside of serving APSU, Joe serves as a dietitian for seven schools across the district.

Chism visits APSU once a month in person for dining events and connects with the campus community virtually with one-on-one meetings outside of the time he is on campus. He also provides free consulting for students, and helps with:

  • Sampling Events
  • Dining Hall Tours
  • Healthy Dorm Eating 
  • Campus Allergy Requests

During Chism’s time at APSU, he has been a speaker for APSU athletes and the APSU Full Spectrum Learning program. He has also met with over 50 APSU community members.

The APSU community can schedule appointments with Chism through his Instagram, by calling 859-200-6174 or by emailing To see when he will be on campus next, students can follow @GovsDining on social media.