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Advocating for inclusive, safe dining for college students with food restrictions
GFF College Dining Survey Responses
Point Loma Nazarene University
Mar 22, 2019
Survey 1 of 1
Student's Summary Assessment:
Rationale for Grades Given
My college tried its best and if I was able to receive the accommodations I received during my freshman year throughout college, my college would've received an A+. Unfortunately, with the management changes, I was continually made promises that were not kept in terms of making sure that food would be ready for me, creating new areas in the cafeteria protected from cross contamination, etc. I could tell that the chefs were doing their best, but at the time I was a student (from 2013-2016), there were not proper protocols in place to serve a gluten free, celiac student like me.
San Diego is full of options! Just use Find Me Gluten Free ;) Some of my favorites were Stacked, True Foods Kitchen, Chipotle, Chick Fil A, etc.
Details About this Student's Food Restrictions
How many years ago were you diagnosed with food allergies or celiac disease?
If you indicated celiac or gluten intolerance, how sensitive are you to gluten?
Very: React to small amounts
Add details to help us better understand your food restrictions (e.g. sensitivity level, potential reaction, need for EPI pen)
Completed original celiac survey which did not ask about other food allergies
Details About this Student's College Dining Experience
Does your college handle food restrictions as you expected when you decided to attend?
Somewhat what I expected
Have you had a reation from eating in your dining hall?
If Yes, describe each incident and how your school responded
Did you register your food restriction with the disabilities office? If yes, describe
Yes. I worked with the DRC throughout my entire undergrad experience and did appreciate how they helped me communicate with the cafeteria and worked with my teachers to give me accommodations as needed.
Are there resources to help with nutritious, safe dining (e.g. dietician)? If yes, describe
Not that I was aware of at the time.
If you were in charge of dining, what would you change? Would your school be open to suggestions?
I would create a separate backroom full of separate ingredients that only students with allergen wrist bands or an allergen code on their student ID could get into so that only people who actually need to avoid those allergens and know the importance of avoiding cross contamination can access that food.
Describe your biggest challenge managing your food restrictions at college and how you deal with it
It was a challenge making the time to prepare my own food along with working and going to classes after I was unable to eat at the caf.
Advice for Incoming Students:
Did your food restrictions impact your housing decisions? Any dorm recommendations
When I was able to eat at the cafeteria, I requested through the DRC early access to on-campus apartments so that I could have my own kitchen. If celiac students can have their own kitchens, that is obviously highly recommended, though I did still have to share it with roommates who ate gluten.
Any advice for managing dining halls? Favorite dining halls? Any to avoid?
Ask as many question as you can; meet with the head chef and the DRC before classes start; do not be shy in advocating for yourself and saying when something is not working.
Describe your meal plans over the year(s). What's mandatory? Any suggestions?
Freshman - I had all of my meals made by the head chefs specially for me in the back. Sophomore, junior and senior year, I was unable to receive safe food from the cafeteria and decided to cook all of my own food. I was given a waiver from the required meal plan and could bring my own food into the cafeteria to eat with friends. I tried to eat at the cafeteria my sophomore year (after there had been big management changes), but I would sometimes come in during my agreed-to meal times and there would be no food waiting for me, and I was unable to receive food that was not open to cross contamination.
Any advice for eating in the dorms? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
Meal prep is your friend.
What should students do before school starts or when they first arrive?
ALWAYS contact the DRC and cafeteria ahead of time to talk about your options. I also recommend working with the DRC so that you can request a separate/extra fridge and mini freezer in your dorm room, as well as a separate microwave. That way you can have plenty of room for your own food.
Advice on managing parties or dinners out with friends?
N/A dry campus
Any other advice or comments?
Going to college gluten free and with celiac disease is hard, but is totally possible. I was diagnosed only a few months before I started college and ended up being hospitalized for celiac complications halfway through my first semester. Nonetheless, I adapted. I learned how to cook all my own meals. I made friends with people who tried their best to help me and understand. I meal prepped at weird times so I'd know that the communal oven would be free, and I became best friends with bars like Lara Bars. At the end of the day, I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and a lot of good memories, even if my college's food wasn't necessarily one of them.
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