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Advocating for inclusive, safe dining for college students with food restrictions
GFF College Dining Survey Responses
Saint Louis University
Oct 30, 2019
Survey 1 of 1
Student's Summary Assessment:
Rationale for Grades Given
Attempts would be made, for instance we had a gluten free toaster by my second semester of senior year, but anything beyond the set gluten free entree and side required you to spend over an hour in the dining hall trying to locate someone willing to make a frozen pizza. The staff was not well trained and leadership was not receptive to suggestions.
Chipotle, The Cup, Blk Mkt
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?
Mostly not what I expected
Have you had a reation from eating in your dining hall?
If Yes, describe each incident and how your school responded
The first time there was a gluten filled entrée put in the glutenless entrée spot and I emailed them to tell them how ill I was. They said they retrained the weekend staff after that. The worst time was at the grand opening of our new dining hall when the director of dining said there was gluten free pasta. Once I'd eaten a few bites he came up to say he was incorrect it was whole wheat pasta. He apologized profusely and offered a meeting. When I met with him he made false promises.
Did you register your food restriction with the disabilities office? If yes, describe
Yes, but I was told they only offer academic accommodations
Are there resources to help with nutritious, safe dining (e.g. dietician)? If yes, describe
There was a nutritionist my first year who tried to assist but didn't know very much about gluten and at one point recommended an item I knew had gluten so I gave up.
If you were in charge of dining, what would you change? Would your school be open to suggestions?
I would model it after universities who do it right. I went to a training at Washington University in Saint Louis and they had gluten-free grab and go sandwiches and I was blown away. That alone would have radically improved my dining experience
Describe your biggest challenge managing your food restrictions at college and how you deal with it
Finding enough food to eat. I ate Starbucks egg bites most of the time because it was the safest food that had enough protein to sustain me. Another factor was time. I didn't have time to stand in the dining hall asking for a gluten free pizza to be made in between classes! This was definitely not factored into the dining program's master plan.
Advice for Incoming Students:
Did your food restrictions impact your housing decisions? Any dorm recommendations
I was an RA and then a security manager so I had no say in my housing decisions
Any advice for managing dining halls? Favorite dining halls? Any to avoid?
Don't come to SLU. Living in campus is very important for development at a university, particularly in an environment catered to first years. Find a university that will feed you and do not get convinced to live in a on-campus apartment with a kitchen for your first year.
Describe your meal plans over the year(s). What's mandatory? Any suggestions?
I was a housing student staff member so I had a meal swipe heavy plan that came with the position
Any advice for eating in the dorms? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
Ask for delivery service gift cards for Christmas
What should students do before school starts or when they first arrive?
Start emailing dining services before you arrive and keep a relationship with them if you decide to attend!
Advice on managing parties or dinners out with friends?
Hard seltzer is your friend! Luckily it's popular right now so it's likely you'll have access to White Claw or Truly.
Any other advice or comments?
Your dietary restrictions do not define you, but student organizations should be asking about your dietary issues for when they put on events. They have the budget so go ahead and email whoever is in charge and ask what gluten free options they'll have!
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