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Advocating for inclusive, safe dining for college students with food restrictions
GFF College Dining Survey Responses
Santa Clara University
Apr 4, 2023
Survey 1 of 2
Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Wheat Allergy
Student's Summary Assessment:
Rationale for Grades Given
There is always something that I can eat. It just comes down to if I like the food, if it's cross contaminated, etc. There is now a new food station open called Simply Oasis that caters to the top 9 allergens and there is no need to worry about cross contamination which is amazing. The food there is very healthy and unique but sometimes I just want fries!
There aren't many restaurants near campus but there is one very close called Pizza My Heart that has the best gluten free pizza ever. They are a life saver and I eat there at least once a week.
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)
React noticeably to small amounts, also react to trace amounts but it manifests emotionally rather then physically. I will not become super sick from cross contamination but I will feel groggy, irritated, lethargic, etc.
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
I was glutened by the pasta station because they cooked the gluten free pasta in the same pasta water as the gluten pasta. When I brought this up to management and chefs they immediately fixed the issue and assured me that that was not how it was supposed to be handled. The same thing happened at the pizza station and they changed that procedure as well.
Did you register your food restriction with the disabilities office? If yes, describe
Yes, I am registered with my university's Office of Accessible Education and I am also employed by them. Being registered with them allows me to have accommodations for my academics if I have a reaction/am glutened.
Are there resources to help with nutritious, safe dining (e.g. dietician)? If yes, describe
There is an on-campus dietitian. I have not met with them yet but have plans to do so soon. Also, I run an instagram account called @glutenfreescu to help those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease navigate the dining hall.
If you were in charge of dining, what would you change? Would your school be open to suggestions?
I would have put in a completely gluten free station where students don't have to worry about the ingredients or cross contamination. My school did listen to this suggestion! The opening of Simply Oasis is because of student concern about dietary restrictions.
Describe your biggest challenge managing your food restrictions at college and how you deal with it
My biggest challenge is time. Gluten free food takes longer to cook or takes longer to explain if there is confusion. Having grab and go food is very difficult. I deal with this through building relationships with the chefs so that they recognize my orders and are able to make my food more efficiently.
Advice for Incoming Students:
Did your food restrictions impact your housing decisions? Any dorm recommendations
I would have preferred to have my own kitchen and bathroom since I have celiac and do not trust the communal kitchens and would rather have a private bathroom when I get glutened (if you know, you know). This was difficult to achieve here at santa clara because the housing office cannot place you in a particular dorm, only in a group of residence halls that may fit your needs. My advice is to register with the Office of Accessible Education and get your needs documented to make the process a but easier. But in all honesty, I wish I had gotten a housing exemption and lived off campus earlier.
Any advice for managing dining halls? Favorite dining halls? Any to avoid?
Benson is the dining hall and there are gluten free options at every station within but I would advise meeting with a manager and having them take you through the options. Or you could follow me!
Describe your meal plans over the year(s). What's mandatory? Any suggestions?
I started on the normal meal plan which was way too much for me since I can't eat more than a third of what's offered in the dining hall. It was very difficult but I was able to switch to the upperclassmen plan and it is better for my needs. My suggestion would be again to register with the OAE to get your needs recognized.
Any advice for eating in the dorms? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
One piece of advice I have is to get your own pot/pan/baking sheet/etc. to use in the communal kitchens because you have no idea what has been in there! There is a Safeway very close to campus that has some good gluten free snacks and meals that I like to keep in my dorm.
What should students do before school starts or when they first arrive?
Register with the OAE! Get your dietary restrictions recognized!
Advice on managing parties or dinners out with friends?
Never eat anything at a party. Just don't. When going to lunch or dinner with friends look up the menu beforehand so you know if you can eat there or if you'll need to eat before.
Any other advice or comments?
Follow my instagram @glutenfreescu and subscribe to my youtube @jordanlynn
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