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Advocating for inclusive, safe dining for college students with food restrictions
GFF College Dining Survey Responses
Jan 6, 2020
Survey 1 of 1
Milk Allergy, Peanut Allergy, Shellfish Allergy, Sesame Allergy, Tree Nut Allergy
Student's Summary Assessment:
Rationale for Grades Given
The only reaction I have had at school was at an off campus Starbucks, where they put regular milk in my coffee instead of almond milk.
I really don’t eat anywhere else except occasionally Chipotle (on Marshall St) and sometimes restaurants at Destiny. Sometimes, I do GrubHub or Postmates and just include a note about my allergy and it really has not been an issue.
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?
Add details to help us better understand your food restrictions (e.g. sensitivity level, potential reaction, need for EPI pen)
I carry an epi-pen. It is used for my peanut/tree nut reactions. My allergic reaction to dairy, sesame seeds, and shrimp can be controlled with Benadryl.
Details About this Student's College Dining Experience
Does your college handle food restrictions as you expected when you decided to attend?
Totally yes, was 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, there was a form to fill out for students with food allergies.
Are there resources to help with nutritious, safe dining (e.g. dietician)? If yes, describe
There are nutritionists available and there is a dietician who was very helpful. The managers in the dining hall are also very helpful.
If you were in charge of dining, what would you change? Would your school be open to suggestions?
I think I would make there be more options for people with dairy allergies. Sometimes, most of the main dishes have dairy, so I’ll eat grilled chicken or a burger (because these are always available), which isn’t bad, but it would be nice if there were more options. I would also change the eggs/omelet mix to not have dairy in it, so there would be other options. (They can do egg whites or fried eggs dairy free, but not scrambled or an omelet.)
Describe your biggest challenge managing your food restrictions at college and how you deal with it
I think just finding options, but it really hasn’t been too difficult.
Advice for Incoming Students:
Did your food restrictions impact your housing decisions? Any dorm recommendations
There was no place explicitly listed to say you have allergies. The housing office told me (after the fact) that I should’ve put it as a disability and they would have tried to match me with someone who had allergies, but I went random for my roommate and I explained to her that I had severe peanut/tree nut allergies, and she was completely understanding and agreed to not eat those foods in the room.
Any advice for managing dining halls? Favorite dining halls? Any to avoid?
I would say just talk to the managers at the dining halls. They are helpful and if you can get to know them, they will help you out. My residence hall is attached to Graham dining hall, so that’s my go- to, but Ernie Davis has also been great with my allergies. I think all of the dining halls have very similar (if not the same) menus, so you can feel safe at any of them.
Describe your meal plans over the year(s). What's mandatory? Any suggestions?
The schools requires freshmen to have a 14 meals/week meal plan. I started at 21 meals/week and decided it was too many meals, but liked the option of being able to swipe in and get something as simple as a bowl of cereal if I needed. I cut my meal plan down to 14 meals/week because it wasn’t cost-effective for me to have 21 meals/week.
Any advice for eating in the dorms? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
There are stores on campus to buy snacks if you want. I also like to go to target once a month or so to stock up on other snacks and things like oatmeal to eat in my room. I really haven’t done too much takeout, but I have done postmates and grubhub and just included a note in the order and have had no issues.
What should students do before school starts or when they first arrive?
Before- call the dietician. After- introduce yourself to the managers.
Advice on managing parties or dinners out with friends?
I would say just make sure your friends know about your allergies, carry a Benadryl or an epi-pen on you when you go out. Otherwise, I don’t share drinks when I’m out and I don’t order food if we go out afterwards.
Any other advice or comments?
No, but please feel free to reach out with any further questions.
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