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Advocating for inclusive, safe dining for college students with food restrictions
GFF College Dining Survey Responses
University of Colorado Boulder
Feb 2, 2023
Survey 1 of 1
Student's Summary Assessment:
Rationale for Grades Given
I have been able to eat safely. There is a GF dining hall (Libby) that is available M-F for breakfast and lunch. The larger dining halls have multiple stations where I can eat regularly (Persian, Grill, Mexican, salad bar). The larger dining halls also have dedicated GF spaces for toasters and bread. The overall quality of food at CU is high - Paul Newman salad dressings, Organic spices, etc. The dining halls abide by standards that limit the percentage of high fat and fried food
You don't have to explain gluten in Boulder - its nickname is "Gluten Free Heaven". Grocery stores have huge selections of gluten free; restaurants clarify if you are celiac or just intolerant and know how to take precautions
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)
Gluten exposure can bring on debilitating migraines as well as stomach issues both of which can last for multiple days
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
I witnessed a confused freshman putting regular break in the GF toaster. I reported it to the dietician and that toaster was removed immediately and replaced.
Did you register your food restriction with the disabilities office? If yes, describe
Yes. Sent a doctors note and worked with disabilities office to craft a "flex" plan for accommodations as necessary. The DO proactively contacts professors each semester on the student's behalf. Getting accommodations for a single room was a little confusing but worked out in the end
Are there resources to help with nutritious, safe dining (e.g. dietician)? If yes, describe
Yes. Dietician has celiac (asymptomatic) herself. We toured the dining halls with her when we visited again after admittance and it was very helpful and reassuring
If you were in charge of dining, what would you change? Would your school be open to suggestions?
Have the GF dining hall open for dinner
Describe your biggest challenge managing your food restrictions at college and how you deal with it
I am glad I brought a car because I do go and shop on my own for cold cuts, snacks, fruit, rice, etc to eat in my room so I have my comfort food and variety
Advice for Incoming Students:
Did your food restrictions impact your housing decisions? Any dorm recommendations
Any advice for managing dining halls? Favorite dining halls? Any to avoid?
Libby is the best dining hall since it is GF but has limited hours. Center for Community (C4C) is the other main dining hall I eat in and has great selection. I heard the Williams Village dining center is similar but have never eaten there. Dietician recommended avoiding the Alfred Packer Grill in the UMC because of too much chance for cross contamination with the high traffic that dining hall gets.
Describe your meal plans over the year(s). What's mandatory? Any suggestions?
Mandatory if living on campus - which is required for freshman. I take the high plan (19 meals/week) because I use any extra meal vouchers to stock up on GF snacks like yogurt parfaits, fruit or protein boxes
Any advice for eating in the dorms? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
Multiple GF friendly groceries very close to campus so can stock up on snacks there or at the snack shops on campus
What should students do before school starts or when they first arrive?
Advice on managing parties or dinners out with friends?
Eat before I go out if uncertain about what food plans will be. If friends want to go somewhere with no GF options, sometimes I catch up with them after. Or I will go grab ice cream while they grab fast food.
Any other advice or comments?
It's not strange to be GF in Boulder! When my parents came for Family Weekend, we went to the tailgate picnic before the football game but didn't expect to be able to eat. We were so happy because the entire line of food was labeled GF (BBQ, salads, etc) and non-GF food was separated safely to prevent cross contact. Very impressive
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