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GFF College Dining Survey Responses

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill

North Carolina

Survey Date:

Jan 7, 2024

Survey 1 of 1

Student:

Freshman

With:

Celiac Disease

Student's Summary Assessment:

College Dining:

A-

Surrounding Area:

A

Rationale for Grades Given

UNC has two different dining halls. One of them has a dedicated allergen-free station and the other does not. The issue is that the one that has the allergen-free station is generally further from my dorm and classes and is overall more inconvenient than the other one. The options at both dining halls (including the allergen-free station) for people on a gluten-free diet are repetitive but reliable.

Chapel Hill has a lot of options for gluten-free. Staff at restaurants are generally knowledgeable and can take the necessary precautions. There is also a Target which carries many of the essentials should you want to stock up in your dorm.

Details About this Student's Food Restrictions

How many years ago were you diagnosed with food allergies or celiac disease?

5+

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)

Standard Celiac disease restrictions.

Details About this Student's College Dining Experience

Does your college handle food restrictions as you expected when you decided to attend?

Mostly what I expected

Have you had a reation from eating in your dining hall?

NO

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 registered my Celiac disease with the Accessibility Resources & Service department. I was able to get academic accommodations (extended due dates and attendance flexibility) in the event that I am glutened.

Are there resources to help with nutritious, safe dining (e.g. dietician)? If yes, describe

Yes, there is a dietician, although she is not the most knowledge. There are pre-published menus with allergen flags that go weeks in advance, although they are not always accurate -- you must always double-check the allergen list at the dining hall when you are actually there.

If you were in charge of dining, what would you change? Would your school be open to suggestions?

I would add greater variety to the allergen-safe options (both at the allergen-free station and within the general dining hall). I often end up getting the same meal for several meals in a row. If I were to pose these suggestions myself, my school would most likely not be open to my suggestions. There is, as with many schools, a lot of bureaucracy that needs navigation before any real changes can be made.

Describe your biggest challenge managing your food restrictions at college and how you deal with it

My biggest challenge is staying safe in social environments. To combat this I just remind myself that it is okay to say no to unsafe options and that I should never feel pressured to take risks with my health. When possible, I also try to find GF-safe restaurants in advance, so I can steer the group towards those places to begin with.

Advice for Incoming Students:

Housing:

Did your food restrictions impact your housing decisions?  Any dorm recommendations

I did not consider food restrictions when choosing my dorm. Generally, I find North Campus to be more convenient because it is closer to classes and to a dining hall. If you live on South Campus you'll be far from pretty much everything.

Dining Halls:

Any advice for managing dining halls?  Favorite dining halls? Any to avoid?

Do not always trust the online menu -- it's frequently different when you actually get there. Always double check the allergen list for each item when you're actually at the station. Both dining halls will have something for you, but the allergen-free station at Chase dining hall is typically worthwhile. Note that if you are vegetarian as well as gluten-free the allergen-free station will rarely, if ever, have protein option for you.

Meal Plans:

Describe your meal plans over the year(s). What's mandatory? Any suggestions? 

I have the unlimited meal plan. During your freshman year, everybody is required to have a meal plan, although not necessarily the unlimited one. I feel that it has been worthwhile, only because I eat all of my meals there and it provides helpful flexibility during your freshman year. The unlimited meal plan also gives you access to 35 Plus Swipes, which give you meals at the on-campus restaurants, many of which have gluten-free choices.

Dorms:

Any advice for eating in the dorms? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver? 

Get a refrigerator and a microwave for your dorm. Beyond that, just stock up on goods as necessary. Most restaurants in downtown Chapel Hill (Franklin St.) will deliver to your dorm.

Getting Started:

What should students do before school starts or when they first arrive?

Register with ARS. Even if you don't think you'll need it, having those accommodations on the record is important should anything ever arise.

Socializing:

Advice on managing parties or dinners out with friends?

Be aware of your restrictions and don't feel pressured to make unsafe choices. There are lots of safe restaurants in Chapel Hill, so learn which ones are best for you and encourage friends to choose those places over others.

Other:

Any other advice or comments?

UNC is a great school with many welcoming people. Despite any difficulties you may face with allergies, there are always avenues you can go down for assistance.

Meal Plans:

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