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GFF College Dining Survey Responses

University of San Francisco

San Francisco


Survey Date:

Mar 9, 2023

Survey 1 of 1




Celiac Disease

Student's Summary Assessment:

College Dining:


Surrounding Area:


Rationale for Grades Given

I can't eat any hot freshly cooked meals, and even the premade foods will sometimes give me reactions. They do have two stores on campus that provide some gluten free options and grocery like food so I can get food there but I have to make actual meals for myself.

I have stores nearby since I live in a big city, but it takes time out of my days that are packed with work and school that other students don't have to do. The options depend on the place, but I know what works and doesn't work at this point and I'm used to the options provided to me. The amount of gf restaurants is also pretty good because I am in a major city.

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)

I react to cross contamination in a variety of ways - sometimes it is severe to the point where I can't move, most of the time it shows up as general discomfort, migraines and fatigue. I don't react if there is one or two bread crumbs worth of CC, but if a kitchen doesn't separate my meal I will react most of the time.

Details About this Student's College Dining Experience

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

Not at all 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 have had multiple incidents of eating in the dining hall and experiencing minor to severe reactions within the next few days. When I brought it up to the school meetings were set up to try and accommodate celiacs in the dining hall but they "didn't have the infrastructure" to create safe meals for us since there are only two dining halls. They said that was all they could do besides reducing our meal plan and giving us the money back.

Did you register your food restriction with the disabilities office? If yes, describe

Yes, I was able to reduce my meal plan 50% for first semester and 100% for second semester. They also could submit a request for better housing for my next year so I would have my own kitchen, but they didn't guarantee it. I had to go to the dean of students to get reassurance that I would have guaranteed apartment style housing with a kitchen next year.

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

Only within what the dining hall offers, not for students with celiac who don't eat in the dining hall

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

I would have an allergen free area of the kitchen and that food would be served in its own area as well. It would be limited to students with allergies and would be open on a regular basis. I suggested this to the school because there was an unused service area but they didn't put the effort in to make that happen.

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

My biggest challenge is providing all my own food out of a small dorm room that only has a shared mini fridge and microwave. I have a toaster and kettle that I'm not meant to have but it helps me create meals so I keep it hidden. The small storage space and few appliances limit the amount of food I cna make so I also need to make frequent trips to the grocery store, which is a challenge in itself being gluten free. Options are always limited and expensive.

Advice for Incoming Students:


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

For freshman the housing options are all the same and require a meal plan for the dining halls. The only housing with private kitchens is Lone Mountain East for sophomores and above. These are apartment style, so you have 2 rooms, 2 bathrooms and one shared kitchen for yourself and 3 roommates.

Dining Halls:

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

If you're not very sensitive, then the burrito bowl area and classics section (sometimes) of the Caf, which is the lower campus dining hall, would be good. The indian section of Open Door, the upper campus dining hall, is also good if you're not sensitive, as well as the classics section on some days. For sensitive celiacs though, I would avoid both dining halls and only shop at the stores. Even the gluten free pastries they have are made in a facility that produces wheat products.

Meal Plans:

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

If you live on campus you are required to have a meal plan, but if you register with Student Disability Services they can reduce your meal plan by 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% if you are really not using it. Leftover money from first semester carries over to second semester, but second semester leftovers are not refunded. I got a 50% reduction for first semester so I could get coffee and shop at the store, but I got 100% second semester since I still had a lot of money carrying over. I am going to use any leftover at the end of the year to get a rice cooker, pots, and pans that they sell at the stores.


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

Breakfast: microwaved oatmeal, toast w any topping you like, I have a microwave egg cooker that is so awesome they're on amazon I definitely reccommend that. Lunch: ham, cheese, and lettuce sandwiches, cheese and crackers, random snacking. Dinner: Soup boxes, rice ramen cups, microwave rice with chicken or tofu and steam in a bag veggies that you can find in the frozen section. Always keep a stack of frozen meals for the evenings when you need a quick meal. Invest in a toaster even though it's not allowed they're easy to hide. GF bread is way better toasted, and its good for sandwiches. Always keep a stack of protein/energy bars, tortilla chips, salsa, bananas, crackers, peanut butter, etc.

Getting Started:

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

Register with SDS asap and get as many accommodations as they can do. If you want to try eating in the dining hall you should! But double check that the things labeled gluten free are actually gf because they have had issues with mislabeling that has not ended well... Get a little cart to keep food and invest in all the kitchen appliances that will work in a dorm (ignore the rules things are easy to hide for room checks).


Advice on managing parties or dinners out with friends?

Find your fellow celiacs and plan weekly or bi-weekly dinners with them! It creates a safe community and you don't feel like a burden when choosing a place since everyone needs it to be gf friendly. Get to know the places you can go so you have suggestions for going out to dinner with people. If you are going to parties, eat a big meal before and carry something small on you because most of the time you won't be able to eat at the party. Also provide your own alcohol to avoid sharing spit with anyone who has had gluten in their mouth.


Any other advice or comments?

It's super hard to manage at a school that doesn't feed you, and it's easy to lose motivation and struggle mentally and physically. Going home on breaks is really refreshing and is a reminder that this situation is temporary! Try to advocate for yourself with the school, but if it's too tiring then just focus on yourself and doing what is under your control, that's what I ended up having to do. Take the best course of action for you and your health. Also, USF provides free Grubhub premium accounts to students... take advantage of that.

Meal Plans:

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