Celiac College Student Survey submitted April, 2019
Food Service Vendor
What stage are you in college?
Please describe your meal plan for each year there so far. Include if your school required any of these decisions. If you are eating in a greek house or other club type arrangement include that as well.
I was required to have a meal plan my first two years of college while living in housing that didn't have kitchens. I had 3 meals a day, plus a bonus meal and bonus dollars.
How many years ago were you diagnosed with celiac?
Less than 1
How sensitive to gluten are you?
Very: React to small amounts
How would you describe the worst reaction you have had since diagnosis?
Does your college handle celiac food restrictions as you expected they would when you selected your school?
Not at all what I expected
Grade your college on feeding celiac students
Explain your rationale for that grade
Options were inconsistent and tasted bad. Staff wasn't trained on their options, so even if the administration told me they had something the staff in the dining hall wouldn't know what I was talking about. Sometimes I was served regular food instead of the GF option. I fought for 2 years to get maybe 6 options on the menu.
Check all that apply
My school is small and has only a few dining halls, Ability to feed me varies greatly across dining halls, I am only comfortable eating in a few dining halls, I can't find any good options in the dining halls at all, Ability to eat well was a small part of my college selection process, I assumed they could feed me and didn't think about it before I arrived
Did you register with your students disabilities office for accommodations? If yes, describe.
I tried, but at the time I didn't have a medical diagnosis so they couldn't do anything.
Are there resources (nutritionists, chefs, peer support groups) to help ensure you are receiving safe nutritious food? Describe
How many times have you been glutenized in your dining hall?
Describe your biggest celiac challenge at college and how you manage it
My biggest challenge before having a kitchen was getting enough food to eat. I lost 20 pounds in 2 years of eating in campus dining, so I had to eat a lot outside of my meal plan.
If you were in charge of your school's dining, what changes would you implement to better feed celiac students? Would your school be open to these suggestions?
I would have a robust gluten free menu and train all staff in these options. I would want the menu to be as celiac safe as possible. I think my school would be open to the suggestions, but I don't know that Sodexo would be.
Did celiac impact your housing decision? How? Is there a certain dorm you recommend for celiacs? Why?
Yes, it influenced my decision to enter apartment-style housing with a kitchen. There are no dorms recommended for celiacs.
Your advice to new celiac kids for managing the dining halls? Favorite dining hall(s)?
Be an advocate for yourself and know your options before choosing that school.
Your advice to new celiac kids for eating in the dorm? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
Keep protein bars and other snacks in your dorm. Use uber eats, grub hub, etc if you want delivery.
Your advice to new celiac kids on preparing before they come? Or doing upon first arrival?
Know your options and be prepared to face a lot of resistance from staff.
Your advice to new celiac kids on managing keg parties and alcohol scene?
Stick to vodka and make your drinks yourself.
Grade your college town area for celiac friendliness
Favorite places to eat in town or food shop?
Anything else you would like to add?
It's a really mentally taxing process. If you're feeling overwhelmed, visit counseling services on your campus. Celiac anxiety/depression is real and valid!