Feb 18

Lafayette College, Easton, PA (2)

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Edited: Feb 23

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Celiac College Student Survey completed January 2019

 

Food Service Vendor?

Bon Appetit

 

What stage are you in college?

Recent Graduate

 

Please describe your meal plan for each year there so far.

I had 20 meals per week. Students were required to choose a meal plan that includes at least 7 on-campus meals. There had been an option in previous years to have a meal plan consisting of entirely "flex dollars" with which students could have more flexibility, but the option was removed while I was a student.

 

How many years ago were you diagnosed with celiac?

5+

 

How sensitive to gluten are you?

Very: React to small amounts

 

How would you describe the worst reaction you have had since diagnosis?

Hospitalized

 

Does your college handle celiac food restrictions as you expected they would when you selected your school?

Somewhat what I expected

 

Grade your college on feeding celiac students

C

 

Explain your rationale for that grade

While constantly reassuring me that all staff were properly trained, culinary staff of all levels made countless errors in my attendance. Some of these rendered me ill while some mistakes made friends of mine ill. Many of the chefs were incredibly accommodating, helpful, and inclusive. As such, I often had excellent dining experiences, but I had to consciously limit the diversity of what food items I ate, at which dining halls I ate them, and who prepared them in order to feel safe eating at Lafayette. Most importantly, the largest faults lay with the administration, not the individual chefs, which unfortunately proved to be a much harder issue to solve than the occasional blunder made by a staff member. It is difficult to recommend Lafayette as a good choice for a highly sensitive Celiac.

 

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 avoid certain dining halls that I don't think are safe, I am only comfortable eating in a few dining halls, I have great options at some of the dining halls, Ability to eat well was a critical part of my college selection process, I asked alot of questions before I came but the reality was different

 

Did you register with your students disabilities office for accommodations? If yes, describe.

Not to my recollection, no.

 

Are there resources (nutritionists, chefs, peer support groups) to help ensure you are receiving safe nutritious food? Describe

Specific chefs would likely made such accommodations, but I would not expect it of the administration on a larger scale.

 

How many times have you been glutenized in your dining hall? If you didn't answer NONE, please explain what happened and how school responded.

3: Three times in my first year I was fed food that was deemed safe for me that contained gluten due to a combination of mislabeled and substituted ingredients and individual oversights made by chefs directly. I mainly stopped being glutenized because I decided to avoid eating anything unfamiliar or adventurous for the remainder of my college career.

 

Describe your biggest celiac challenge at college and how you manage it

Cross-contamination at Lafayette is rarely handled perfectly. I trusted very few chefs to prepare my food safely, and they were not always present or available to cater to me directly. Most of the time, I simply had to accept the risk.

 

If you were in charge of dining, what changes would you implement to better feed celiac students? Would your school be open to these suggestions?

I would dedicate a dining hall to catering to dietary needs, especially relating to the 8 major allergens, in a way that would also feel modern and trendy, so to avoid a similar status to the peanut-free tables at elementary schools from when I grew up. This would allow students to feel included and safe, while regular inspections would be conducted to ensure proper precautions against cross-contamination would be taken.

 

Did celiac impact your housing decision? How? Is there a certain dorm you recommend for celiacs? Why?

After my sophomore year, I roomed in houses so that I had the option to cook more food myself.

 

Your advice to new celiac kids for managing the dining halls? Favorite dining hall(s)?

Discuss a meal with the staff member who made it before eating. This is sometimes easier said than done, depending on the staff member and time of day.

 

Your advice to new celiac kids for eating in the dorm? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?

Cooking will be the easiest option when it comes to eating safely. Lower Farinon sells a variety of snacks, and Wawa is nearby, but good luck finding a real meal that's gluten-free there.

 

Your advice to new celiac kids on preparing before they come? Or doing upon first arrival?

Meet all the main chefs in every dining hall, and only eat food prepared by them directly or another chef whom you meet and trust.

 

Your advice to new celiac kids on managing keg parties and alcohol scene?

Get used to being called out for not being able to drink beer. Make a joke out of it, and remain casually insistent that you will not drink it. Watch out for beer being an ingredient in punch. As for specific liquors, do your own research and make your own decisions about what you consider safe--gluten-free liquor is a highly debated topic, and concrete answers (yes, even online) are difficult to find for many brands and liquors.

 

Grade your college town area for celiac friendliness

B+

 

Favorite places to eat in town or foodshop?

Maxim's 22

 

Anything else you would like to add?

Other allergies are just as difficult to manage at Lafayette, if not moreso. My peanut allergy led to very stressful situations, and the administration and staff expressed their lack of willingness to help me feel comfortable on campus. I was met quite rudely by several members of staff and management on more than one occasion, and their often condescending attitudes made it difficult to voice my opinions in a matter that felt acknowledged. As you can see, I no longer hold any hard feelings.

 

 

 

Celiac College Student Survey completed January 2019

 

Food Service Vendor?

Bon Appetit

 

What stage are you in college?

Sophomore

 

Please describe your meal plan for each year there so far.

Normal Dining Hall meal swipes, Freshmen year - required 20 meals per week, sophomore year - 14 meals per week

 

How many years ago were you diagnosed with celiac?

3-5

 

How sensitive to gluten are you?

Extremely: React to even small traces

 

How would you describe the worst reaction you have had since diagnosis?

Bad

 

Does your college handle celiac food restrictions as you expected they would when you selected your school?

Totally yes, was what I expected

 

Grade your college on feeding celiac students

A

 

Explain your rationale for that grade

Staff is very accommodating and knowledgeable! I have never felt unsafe and the chefs go above and beyond to make sure I feel safe. My plates are pre-prepared for each meal. The only issue with this is that I have very little control over what I eat.

 

Check all that apply

My school is small and has only a few dining halls, Ability to feed me is pretty consistent across dining halls, I have great options at all of the dining halls, Ability to eat well was a critical 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.

Yes.

 

Are there resources (nutritionists, chefs, peer support groups) to help ensure you are receiving safe nutritious food? Describe

Chefs

 

How many times have you been glutenized in your dining hall? If you didn't answer NONE, please explain what happened and how school responded.

NONE

 

Describe your biggest celiac challenge at college and how you manage it

Biggest celiac challenge is very minor. It’s always a bummer when all of your friends eat food you can’t.

 

If you were in charge of dining, what changes would you implement to better feed celiac students? Would your school be open to these suggestions?

I would have some sort of app or survey allowing gf students to fill out what they want to eat based on what is being served that day.

 

Did celiac impact your housing decision? How? Is there a certain dorm you recommend for celiacs? Why?

Yes! Through disability services I registered for housing with a personal bathroom and kitchen.

 

Your advice to new celiac kids for managing the dining halls? Favorite dining hall(s)?

Go through disability services and talk to Chef John! He will introduce you to a ll of the other chefs. From there don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and let the chefs know what you can and cannot eat. I love marquis!

 

Your advice to new celiac kids for eating in the dorm? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?

Lots of fruits and veggies

 

Your advice to new celiac kids on preparing before they come? Or doing upon first arrival?

You will be around a lot of people who can eat a lot more things than you which stinks but it gets easier.

 

Your advice to new celiac kids on managing keg parties and alcohol scene?

Good luck!! That part was hard to figure out, but you learn your way. I’ve never felt pressured to drink beer at Lafayette and if you do research on what you can and cannot drink you’ll be just fine.

 

Grade your college town area for celiac friendliness

A+

 

Favorite places to eat in town or foodshop?

Mesa, Chipotle, Colonial Pizza, Mission BBQ, CHT

 

Anything else you would like to add?

Nope

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 18

We found that from 2013 to 2017 Lafayette did improve the way it handled gluten-free issues (mostly by improving training, I think) but our student remained skeptical and wary. And the school badly mishandled a peanut-allergy situation but adding a peanut sauce to a popular take-out place and refusing to change it when we complained that they had now taken the allergen out of the dining hall and spread it around the campus. I have to say, I remain very disappointed in how the school managed our student's situation.

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