How many years ago were you diagnosed with celiac?
How sensitive to gluten are you?
Extremely: React to even small traces
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?
Totally yes, was what I expected
Grade your college on feeding celiac students
Explain your rationale for that grade
They have a separate room free of the top 8 allergens which has pizza, fries, and chicken. Also the fridge is full of snacks available for taking. There are baskets available to store personal items. Out in the main dining hall there is a section dedicated gluten free with a hot meal. The staff is extremely nice and helpful. I would even personally text the chef asking for a special request. Freshman year I was very dependent on the dining hall and I felt I always had a food option and didn’t feel left out because I had an allergy.
Check all that apply
My school is small and has only a few dining halls, Ability to feed me varies somewhat across dining halls, I feel comfortable eating at any dining hall on campus, I frequent certain dining halls because they have more options although all are safe, I have great options at some of the dining halls, Ability to eat well was a critical part of my college selection process
Did you register with your students disabilities office for accommodations? If yes, describe.
Yes. In high school I had a 504 so I continued with that at Marist. It gives me flexibility on attendance if I am not feeling well, along with assignments. During midterms and finals I take my tests with the office of accommodations where I am allowed to have food and water, access to the bathroom, and extra time. Ii also have flexibility to take the test at a different time if necessary since I sometimes don’t feel as well in the morning.
Are there resources (nutritionists, chefs, peer support groups) to help ensure you are receiving safe nutritious food? Describe
The dining staff is great! You can always go to them with suggestions or concerns about the food. I always felt the meals they served were very balanced with a vegetable served each time
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.
Describe your biggest celiac challenge at college and how you manage it
Eating out with friends. Luckily, my friends are very understanding and go to specify restaurants that work for me or eat at the dining hall with the most GF options. I feel I have been able to manage Celiac really well, and I credit Marist a lot!
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?
Overall I have been very pleased. My one suggestion would be to have the other places on campus (smaller dining hall or cafes) more GF friendly. The dining hall is the best bet for Celiacs. I feel Marist would be very open to the suggestion, but overall my experience hasn’t been great.
Did celiac impact your housing decision? How? Is there a certain dorm you recommend for celiacs? Why?
When given the opportunity to have a full kitchen Sophomore year I knew I would want to do that so I would be able to cook for myself more often. But freshman I lived in a dorm and went to the dining hall constantly. I never had a problem, but I did request to live in the dorm connected to the dining hall for easy access in bad weather. I would recommend Champagnat Hall, commonly referred to as Champ. This is one of the most popular dorms and the one I lived in. It is great because it is connected to the Student Center where the main dining hall is located. When the weather is bad, it is super helpful because you never need to go outside to get food. I requested to live in Champ because of my Celiac. I knew that I would be dependent on the dining hall, so I wanted to make sure I always had easy access.
Your advice to new celiac kids for managing the dining halls? Favorite dining hall(s)?
Get to know the staff because I really used them a lot. They knew my name and face and would also help make me something special if necessary. Up until recently Marist only had one dining hall. The main dining hall in the student center has a room that is free of the top 8 allergens which features hot pizza, chicken nuggets, and french fries during lunch and dinner hours. There is also a fridge full of snacks including muffins, bagels, cookies, brownies and other items. Also, in the main dining area there is a station that is also completely free of the top 8 allergens. Both of these features were great and helped me feel like a regular student since you could get your food like everyone else. The main dining hall is the best place for Celiacs! Now there is another smaller dining hall but doesn't have the same safe spaces as the main dining hall. I have not eaten in this dining hall.
Your advice to new celiac kids for eating in the dorm? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
Research the area before so you know what options you have. In the dorm make sure you have little snacks to keep yourself full. Also, bring a container to the dining hall and take some extra back to your room if you enjoy it because then you have a meal easily. My favorite place to order from is Shelly’s Deli. It is a family owned deli about 5 minutes away from campus. I have relied on them heavily and even become close with the owners and workers. They completely understand Celiac Disease. They have a very extensive gluten free menu including mozzarella sticks, salads, sandwiches and breakfast items. They are also open to customizing dishes gluten free if possible. I highly recommend Shelly’s Deli!!
Your advice to new celiac kids on preparing before they come? Or doing upon first arrival?
Research! And talk to the staff. Make sure you know your options on campus and off campus so you at never stuck.
Your advice to new celiac kids on managing keg parties and alcohol scene?
Be yourself. Don’t feel pressure to do something you aren’t comfortable with.
Grade your college town area for celiac friendliness
Favorite places to eat in town or foodshop?
There is a Stop & Shop about 10-15 minutes away which features a gluten free aisle which is very helpful. Also throughout the store there are a number of GF items. I have been able to shop here no problem. As far as eating out there are some options in Poughkeepsie and nearby which I have found using the Find Me Gluten Free app, which is awesome, but my favorite place to eat out is Cosimos. It is perfectly located a little over from the campus. While they don't have a gluten free menu, they can make most dishes GF, including pasta and pizza dishes along with others. The staff is been very knowledgable on Celiac Disease and handling the food order properly. I have never had an issue with Cosimos and also enjoyed all my meals.
Anything else you would like to add?
Marist has been amazing and I highly recommend!! Overall, I have had a great experience with Marist and highly recommend it to high schoolers with Celiac. Also I think this survey you are doing is great. I wish when I was looking into colleges I could see what other Celiac kids were saying about their experiences. I hope you get a lot of valuable information because as someone with Celiac, I have found it is really important to learn from others and hear what they have to say, so thank you for your efforts.