Celiac College Student Survey submitted October 2019
Food Service Vendor
Aramark, but switched to Sedexo
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 a housing student staff member so I had a meal swipe heavy plan that came with the position
How many years ago were you diagnosed with celiac?
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?
Mostly not what I expected
Grade your college on feeding celiac students
Explain your rationale for that grade
Attempts would be made, for instance we had a gluten free toaster by my second semester of senior year, but anything beyond the set gluten free entree and side required you to spend over an hour in the dining hall trying to locate someone willing to make a frozen pizza. The staff was not well trained and leadership was not receptive to suggestions.
Check all that apply
My school is small and has only a few dining halls, I can find some but not enough food in any of the dining halls, 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, but I was told they only offer academic accommodations
Are there resources (nutritionists, chefs, peer support groups) to help ensure you are receiving safe nutritious food? Describe
There was a nutritionist my first year who tried to assist but didn't know very much about gluten and at one point recommended an item I knew had gluten so I gave up.
How many times have you been glutenized in your dining hall?
If you didn't select NONE, what happened and how did school respond?
The first time there was a gluten filled entrée put in the glutenless entrée spot and I emailed them to tell them how ill I was. They said they retrained the weekend staff after that. The worst time was at the grand opening of our new dining hall when the director of dining said there was gluten free pasta. Once I'd eaten a few bites he came up to say he was incorrect it was whole wheat pasta. He apologized profusely and offered a meeting. When I met with him he made false promises.
Describe your biggest celiac challenge at college and how you manage it
Finding enough food to eat. I ate Starbucks egg bites most of the time because it was the safest food that had enough protein to sustain me. Another factor was time. I didn't have time to stand in the dining hall asking for a gluten free pizza to be made in between classes! This was definitely not factored into the dining program's master 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 model it after universities who do it right. I went to a training at Washington University in Saint Louis and they had gluten-free grab and go sandwiches and I was blown away. That alone would have radically improved my dining experience
Did celiac impact your housing decision? How? Is there a certain dorm you recommend for celiacs? Why?
I was an RA and then a security manager so I had no say in my housing decisions
Your advice to new celiac kids for managing the dining halls? Favorite dining hall(s)?
Don't come to SLU. Living in campus is very important for development at a university, particularly in an environment catered to first years. Find a university that will feed you and do not get convinced to live in an on-campus apartment with a kitchen for your first year.
Your advice to new celiac kids for eating in the dorm? Favorite snacks? Places that deliver?
Ask for delivery service gift cards for Christmas
Your advice to new celiac kids on preparing before they come? Or doing upon first arrival?
Start emailing dining services before you arrive and keep a relationship with them if you decide to attend!
Your advice to new celiac kids on managing keg parties and alcohol scene?
Hard seltzer is your friend! Luckily it's popular right now so it's likely you'll have access to White Claw or Truly.
Grade your college town area for celiac friendliness
Favorite places to eat in town or foodshop?
Chipotle, The Cup, Blk Mkt
Anything else you would like to add?
Your dietary restrictions do not define you, but student organizations should be asking about your dietary issues when they put on events. They have the budget so go ahead and email whoever is in charge and ask what gluten free options they'll have!