The Struggles of Eating Gluten-Free on South Campus

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The Struggles of Eating Gluten-Free on South Campus

A photo of a gluten-free student's snacks offered by the Sodexo dining services.

A photo of a gluten-free student's snacks offered by the Sodexo dining services.

A photo of a gluten-free student's snacks offered by the Sodexo dining services.

A photo of a gluten-free student's snacks offered by the Sodexo dining services.

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When I first entered college, I never would have imagined that eating on campus would become one of my biggest challenges. 

But during my sophomore year I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy and was told I had to stop eating gluten. Unfortunately, this meant completely altering my diet and becoming more aware of foods that contain gluten and that could be contaminated with the allergen.

In regards to food allergies on campus, Sodexo (which is Moravian’s food service provider) states on its website that “Moravian College Dining locations are equipped and dedicated to accommodate customers who have food allergies, celiac disease, or other dietary needs. Our managers communicate daily with customers, in order to provide safe, healthy, and delicious options.” 

They specifically advertise their Simple Servings table, which is located solely in The Star on North campus, and MyZone, which is the campus pantry that contains numerous gluten-free options for students and faculty with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. MyZone is also on North campus only.

On a flyer recently posted near the dining halls, Dining Services mentioned these options. It also highlighted the other North campus offerings, including the gluten-free pitas available at Garbanzo, as well as the gluten-free fries (made in a separate fryer), sandwiches, and burgers to be had at CRU5H. 

However, on South campus, students have only one option: ask the chef in Clewell Dining Hall to make something without gluten.

Compared to North, the South campus dining hall runs on more of an individualized approach than the standard college dining hall “buffet style,” as the food in Clewell is made-to-order. 

However, while the regular menu on South Campus has several “regular” options every day, there are days when the gluten-free menu lists only sandwiches, quesadillas, garden salads, and grilled chicken breast. Many of those options not even consistently available, as South campus often runs out of the “safe” ingredients used to make these gluten-free meals by the end of the week. 

As a music major, I spend a majority of my time on South campus. Most days, I do not have time to take the shuttle up North in order to get lunch or dinner between my classes and rehearsals, which mostly take place on South campus. As a result, like most arts majors at Moravian, I find myself eating in Clewell more often than not. Because of the limited gluten-free menu there, I often end up eating the same things for both lunch and dinner.

Gluten-free food takes longer to make, so when my order finally appears I have to rush to eat it before my next class or rehearsal begins. Since Clewell does not offer anything gluten-free that is prepackaged and portable, I’m usually stuck eating there for most of my meals, risking both being late for class or rehearsals and not receiving the daily nutrients I need.   

Moravian College has implemented a new dining feature through GrubHub that allows for delivery to South campus from the B&G Café, but ordering on the app still presents problems, since the average delivery time from North to South campus takes almost an hour. 

In addition, it is also difficult to order gluten-free food from the GrubHub app, as many of the gluten-free options in the B&G Cafe are not listed on the menu on GrubHub. 

I believe Moravian should attempt to make the gluten-free options at North campus accessible for gluten-free students on South. While I understand that there are fewer students on South campus, I do not think students and faculty there shouldn’t have to risk getting sick just because they do not have the time to eat on North. 

Including some of the options that are available at The Star would make gluten-free students and faculty on South campus a lot happier and would give them the proper nutrients they need on a daily basis. 

While I believe Moravian dining can do a better job of catering to the gluten-free population on South, I have appreciated the work the Clewell staff has done to try to help people with gluten allergies.

The separate gluten-free menu options on the ordering station are great, as is the staff’s willingness to accommodate dietary restrictions to the best of their ability. The workers in Clewell have always been very friendly and accommodating.

On the other hand, Sodexo really needs to listen to student concerns about allergens and make the changes, because the divide between allergen-free options in the two dining halls should not be this wide.

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