The Top 10 Gluten Free Accommodating College Campuses

By: Colleen O’Sullivan and Susannah Faulkner

 

If you are gluten free and considering where to go to college, we may be able to help! This list will give you information about the top gluten-free accommodating campuses across the country.  From the east coast to west coast, from small schools to large schools, this list will hopefully provide everyone with some helpful information regarding the gluten-free college dining experience throughout the US.

 

#1 – University of Notre Dame

Location: Notre Dame, Indiana

Size: 12,000 Students

Gluten free dining at Notre Dame is a piece of cake (gluten free cake of course!). Students have their own private dining area located within the main dining center where you can find everything you would ever need to eat gluten free. To gain access to this center, students first meet with the school’s registered dietitian to go over their personal needs and see what ND can do to accommodate them. Once they have access, their options are unlimited. Gluten free items are also available at all dining locations, convenience stores, and on-campus restaurants. In order to keep the students safe, all dining members are trained and understand the severity of food allergies. As a result everything is carefully labeled on recipes, ingredient containers, menus, and online databases.

#2 – Georgetown University

 Location: Washington, DC

Size: 16,000 Students

Fortunately for gluten free students, allergy safe eating is a high priority on Georgetown’s campus. Students have access to a gluten free designated station where they can find similar gluten free staples. Everything is labeled with a unique gluten free logo to ensure safety and to avoid cross contamination. Dining hall staff is trained repeatedly throughout each semester to understand dietary restrictions and how they can best accommodate each different food sensitivity. The registered dietitian on campus also works hand-in-hand with the Gluten-Free Foodies student organization to make sure students’ needs are being reached and ideas are being shared.

 

#3        Iowa State University

Location: Ames, Iowa

Size: 30,000 Students

Gluten free dining is available at all campus locations at Iowa State University in order to ensure that all students are receiving a proper diet. Dining staff is trained specifically to each dietary need and managers keep a close tab on all operations. Students have access to a designated area with its own refrigerator, freezer, dry storage, cooking utensils and small appliances. Besides the full service area, students are also able to request individually made meals or sign up for a gluten free meal schedule. ISU continues to work on creating an area for students with restricted diets to feel as unrestricted as possible when it comes to making dining choices.

#4        University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Size: 30,000 Students

Within the last several years, University of Arizona has continued to expand and improve their options for gluten free students on campus. When a student orders a gluten free meal, several steps are taken in order to ensure safety, including special colored gloves. The dining member serving the student will stay with them until their meal is completed to make sure no cross-contamination occurs. For the first time ever this year, an allergen fair was hosted on campus to help connect students with their campus dining staff members. Also, the UA Gluten Free Club is a very active student group both on campus and in the greater community.

 

 #5        Emory University

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Size: 14,000 Students

Emory’s dining staff truly enables gluten free students to feel comfortable at their home away from home. The staff stays in regular communication with all students with dietary restrictions and they are always looking for feedback on ways to improve their already great program. The gluten free station in the main dining hall is very inclusive, and includes hot meals, gluten free staples, and desserts. The staff has worked tirelessly to create as many naturally gluten free options as possible in the main dining area. For example, they ensure that everything on the salad bar and all salad dressing are gluten free. Also, the staff has been trained through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s GREAT Kitchens Program.

 

 #6        University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs, Connecticut

Size: 30,000 Students

Thanks to dedicated staff members, gluten free students at University of Connecticut can have peace of mind during their on-campus dining experiences. There is always at least one gluten free meal option on the menu each day and students always have access to a gluten free designated area with several additional options. Menu items, ingredients, and food products are clearly labeled once they are brought in from off-campus areas to eliminate cross contamination issues.

 

 #7        Ithaca College

Location: Ithaca, New York

Size: 7,000 Students

Gluten free meals are available within all dining halls on campus at Ithaca College, as well as at all campus-wide events. Within the main dining hall, students can access a gluten free pantry which contains several products and meals as well as small kitchen appliances and cooking utensils. Special labeling is used on all products to ensure safety and to give students the feeling of security. There is also a Food Allergy Awareness Club on campus to support all students with dietary restrictions.

 

 #8        Carleton College

Location: Northfield, Minnesota

Size: 2,000 Students

At Carleton College, the dining staff believes that a food allergy/intolerance should not be a burden, but a teachable moment for students and staff. Staff members truly value students’ input and regularly meet with them to help learn how to accommodate their needs. All gluten free students who dine on campus have the same options as non-GF students and are offered one naturally gluten free entrée at every meal along with dessert.  Staff is trained yearly to learn how to properly handle the food provided at the dedicated gluten free station in each dining hall.

 

 

#9        University of New Hampshire

Location: Durham, New Hampshire

Size: 15,000 Students

University of New Hampshire has created an environment that makes gluten free dining easy. Students can access gluten free products at all dining locations on campus where a large variety of products can be found. In order for students to ensure a meal is available to them on time so students can leisurely eat with their peers, they are asked to call in to the gluten free phone service or fill out an online request form. Students are simply asked when they plan on arriving and which gluten free menu option they prefer.

 

  #10      Clark University

Location: Worcester, Massachusetts

Size: 3,500 Students

Looking for a truly “home cooked” meal? Students at Clark University will be excited to know that every meal served in their campus dining hall is made from scratch and most recipes are modified to be gluten free. There is also a separate “My Zone” area for students to access gluten free pasta and pizza, as well as cooking utensils and small appliances.  Students can find several resources within the dining center for addition dining options off campus and shopping in town. The staff at Clark University has a training session every morning when new meals are on the menu to help practice safe allergy food handling.  Being gluten free is considered a social issue at Clark and not just an allergy – if some students cannot eat it and there is no gluten free alternative for substitution, then that meal is not offered to any student.

* Note, this ranking is in no way connected to the sales of Udi’s Gluten Free products. Extensive research, including website reviews, student testimonials, and calls with dining staff employees, was conducted to create this list.

 

We want to commend these ten schools on their hard work and dedication for creating a unique environment which gluten free students can safely and successfully live and dine on campus!  Want to see your college on this list? We suggest starting your own gluten free awareness campaign on campus to gain better accommodation in the dining halls and overall recognition on campus!

 

How does your campus accommodate gluten free students?

 

 

62 Responses to “The Top 10 Gluten Free Accommodating College Campuses”

  1. Sarah Ylitalo says:

    Northern Michigan University is working to make sure that students who eat gluten free by choice and those with the serious allergy are accommodated, and we go by the theory that those with food allergies want real food too.

  2. Misty says:

    Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX has a very knowledgeable dietician on staff in their dining services department. They have a dedicated gluten free area in the main cafeteria and offer Udi’s breads as well as all kinds of desserts & pizza! They also have an extensive salad bar, grill and often times has an omelet chef at breakfast and lunch.
    The dietician emails all the students & staff (who are celiac or gluten intolerant) daily to let them know which menu items in the cafeteria that day are gluten free.

  3. Jackson Kent says:

    James Madison University (Virginia)has a gluten free station in the dining hall.

  4. Gael Mounger says:

    Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas has a dedicated gluten free line in the HUB (cafeteria). I ate there when I took my daughter up for pre-orientation fun and the food was pretty decent.

  5. Robyn says:

    Davidson College, NC is very proactive for all food allergies as well as Celiac Disease. There is always a gluten free main course option along with pizza and sandwiches.

  6. dorothy chateau says:

    pls advise re UNC (University of Northern CO) Greeley, CO
    Thank you.

  7. Jeanette says:

    Cottey College–women’s university in Nevada, MO. Chef accommodates any student with individual dietary needs.

  8. Sue says:

    Rutgers offers GF entrees that you order from the on-duty manager of the dining hall, which are cooked to order. Typical offerings include pizza, stuffed shells, mac & cheese and lasagne. Yes, they are frozen dinners, but they do accommodate students with a smile.

  9. This is a helpful list. Thanks for publishing it. As you know, we’ve also been hard at work serving this market by assembling a listing of Gluten Free College Reviews on our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite ( http://glutenfreetravelsite.com/glutenfreecollegereviews.php ). They’re submitted by current GF college students and they are helpful to the many prospective students who are gluten free and beginning their college search. I hope we can all work together to continue getting the word out about these GF-friendly colleges. Hopefully within the next couple years, safe GF options will be available at virtually all colleges across the U.S. I know Udi’s products are very much in demand by college students, and it’s great to know your delicious products are becoming available to more and more GF students!

    • Maria says:

      Fordham University Rosehill campus, Bronx, NY., caters to allergy restricted foods for all students. They a register Dietician on staff and offer GF foods Udis, plus have ingredients listed for all hot foods. Staff is awesome when dealing with students with allergies.

  10. JR says:

    I would love to see Long Beach City but California is so huge with people getting sick and with gluten and wheat intolerance as myself. I would think UCLA or USC would get on this band wagon.

  11. Melanee says:

    BYU in Provo, Utah has amazing GF offerings, including Udi’s.

  12. Madison says:

    Geneseo, one of the top state colleges of New York, with food service CAS (Campus Auxiliary Services), has made huge strides in accommodating gluten free students over the past couple of years that I’ve gone to school here.

    -Gluten free labeling on all menus in every dining hall.
    -Extensive gluten free options.
    -Extremely accommodating management and staff.
    -Currently renovating a major dining hall facility, including a separate GF kitchen area.
    -Dedicated GF refrigerator, microwave and toaster for self-serve items in the all you care to eat dining halls.
    -Nutritionist maintains communication with gluten free community.
    -Separate cutting board stations complete with knife, spatula, etc, as well as dedicated GF pans and utensils.
    -Extensive staff training program (every dining hall has someone specially trained to know gluten free and students can tell because they have a different hat).

    I’ve been very active in communicating with the management and staff to create awareness and make changes. Based on the major improvements and how safe I feel eating here, I can proudly say that Geneseo should be an example to all college gluten free programs.

  13. lynn says:

    Madeline has valid points and concerns, Susannah. Sounds like your post dismisses her & as a fellow sufferer, shame on you! Susannah took the time to give details, and that’s what anyone with this horrid eating issues needs. As a mother of a daughter with Gluten, wheat, egg and dairy intolerances that put her into the hospital ER many times before we knew, it was awful to TRUST restaurants (college campuses must be included too) and end up in the ER because of the lack of education on the part of staff at dining halls no matter where one is eating. Cross contamination is no joking matter. How lucky for Susannah that she obviously doesn’t have an extreme allergy/intolerance or she would not have made the comments she did…or she has a conflict of interest connection…

    • Susannah says:

      Lynn –

      I apologize for making it seem dismissive. I have extreme celiac disease, as well as other intolerances that have caused me years of illness, frustration, and hospital visits.

      Not only do I work at Udi’s, but I also serve on the Board of Directors for my local support group.

      My comment was a way to help take action and personally connect with someone who was suffering.

      Thank you.

      Susannah

  14. christopher hughes says:

    My School (Metro State Denver) has no gluten free options besides some old nachos and Mcdonalds french fries. Yesterday I almost passed out because I was so hungry!

  15. Rosalie Jalbert says:

    My son was a student at Villanova University when he was diagnosed as a Celiac in 1990. We did not have internet to research back then so I went to my local library and got as much information as I could Back then, only Ener-G Foods and Pamela’s was around. I met with the dietitian and she ordered his bread and pancake mix. He had to eat all his meals in the cafeteria next to his dorm and could not eat in the main cafeteria. Every meal the cooks would ask him what he wanted to eat. Breakfast was eggs and bacon or Pamela’s pancake which the cooks loved because they would finish what he didn’t eat. His other meals were meat and potatoes with a vegetable. I found Villanova to be totally accommodating and hope that they still are. When a friend’s daughter, also a celiac, started at Providence College, they also were very accommodating with her diet.

  16. Mary says:

    I think it would be interesting to see the level of access the employees and faculty at the universities also have. There are great resources on the campus I work for students, but not as many options for others especially in the summer. This makes it very hard to work on a campus sometimes.

  17. Becky says:

    Baylor University in Waco, Texas, has Udi products available. They made me a gluten free pizza on one day and a gluten free fajita on another.

  18. Mom says:

    My son just finished a very good year at Penn State UP, where there is a dedicated gluten free station at every single dining hall, no reservations required. The convenience stores in the commons stock some gluten free options and do their best to order what their students need. The managers have tasting sessions for new products, and he has not been sick once this year.

  19. Gina says:

    St. Joe’s in Philadelphia does a great job supporting gluten free students. There is a designated GF area in the dining hall that provides a dedicated microwave and toaster as well as a refrigerator stocked with GF options. My daughter was able to store her GF pasta, rolls and wraps in their kitchen and request that it be used for a meal. The staff was knowledgeable and supportive of her dietary needs. I never had to worry about her meals while she lived on campus.

  20. Gina says:

    Michigan State University takes it’s approach to allergens/sensitivities and dietary prefences very seriously.

    For those looking for GF options, our guests can go online and filter the menus for items that are GF. They can also work with the Registered Dietitian in looking at menus and options that are safe for them.

    Along with this, they have keylocked fridges/freezers exclusively for those needing GF where they have access to safe items. They offer GF cereals as well that are in the commercial box versus a dispenser to prevent cross contact. There are stands in the main dining halls which hold Udi products, their own toaster, etc to help prevent cross contact. And, of course, if there is something that they want (the fish without breading, for example), all they have to do is ask, and it will be accommodated for them.

    The guests can meet with the Registered Dietitian and Executive and Sous Chefs to help communicate how we can reach their needs and expectations. If a student is severly reactive, the Chefs will take it upon themselves to clean and sanitize their stations before prepping their items just for them. They have also arranged meal times for specific students so they can be sure to have safe options that they want when they arrive.

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