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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?