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. Valeri says:

    I work for the Cincinnati Christian University. I have Celiac Disease, and in the last 2 years the dining services staff has bent over backwards to accommodate my needs, to the point of having me speak with their staff to help heighten awareness. They’re still learning (as all of us are), but for a small private college they have gone above and beyond!

  2. Rose says:

    Bob Jones University is really starting to make strides with their Gluten Free accommodations. A big thing we lack right now is education of non-celiac students. We’re still having issues with people bringing their gluten-ous food into our allergen-free station. However, like I said, the improvements from my freshman year are incredible! I leave the Dining Common most of the time feeling like I actually got a good meal.

  3. Healtie says:

    I use to love this bread until I realize it contain corn syrup(GMO
    I’m now purchasing other brand that as HONEY

    • Suzanne says:

      Hey Healtie, i’m excited to let you know that all our products are verified non-GMO by third party testing and we are working toward Non-GMO Project certification on many of our items (our granola bars and granola clusters are already certified). Our finished products have come back with non-detectable for GMO’s at a limit of 0.1ppm.

      I also want to let you know that the corn syrup in our breads actually refers to trace amounts of corn syrup which has been digested and metabolized to produce citric acid – a natural mold inhibitor. It is not used as a sweetener; but helps our products maintain an expected shelf life of at least two weeks . The end product does not contain any actual corn syrup. I’m sorry for any confusion but please let us know if we can help answer any other questions for you.

      Suzanne

  4. Tim Voogd says:

    Check out Liberty University as a school that accommodates gluten free needs…it should be on your list!!

  5. Susannah says:

    Madeline –

    I am so sorry to hear that you’ve had such a negative experience at IC, especially because that is my alma matter. I have visited the campus several times in the past two years, and I am always very impressed with how accomodating they are to my gluten, dairy, and corn free lifestyle.

    I would like to continue this discuss and connect you with some key people at IC. Please email me at sfaulkner@boulderbrands.com. Thanks!

  6. Samantha says:

    The University of Michigan’s nutritionist was extremely helpful. She let me choose which gluten free products should be ordered for the dining halls. The majority of restaurants in Ann Arbor are very accommodating with gluten free and have various options to choose form.

  7. Madeline says:

    As a student of Ithaca College, who has discovered her Celiacs Disease after her first semester, I am disappointed with this review of the school. Ithaca College, despite having some options, should not be on any prospective’s students list if the ability to eat in the dining hall is one of the top priorities. At Ithaca College, having a food allergy is a burden and the school does nothing to help. There are many inaccuracies with this review. First, and most importantly, there is only one dining hall with a pre-prepared gluten free meal twice a day, daily (and as a picky eater, having only one meal option is not good especially if you don’t like fish because Wednesday’s are Fish Day). The meals are bland and boring as it is a A8 free dish. Considering I have made food for myself this entire semester, adding some spices would not be difficult but it does not seem as though the school makes the effort. What is most infuriating about this review is that at this dining hall there is no dedicated gluten free kitchen and cooking supplies are often transported back and forth between gluten areas and the gluten free section. The only dedicated and separate kitchen area belongs to the Kosher kitchen. Additionally, and most importantly, after eating a meal there after some personal issues when I could not prepare my own food, I got violently sick three times. The one dining hall with a “gluten free kitchen” does not offer any pre-prepared meals unless you order two day prior, before 3pm, to the day you are eating the meal. (This meal can be sent to any dining hall, but honestly, who really knows where their friends are going to eat at any given night if you have a healthy social life and eat with more then one group of friends) If you do not order a pre-prepared food at this dining hall, you must cook your own food with an isolated microwave with high-calorie frozen options. The final dining hall rarely offers gluten free options, only occasionally serving bread and bagels with a dedicated gluten free microwave. If you like cream cheese with your GF bagel you are out of luck. Students do not understand the impact of cross contamination and often double dip and because of the ill informed staff (aside from managerial positions) everyone looks at you like you have 6 heads when you request cream cheese from the back. Additionally, although “special labeling” is used on all products, it is more often then not inaccurate. “Gluten” is never used on the signs, it is always “wheat” and as anyone with Celiacs Disease knows there is a difference between the two. Once I asked the staff to show me how they made the meal and she handed me a frozen bag of food and on the label was a gluten derived ingredient. Because of my inability to eat in the dining halls I have lost most of my friends considering freshman friendships are often built over meals. Ithaca likes to put itself on a pedestal of representations that are often false. As someone who has fallen in love with Udi Products, it will be hard for me to purchase your products again after this horribly inaccurate review of the school. Please do a more thorough review for the future so that you can present students who are looking at school with more accurate information.

  8. Julia Penn says:

    Cottey College, in Nevada, MO, also is very accommodating to GF, vegetarian and various ethnic diet sensitivities. It has a great chef.

  9. Allie says:

    Tufts University is fantastic!!! They have a gluten-free fridge and freezer in both dining halls, filled with bread, pizza crusts (that they will cook especially for you), french toast sticks, corn tortillas, and baked goods from the gluten-free bakery in the neighborhood. They have gluten-free pancakes at Sunday brunch, gluten-free pasta nights, gluten-free cereal, and gluten-free toasters, peanut butter jars, and nutella jars! Tufts provided gluten-free base in their soups, gluten-free soy sauce in their dishes, and the dining staff and school nutritionists are always there to help, answer questions, and provide us with whatever we want!

  10. Regina Gillis says:

    Russell Sage College has a quickly growing gluten-free food section along with kosher and vegetarian choices.

  11. Roger Williams is starting to get their game together on GF. I’m really proud of them for the strides they have made this year 🙂

  12. Courtney says:

    I got to USD, University of San Diego, and they have done such a great job with accommodating gf! Every place you can get food on campus has a gf meal option. They have udi’s products that you can get for a sandwich, bagel, etc. and they will make sure that it doesn’t cross contaminate if you specify you have an allergy. I was very pleasantly surprised when I transferred here because my previous college, University of Houston said they would accommodate gf but it was such a hassle that I wound up never eating on campus and would cook for myself.

  13. Petra says:

    Radford University in Virginia! They have a gluten-free section in one of the cafeterias. They have gluten-free meals, bread, bagels, and deserts. They also have allergy info and warnings for most of the meals in cafeteria. It’s very helpful!

  14. Tina says:

    I go to the University of Arizona and have never seen anything mentioned above. So it is not widely known, but Im going to look into it for sure.

    • Emily says:

      Tina,

      I’m the president of the UA gluten free club. I think you found us on facebook, but if not, please be sure to contact me and get involved! We’ve got so much exciting stuff planned for next year, you don’t wanna miss out!
      Thanks!

  15. Aubrey says:

    Bring it to Canada!

  16. Washington University in St. Louis has worked really hard – with me – to accommodate Celiac students. They set up an online ordering forum for students to order 100% gluten free meals – wuds.webfood.com. They make all the GF meals in the back separately with 100% gluten free ingredients and equipment. If you want more information just email me back – they’ve been great and will make anything gluten free!

  17. Fatcat says:

    William Carey University (Hattiesburg, MS) keeps gluten free bread and cereal at all times and will prepare/set aside a plate for my son so that it is not cross contaminated. They completely understand. It’s been great.

  18. Kimberly says:

    You might also look at TU, Universit of Tulsa. We took our kiddos on a tour there (one has Celiacs) and they had a Gluten Free menu and kitchen options as part of their meal plan options for the students and even staff.

  19. Alisa says:

    UC Santa Cruz is tremendously GF friendly and is also voted, several times, the most vegan and vegetarian friendly! Look it up! 🙂

  20. Shelly says:

    Missouri State University also does a wonderful job of gluten free- and even has a dedicated gluten-free bakery.

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