Allergy-Friendly Campus Guide: Elon University

Elon University had been my dream school for a few years, but when I was finally accepted into one of their BFA Programs, we realized that getting to attend this might actually become a real possibility. All that was left was to work out accommodations for my food allergies. It turns out that there were hardly any preparations necessary because this school has SO many established food allergy resources. First of all, the school has a dining hall section that is COMPLETELY allergy friendly. Yes, that’s right. It is free of the top 8 allergens with no cross contamination. They also have my favorite allergy friendly brands as “grab and go” snack items in the different dining halls. They also have extensive amounts of allergy friendly food items in each of the stores on campus. All of these things have made my first year and a half at Elon go as smoothly as possible and have kept my family, who lives 12 hours away, at ease. I am forever grateful for all of their efforts, and hope that others will be encouraged by this information because attending a university far from home with multiple life threatening food allergies IS possible! Location: Elon, North Carolina  

Allergy-Friendly George Mason University Guide

I’ve had an amazing experience with George Mason University's dining staff! Upon first entering as a freshman, there were no options for me that were made safely in separate areas without my allergens, so every week the dietician would create a menu based off of my preferences & email me the menu. Each day and each meal, I would go into the dining hall, talk to the designated person and they would remove my meal that was wrapped in plastic wrap safely from the heater. It was always prepared safely for me in a separate area without my allergens. They went as far as providing me with their cell numbers to text them the times I was coming to eat so my food wouldn’t be cold. I was able to safely dine in the dining hall with all the other students for the first 2 years of college, then my junior year, they created a station called simple servings. Simple servings serves top 8 allergy free food items daily, 3x a day in a dedicated allergy free section/ station. I was able to help with the development of that safe section! They have their own simple serving specific pans, pots, utensils, and ingredients. They also have allergen free baked goods, sunbutter, rice milks, etc. They also do not allow students to get food at that station themselves, it is not self serve, all of the staff is aller trained, and food is given to students on a new plate every single time to eliminate cross contamination. I am so grateful for their attention and help with my allergies. I’ve never had a better experience at any other college Update on Aug 2023: I graduated 2 years ago but I went back on campus to serve as an assistant director for my professor’s STEM camp. I had to eat in the dining hall during the week and the staff was amazing at Ike’s! I had never really dined at Ike’s as a student - Southside always supported my allergies but they were just as amazing at Ike’s. Brooke T, the dietician, Deniz and Tytianna, the managers, Chef Sharmaine, Chef Jose, and Ms Gladis were all so kind and amazing as was everyone in the dining hall. They made sure I was safe and had enough to eat!

Location: Fairfax, Virginia

Allergy-Friendly Campus Guide: Harvard University

My experience with dining at
Harvard with a nut allergy has been somewhat positive. Dishes with allergens are only sometimes labelled, and so it requires a lot of asking the dining staff. I also have been given the option to order my meals separately and email ahead (accommodations through AEO). However, students at Harvard do not have the option to cook for themselves or get off of the required meal plan. Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts  

Allergy-Friendly Howard University Campus Guide

After finishing my freshman year at
Howard University, I am hopeful that moving forward I will have a more positive dining experience as an upperclassman. I witnessed a lot of cross contamination issues and had difficulty communicating with staff members about my needs. While I was able to work with a dietitian to make contact with the head chef in our main cafeteria, there were often times when entrees would be missing allergen warnings from nutritional labels, or they were not labeled at all. I hope that moving forward there will be change.

Location: Washington, D.C.

Campus Guide: James Madison University

James Madison University has a very helpful Office of Disability Services, professors all willing to work with you, and people tend to be nice about allergies." See Rose's top allergy-friendly picks around the James Madison University campus! Follow her on the Spokin app @toboldlygo Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia  

Allergy-Friendly Lawrence University Campus Guide

Lawrence University's dining service staff are all very friendly and willing to work with students on their dietary restrictions and needs! I’ve met with the staff a couple of times and was able to work out the possibility of getting a safe bread for me to make sandwiches in the dining hall! There is a SimplyOasis station free of the top allergens, as well as a gluten-free fridge section that also includes some nut-free/allergy-friendly Enjoy Life products! Their kitchen staff even goes through the FARECheck training.

Location: Appleton, Wisconsin

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