Allergy-Friendly Campus Guide: Northeastern University

Northeastern University offers a station at the main dining hall that is free of the top 8 allergens, as well as a dedicated gluten-free toaster, microwave, freezer and bread box. There are definitely options on campus for gluten-free students, however for other allergies it is limited to one section at just one of three dining halls. The Northeastern staff are extremely kind and helpful, though, and when I needed meals delivered to my room for medical needs, they handled everything incredibly well. The chef personally gave me his phone number so I could text him questions about my meals. While the on-campus options aren’t extensive, being in the middle of a large city undoubtedly helps with more options. There are many grocery stores within walking distance and a wide variety of bakeries and restaurants in the city that cater to allergies. The school definitely has options for students with allergies but has room to improve. Location: Boston, Massachusetts  
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Allergy-Friendly Campus Guide: Ohio State University

Ohio State did an amazing job accommodating my allergies! I registered with Disability Services for housing accommodations because I was worried about living in the dorms with someone else who didn’t have allergies. That process really paid off for me in the long run and I highly recommend doing so. Their dining facilities also have a great labeling policy for allergens that are visible and easy to follow. Certain cafeterias even have dedicated gluten free/allergy-friendly sections. I always felt safe eating on campus and had a dining plan all four years! Location: Columbus, Ohio

Allergy-Friendly Rutgers University Campus Guide

I visited
Rutgers University for an admitted students event, and was blown away by their dining services. When choosing a college to commit to, food and safety was the number one concern for my family. However, Rutgers seemed to be very proactive and up-to-date on their food allergy policies. During our visit, we got to eat at the Livingston Campus dining hall, claimed to be the students’ top choice for eating at Rutgers. As it was an event day, the chef was right in front to greet everyone and answer questions. He personally led me through the buffet and let me know which foods I could eat. He then informed me that Rutgers uses a system in which students with allergies can electronically submit what they want to eat for the day, and have their meal prepared ahead of time safely. For my experience, the chef got the food items right off of the individual grill stations and kitchens so it wouldn’t be contaminated (which is often the concern for buffet style dining). I love this about Rutgers University.

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Campus Guide: Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University's staff located in Benson Memorial dining facility has made it very easy for me to enjoy food on campus. There are a lot more food-allergy-sensitive food options than I thought there would be before starting school here. Every dining place I have been to on campus has done extremely well at accommodating my needs (Saute, La Parilla, Fresco, California Deli, The Bronco, etc.)!! Location: Santa Clara, California
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Allergy-Friendly Campus Guide: Scripps College

Scripps dining hall was initially less than ideal for food allergies, but they were really receptive to my suggestions about improving their allergy policy and putting some changes in place. At the Claremont Colleges, you are also allowed to eat at any of the colleges’ dining halls, so I have found it not that difficult to find safe on-campus food options! Location: Claremont, California  

Allergy-Friendly Campus Guide: Smith College

As a
Smith alum, I recommend Smith for food allergic students, depending on your allergies and dietary restrictions. Smith’s dining system is more accommodating to food allergies because it is not centralized. Labeling of food ingredients and common allergens is usually correct and staff are always willing to answers your questions! Location: Northampton, Massachusetts  

Campus Guide: Stanford University

"Every dining hall on
Stanford's campus is diligent about making sure all allergen information is available for every meal and about answering questions when it is ambiguous. If you walk down University Ave. there are about a hundred different places to eat and all of them have allergy friendly menus. Most of the coffee shops on campus stay away from allergens all together, except dairy/gluten." See Howard's top allergy-friendly picks around the Stanford University campus!  

Allergy-Friendly Campus Guide: Syracuse University

I’m a rising junior at
Syracuse and I have had nothing but great experiences with Syracuse dining. Their menu is all listed online and if you click on the item, it shows you the nutritional information and the allergens. If for some reason there is a food that’s out at the dining hall that isn’t on the online menu, there is usually a QR code on it that will take you to the nutritional info and allergen info. Definitely make friends with the dining hall managers—they are willing and able to help! There is also an on-campus nutritionist that handles allergies and she is a great resource for helping to navigate your allergies. Also, when you fill out your housing form if you choose to have a random roommate, if you say that you have allergies on the form about special accommodations, they can try to pair you with a roommate who also has allergies! I was unaware of that my freshman year but I wish I had been because it would’ve taken away a lot of stress! Overall, I love Syracuse and am so happy that the food situation hasn’t held me back from enjoying everything that the campus has to offer! Location: Syracuse, New York  

Allergy-Friendly Thomas Jefferson University Campus Guide

I am a sophomore in the PA program at
Thomas Jefferson University and had to be on the 19 meal a week dining plan for my entire first year. My family and I met the dining staff, including the manager and chefs of all the dining halls, in the beginning of the year. I was able to eat on campus on move in day and was so excited to have the independence and freedom eating away from home. My process would be to email or text the chef three times a day with whatever I wanted for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This was tedious, challenging, and took a lot of time-management/trial and error, but it was the easiest way for the chefs to hand make my food. However, I did have two anaphylactic reactions in my fall semester because of mistakes in the dining hall, but they quickly changed the process with which they made my food. For example, the dining manager and head chef met with me and created a paper specific to my needs where the chef making my food had to sign off on the ingredients they used in my meal. Christopher Grant, the head chef, is amazing and I have never had any issues eating his or his Sous Chef, Steve’s, food. They’ve made me meals from salmon bowls, to ramen, to Philly Cheesesteaks, to shrimp scampi, and everything tastes so good. With that being said, I would recommend to someone with more severe allergies to commute or request a kitchen, because there will be human error in a college dining hall and it is difficult to prevent when there are many students. However, Jefferson has treated me well and I am well-acquainted with all of the kitchen staff. You must take the steps to meet with the chefs and speak up when you see something or have questions, which is all part of advocating for yourself. I also fought to get a single apartment for my second year so that I would not have any issues with cross contact in the kitchen with roommates and with the help of Student Accessibility Services, it all worked out and I have had a wonderful experience (and no hospital visits!) this year.

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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